How Can I Lower My Cholesterol Level
The first step in reducing your cholesterol is to maintain a healthy, balanced diet. It’s important to keep your diet low in fatty food.
You can swap food containing saturated fat for fruit, vegetables and wholegrain cereals. This will also help;prevent high cholesterol returning.
If these measures don’t reduce your cholesterol and you continue to have a high risk of developing heart disease, your GP may prescribe a cholesterol-lowering medication, such as statins.
Your GP will take into account the risk of any side effects from statins. The benefit of lowering your cholesterol must outweigh any risks.
Read more about how high cholesterol is treated
Why Do I Have High Cholesterol
For many people, lifestyle plays a big role in the development of the condition. Its often due to a combination of diet and how active you are, as well as your genetic capacity to produce cholesterol, says Raj Khandwalla, MD, cardiologist and director of digital therapeutics at Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles. Being overweight and smoking can also increase your chances of developing high cholesterol.
Know The Warning Signs Of Heart Attack
Chest pain can be a sign of a heart attack. Call 911 if you feel any of the following:
- Pain, pressure, squeezing, or fullness in the center of your chest that lasts more than a few minutes or that goes away and comes back
- Pain or discomfort in one or both of your arms, your back, your neck, your jaw, or your stomach
- Shortness of breath
- Breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea, or lightheadedness
Dont ignore any of these signs of a heart attack. Quick action could save your life.
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How Can You Lower Cholesterol Levels
Luckily, there are some things you can do to lower your health risks of high cholesterol.
- Diet changes: Theres more to cholesterol than whats in your food. Components of a healthy diet, especially fiber, can have modest effects on cholesterol levels, explains Dr. Gaesser. Fiber such as oatmeal or bran reduces the absorption of cholesterol into the bloodstream and can reduce LDL levels.
- Exercise: While it wont really make big improvements to your total cholesterol, according to Dr. Gaesser, it can help raise your HDL and lower your LDL.;
- Lose weight: Even a 5% to 10% weight loss can have positive effects on high cholesterol.
- Consider quitting smoking: Quitting smoking can raise your HDL and decrease the risk for other heart conditions.
- Statin medications: Sometimes diet and exercise arent enough to make the necessary changes. In that case, medications called statins help decrease your cholesterol as well as lower your chances of having a heart attack or stroke.;
The takeaway: Use of statins will not work effectively if your lifestyle is poor, Dr. Adeyemi cautions. Statins and lifestyle changes often need to be done together to have the best results.
What Happens If You Have High Cholesterol
What does high cholesterol mean?
High;cholesterol;means there is too much cholesterol in your blood. This can clog up your arteries the large blood vessels that carry blood around your body. Over time, this can lead to serious problems.
How does cholesterol clog up your arteries?
Excess cholesterol can be laid down in the walls of your arteries. Fatty areas known as plaques can form, and these become harder with time, making the arteries stiffer and narrower. This process is called atherosclerosis.
When the arteries become narrower, its harder for blood to flow through them. This puts a strain on your heart because it has to work harder to pump blood around your body. Eventually, the heart can become weak and cant work as well as it should.
Blood clots can form over the fatty, hardened parts of the arteries. The blood clots can block the artery completely, cutting off the blood flow. Bits of the blood clots can break away and become lodged in an artery or vein in another part of the body, which can cause a heart attack or stroke.
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Reasons Why You Dont Want Your Cholesterol Levels Too Low
We hear about cholesterol and how it leads to cardiovascular disease and now cancer. People have latched on to that and focused on reducing cholesterol levels using a frantic all-fat-is-bad mantra.
Lets go through this step by step so we can see what cholesterol really is and what is optimal for your health.
What Are The Risk Factors For High Cholesterol
A number of factors are thought to increase your chances of developing high cholesterol. Common risk factors include:
- Not or quitting smoking
- Reducing the amount of saturated fats, trans fats, and dietary cholesterol that you eat
- Treating high cholesterol levels with medications as recommended by your healthcare provider
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Why Does Cholesterol Matter
Your cholesterol levels can help your doctor find out your risk for having a heart attack or stroke. But it’s not just about your cholesterol. Your doctor uses your cholesterol levels plus other things to calculate your risk. These include:
- Your blood pressure.
- Whether or not you have diabetes.
- Your age, sex, and race.
- Whether or not you smoke.
Are You Feeling Sick And Tired From Low Thyroid
Do you have fatigue, weight gain, constipation, fuzzy thinking, low blood pressure, fluid retention, depression, body pain, memory loss, weakness, dry hair, dry pale skin, hair loss, cold intolerance, ;rheumatoid-like pain and swelling in joints, muscle aches and cramps, irritability, memory loss, abnormal menstrual cycles, decreased libido, or slow reflexes? You may have low thyroid function.
