Medicines To Lower Cholesterol
For some people, making lifestyle changes alone does not their lower cholesterol enough. They may also need to take medicines. There are several types of cholesterol-lowering drugs available. They work in different ways and can have different side effects. Talk to your health care provider about which medicine is right for you.
Even if you take medicines to lower your cholesterol, you still need to continue with lifestyle changes.
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Ways To Lower Your Cholesterol In 10 Seconds
The first step in lowering your cholesterol: Know that the word cholesterol itself shouldnt inspire panic. In fact, its as natural to our bodies as blood itself we use cholesterol to form cell membranes, create hormones and perform all sorts of important bodily procedures.
We even make it ourselves about 1,000 milligrams of it every day. Some foods contain cholesterol, like egg yolks, meats and whole-milk dairy . But most of it is made by the body. Two types of lipoproteins, molecules that carry cholesterol and other substances through the blood, determine your cholesterol levels:
How Do I Lower My Cholesterol Your 5 Top Questions Answered
High cholesterol could be caused by things we can control like lifestyle habits, or things we cant like age and family history. Keeping on top of the things you can control with simple changes can help to lower your risk of heart and circulatory disease. We answer your questions with simple tips to help you start making changes today.
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Is Diet The Only Way To Improve My Cholesterol Levels
While diet is one of the best ways to improve cholesterol levels, there are other lifestyle modifications that can also help!
- Weight loss: If you are above a healthy weight, losing 5-10% of your body weight can reduce total and LDL cholesterol and increase HDL cholesterol.
- Exercise: Aiming for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity on most days can improve your cholesterol levels. Try starting off with improving your daily step count!
- Quitting smoking: Smoking lowers HDL cholesterol. Quitting smoking is important to reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke, especially if you have high cholesterol.
Go Low For Heart Health
Cholesterol is an oily, waxy substance that’s a building block for many bodily processes. It serves as the backbone for certain hormones and helps repair cells in our tissues.
But there’s a catch. Our bodies need only a little bit of cholesterol for these housekeeping activitiesand according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , at least 38 percent of Americans have levels that are too high.
Excess blood levels of a specific type called low-density lipoprotein is especially likely to wreak havoc. The more LDL cholesterol you have floating around in your bloodstream, the greater your risk for a heart attack or stroke.
The link is so strong that just a 10 percent decrease in total cholesterol levels can reduce someone’s risk for heart disease .
That’s why doctors want you to know how to lower LDL cholesterol and keep it at a healthy level.
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Different Ways For Lowering Cholesterol
There are four major ways people lower their bad cholesterol: diet, exercise, supplements, and medications. The first three methods have no side effects while lowering LDL, but all will take time to work effectively, so patience is key!
Here we will break down seven completely natural ways that you can help lower your cholesterol levels.
What Foods Will Lower My Cholesterol
The best way to eat a better diet is to swap your saturated fats with foods that are high in unsaturated fat like vegetable oils , nuts seeds and avocado and oily fish.
A few small swaps can make a big difference to your cholesterol level. Many people say they dont notice the difference. Try:
- swapping butter to vegetable oil spreads like sunflower, olive or rapeseed oil spreads
- switching whole milk to skimmed milk
- using natural yogurt instead of sour cream or double cream
- replacing regular mince with leaner, lower fat options
- swapping red or processed meat for fish, turkey or chicken without the skin, or plant-based proteins such as lentils, soya or Quorn
- switch your crisps for unsalted nuts
- having reduced fat cheese instead of regular cheese
- ordering less takeaways. Instead try our healthy comfort foods for delicious heart-healthy options.
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If Lifestyle Changes Arent Enough
Take medications, if you need to, to lower your cholesterol into healthy ranges. Drugs like statins can be very effective, says Dr. Danine Fruge, MD, ABFP Medical Director at the Pritikin Longevity Center, but do continue in your efforts to eat well and exercise because a healthy lifestyle can give you far, far more than drugs alone.