Additional symptoms can be elevated cholesterol , fibromyalgia, and easy bruising. I can personally attest to the relationship of low thyroid and high cholesterol. I was diagnosed with high cholesterol with no apparent reason or risk factors. My thyroid levels were borderline low and my doctor didnt think it was necessary to treat the lower thyroid function because my numbers, although low, were in the reference range box. When I persisted and was placed on thyroid, my cholesterol dropped 50 points without any other changes.
According to American Association of Clinical Endocrinologist President Richard A. Dickey, M.D., Patients who have been diagnosed with high cholesterol should ask their physician about having their thyroid checked. If they have an underlying thyroid condition in addition to their high cholesterol, the cholesterol problem will be difficult to control until normal levels of thyroid hormone is restored.
Maybe you have had your thyroid tested and it is normal. Many times hypothyroidism is misdiagnosed. Lets look further.
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What Is The Treatment For High Blood Pressure
Mild high blood pressure can often be treated by making lifestyle changes, including:
- losing weight
- limiting your alcohol intake to no more than 2 drinks per day for men, or 1 drink per day for women with high blood pressure
However, lifestyle changes may not be enough. Some people also need medication to help reduce blood pressure levels to normal. While medicines are usually very effective at lowering blood pressure, they may cause side effects in some people.
Usually doctors will start a person on a low dose of a medicine and see how it goes. If it doesnt work well enough, or if there are troublesome side effects, other medicines will be used, sometimes in combination, until the blood pressure is controlled. This can take time. Some people will take medicines for life, although others will find that continuing to lose weight and changing their diet reduces the need for medicines.
Someone whose blood pressure is very high or causing symptoms such as headache, or if they have conditions such as heart disease or diabetes, may need urgent treatment with medicines to bring the blood pressure down to normal levels.
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners recommends that you regularly review with your doctor or specialist any medications you are taking for high blood pressure or high cholesterol to assess the ongoing benefits and risks. For further information, visit the Choosing Wisely Australia website.
Signs Of Heart Attack That You Shouldnt Ignore
About every 40 seconds, someone has a heart attack in the US. Most people imagine that having a heart attack is always intense. But the truth is that sometimes you may be unsure if your are suffering from a heart attack because the signs can be subtle and different from what you may typically think of.
This makes heart attacks very dangerous. In fact, 1 in 5 heart attacks goes unnoticed, meaning the heart muscle is damaged due to lack of blood supply but the person is not aware of that this has occurred.
So what are the signs of a heart attack both subtle and not-so-subtle? Here are 4 signs of heart attack to be on the lookout for:
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When To Have A Cholesterol Test
The Canadian Cardiovascular Society recommends testing for men and women age 40 and older or who are post-menopausal. Children with a family history of lipid disorders should also be tested. Testing is also recommended for people of any age who have:footnote 1
- Strong risk factors for heart disease, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, smoking, or abdominal obesity.
- A strong family history of premature cardiovascular disease.
- Inflammatory diseases, such as lupus, psoriasis, or rheumatoid arthritis.
- Chronic kidney diseases.
For more information, see Making Lifestyle Changes.
What Causes High Cholesterol
Many factors can increase your chances of having heart problems or a stroke if you have high cholesterol.
- an unhealthy diet in particular, eating high levels of saturated fat
- smoking; a chemical called acrolin, found in cigarettes, stops HDL transporting cholesterol from fatty deposits to the liver, leading to narrowing of the arteries
- having diabetes or high blood pressure
- having a family history of stroke or heart disease
There’s also an inherited condition called familial hypercholesterolaemia. This can cause high cholesterol even in someone who eats healthily.
Read more about the causes of high cholesterol
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How Is High Blood Pressure Diagnosed
Your blood pressure varies from day to day, even from moment to moment. Generally, if a person has a blood pressure reading taken on 3 separate occasions that is greater than 140/90 mmHg, they have high blood pressure. Your doctor may ask you to monitor your blood pressure at home, or wear a monitor over a 24-hour period, to see how it varies and to make sure they get an accurate reading.
Is High Cholesterol Dangerous
High cholesterol is just one of several risk factors for coronary heart disease. A health-care professional will consider a person’s overall risk when assessing their cholesterol levels and discussing treatment options.
Risk factors are conditions that increase a person’s risk for developing heart disease. Some risk factors can be changed and others cannot. In general, the more risk factors a person has, the greater the chance of developing coronary heart disease. Some risk factors can be controlled; however, some cannot be controlled.
Risk factors that cannot be controlled include:
- Family history of early heart disease
Risk factors that can be controlled include:
- High blood cholesterol
- Low HDL cholesterol
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What Causes Too Much Iron In The Body
The inherited disorder of hemochromatosis causes severe iron excess or overload in the body.
It is caused by an abnormal mutation in the HFE gene and you have to have 2 of these to have hemochromatosis. This abnormality causes an increased absorption of iron from the intestines around 3 times that of normal absorption. This occurs because of a deficiency in hepcidin in the liver.
Hemochromatosis is rather common and affects 1 in 200 people of Caucasian race who carry two C282Y mutations on their HFE genes. Another type of gene mutation called H63D can cause iron overload in association with one C282Y mutation but to a much lesser degree.
People with hemochromatosis can suffer severe consequences of iron overload including liver scarring , liver cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, low sex hormones and a bronzing of the skin colour. The excess iron damages various organs in the body.It is important to diagnose hemochromatosis early by doing a blood test for the HFE gene mutation and iron studies to check serum iron, ferritin, transferrin saturation and serum iron.
It is possible to prevent the excess iron from causing organ damage by removing blood on a regular basis. The treatment of blood removal is known as venesection. It may take many months or even several years to unload the body of excess iron and the venesections must be done regularly.
The most common causes of high ferritin are
Numbness In The Body Parts
If you are constantly experiencing numbness in your body parts, then high cholesterol can be responsible for that. However, other causes can also be responsible for numbness and swelling.;
When bad cholesterol appears high in your body, it affects blood circulation and prevents healthy nutrients from reaching the body. The lack of proper oxygen is also a cause of swelling and unusual numbness.;;;
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Cardiovascular And Circulatory Systems
When you have too much LDL cholesterol in your body it can build up in your arteries, clogging them and making them less flexible. Hardening of the arteries is called atherosclerosis. Blood doesnt flow as well through stiff arteries, so your heart has to work harder to push blood through them. Over time, as plaque builds up in your arteries, you can develop heart disease.
Plaque buildup in coronary arteries can disrupt the flow of oxygen-rich blood to your heart muscle. This may cause chest pain called angina. Angina isnt a heart attack, but it is a temporary disruption of blood flow. Its a warning that youre at risk for a heart attack. A piece of plaque can eventually break off and form a clot or the artery may continue to become narrowed which can fully block blood flow to your heart, leading to a heart attack. If this process occurs in the arteries going to the brain or within the brain it can lead to a stroke.
Plaque can also block the flow of blood to arteries that supply blood to your intestinal tract, legs, and feet. This is called peripheral arterial disease .
How To Handle Side Effects
Donât stop taking your cholesterol drugs even if they donât make you feel great. Instead, talk to your doctor. There are a few ways they might be able to help you feel better:
Take a brief break. If you have muscle pain, your doctor may tell you to stop taking your drug for a short time and then start it again within a month. The time off can show if your medicine is causing the pain or if itâs due to another problem.
Check your other meds. If you take cholesterol drugs and other medicines, you might be more likely to have side effects. Tell your doctor about everything you take, including prescription drugs, over-the-counter meds, and supplements.
Get a lower dosage. Your doctor may try to reduce how much of your medicine you take. You might also be able to take a pill every other day instead of daily.
Switch treatments. If your side effects are too hard to handle, you might be able to try a different statin such pravastatin and rosuvastatin , which are less likely to cause muscle aches.The cholesterol drug ezetimibe may allow you to take a lower statin dose and thereby help relieve your muscle pain, for example.
Consider OTC treatments. Statins may lower levels of a substance in your muscles called coenzyme Q10, and that can cause pain. You may try taking CoQ10 supplements to get relief. Another option, L-carnitine, might help, too. But always talk to your doctor before you start taking any medicine, even ones you buy without a prescription.
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The Appearance Of Cholesterol Bubbles On The Skin
Sometimes, the excessive amount of cholesterol may manifest on the outside of your body as well. A yellowish sort of rash can appear on the skin, which is filled with cholesterol. Theyre called xanthomas and are usually found on the Achilles heel and the hand, although theyre sometimes located on the tendons of your foot, knee or elbow too.
Can High Cholesterol Make Me Tired
No, high cholesterol doesnt usually cause fatigue, but it can lead to heart diseases, such as coronary artery disease, that do. With this heart condition, excess LDL builds up as plaque in your hearts small arteries, causing them to narrow and stiffen. This reduces blood flow, which can make you feel tired or short of breath and cause chest pain, notes the NHLBI.
If youre taking a statin to treat high cholesterol, possible side effects could come with fatigue, such as memory loss, forgetfulness, and confusion, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. However these are very rare. Mayo Clinic describes this as mental fuzziness. Be sure to discuss any similar symptoms with your doctor.
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Why Is Your Blood Pressure Important
Your blood pressure is important because if it is too high, it affects the blood flow to your organs. Over the years, this increases your chances of developing heart disease, stroke, chronic kidney disease, eye disease, erectile dysfunction and other conditions.
Very occasionally, people with very high blood pressure are at serious risk of problems and need urgent treatment in hospital to reduce the risk of a stroke or heart attack.
Current Australian guidelines recommend that if you have persistent raised blood pressure over 160/100 mmHg, but are at low risk of having a stroke or heart attack, you should talk to your doctor or specialist about taking medication to lower your blood pressure.
For further information, visit the Choosing Wisely Australia website.
If youre over 18, you should have your blood pressure checked by your doctor at least every 2 years, or more often if advised.