With a healthy living program like Pritikin, youre not only reducing cholesterol quickly, youre also creating changes throughout your body that can profoundly improve your overall well-being. Youre reducing blood sugar levels and blood pressure. Other heart disease risk factors like triglyceride fats are also dropping dramatically. Youre also reducing inflammatory factors that sicken arteries. Youre shedding excess weight. And, quite simply, youre feeling better, much better. Many of our guests at Pritikin tell us, I had no idea I could feel this good again.
Can any pill or combination of pills do all of the above? I highly doubt it. But a healthy lifestyle like Pritikin can.
Your cholesterol levels are directly tied to your heart health, which is why its so important to make sure theyre in a healthy range. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , reports that 78 million adults in the United States had high levels of low-density lipoprotein , or bad cholesterol, in 2012. The organization also states that people with high LDL cholesterol are at a much higher risk of heart disease.
What Happens If I Incorporated Dietary Changes And My Cholesterol Is Still Not Within Recommended Ranges
If youve made some dietary changes and you still havent seen results, try incorporating phytosterol into your diet. Phytosterol is similar to the bodys cholesterol and can block cholesterol from being absorbed into your body.
Phytosterol can lower your cholesterol by 10% and your LDL by 14%, she says. Aim to get about 2 grams of phytosterol a day. Some common food and dietary supplements include high sterol or stanol esters be sure to read the labels.
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Eat Less Refined Food
It is best to avoid refined food whenever possible.
Refined and packaged foods tend to have ingredients that make them shelf-stable while also giving them a desirable flavor.
These foods often include ingredients that a person should avoid when they are looking to reduce their cholesterol.
Among the ingredients to avoid are refined grains, added trans and saturated fats, and added sugars.
Several lifestyle factors can affect a persons cholesterol levels. Some people may find that making certain changes to their lifestyle helps lower their cholesterol.
Can I Use Vitamins To Lower My Cholesterol
The only vitamin that really lowers cholesterol is red yeast rice at 1200 mg twice a day, according to Dr. Cho.
The problem with red yeast rice is that it contains the same chemical compound as lovastatin, which means you would need to have your liver function monitored if you take it, she says. The Food and Drug Administration hasnt approved this supplement for medical use, so talk to your doctor before considering it.
All in all, you can lower your cholesterol naturally. Diet should be the cornerstone of therapy and pills are a supplement, not a substitute, for a good diet. Always talk to your doctor before taking any new supplements.
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How To Lower Your Cholesterol Without Statins
Cholesterol is produced in the liver and is required for the production of hormones, vitamin D, and bile acids. Cholesterol doesnt dissolve in blood. To be transported in the bloodstream, cholesterol is packed into two types of carriers: low-density lipoprotein or high-density lipoprotein . LDL cholesterol is necessary in limited quantities, but high LDL cholesterol levels can dramatically increase your risk of heart attack by contributing to atherosclerosis. Although high cholesterol is commonly addressed with statins, it is important for people to understand that lipid abnormalities are not caused by a statin deficiency. Rather, they are usually the result of dietary factors, particularly the inclusion of animal foods and oils and the absence of soluble fiber in the diet. Statins can help lower cholesterol levels however, they can also produce adverse effects in people. Possible side effects include headache, difficulty sleeping, muscle aches and weakness, memory loss, neuropathy, high blood sugar, and an increased risk of developing diabetes. Can diet be just as effective as statins at lowering cholesterol, without the side effects?
Natural Ways To Lower Your Cholesterol Levels
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Cholesterol is made in your liver and has many important functions. For example, it helps keep the walls of your cells flexible and is needed to make several hormones.
However, like anything in the body, too much cholesterol creates concerns.
Like fat, cholesterol does not dissolve in water. Instead, to move around the body, it depends on molecules called lipoproteins. These carry cholesterol, fat, and fat-soluble vitamins in your blood.
Different kinds of lipoproteins have different effects on health. For example, high levels of low-density lipoprotein results in cholesterol deposits in blood vessel walls, which can lead to (
- heart attack
- kidney failure
In contrast, high-density lipoprotein helps carry cholesterol away from vessel walls and helps prevent these conditions (
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How Do I Know If I Have High Cholesterol
Many Australians don’t know they have high cholesterol, because there are no symptoms. High cholesterol can only be detected through a blood test.
Some people have a condition called familial hypercholesterolaemia where a genetic problem leads to high cholesterol. About one in 500 Australians has this condition and many dont know they have it. If you have a family history of high cholesterol or of heart disease at a young age, ask your doctor about your risk.
Eat Plenty Of Avocado
An avocado a day keeps heart disease away. Despite its high fat content, this delicious fruit can improve blood lipids and make weight loss easier. A 2015 clinical trial published in the Journal of the American Heart Association indicates that eating one avocado daily as part of a moderate-fat diet may lower total and LDL cholesterol and boost cardiovascular health without affecting good cholesterol levels.
This fruit is loaded with fiber, antioxidants and monounsaturated fats. These nutrients support cardiovascular function and overall health. Soluble fiber, for example, binds cholesterol in the GI tract and eliminates it from your body. According to the National Lipid Association, eating 5 to 10 grams of fiber daily can lower bad cholesterol levels by up to 11 points.
A large avocado boasts 13.5 grams of fiber, which is more than half of the daily recommended intake, and also provides 19.7 grams of monounsaturated fat milligrams per deciliter and 221 milligrams of omega-3 essential fatty acids. Compared to other fruits, it’s lower in sugar and carbs, so it doesn’t cause insulin spikes. Thanks to its high fiber and fat content, it keeps you full longer and curbs hunger.
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Lower Your Cholesterol Levels Naturally
As you can see, there are plenty of foods that lower cholesterol fast. Your diet may also include nuts, seeds, leafy greens, soy, garlic and high-fiber fruits like berries and apples. Extra dark chocolate is a healthy choice too.
Garlic, for example, may reduce total and LDL cholesterol as well as blood pressure when combined with lemon juice, according to a 2016 clinical trial published in the International Journal of Preventive Medicine. Subjects saw major improvements in their blood lipids in just eight weeks.
Remember to cut back on processed foods as well. Sausage, salami, pizza, pastries and junk food are all loaded with trans fats and sugars. They not only clog your arteries and raise cholesterol levels but also affect your waistline. In the long run, they may increase your risk of chronic illnesses and accelerate aging.
Consider Plant Sterols And Stanols
Multiple types of supplements show promise for managing cholesterol.
Plant stanols and sterols are plant versions of cholesterol. Because they resemble cholesterol, they are absorbed from the diet like cholesterol.
However, because parts of their chemistry are different from human cholesterol, they do not contribute to clogged arteries.
Instead, they reduce cholesterol levels by competing with human cholesterol. When plant sterols are absorbed from the diet, this replaces the absorption of cholesterol.
Small amounts of plant stanols and sterols are naturally found in vegetable oils and are added to certain oils and butter substitutes.
A research review reported that clinical studies show that taking 1.53 grams of plant sterols/stanols daily can reduce LDL concentration by 7.512%. Researchers said taking it with a main meal twice per day allows for optimal cholesterol-lowering .
Although research has established the cholesterol-lowering benefit of plant stanols and sterols, it has not yet proved that they decrease the risk of heart disease. Numerous clinical trials have suggested that plant sterols supplements and enriched foods may lower heart disease risk, but hard data is still lacking .
Plant stanols and sterols in vegetable oil or margarines compete with cholesterol absorption and reduce LDL by up to 20%. They are not proven to reduce heart disease.
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Increase Your Physical Activity
Physical activity increases levels of HDL cholesterol the good cholesterol that removes LDL cholesterol from the blood. Vigorous aerobic exercise is best.
If you havent been exercising much lately, gradually build up to the recommended amount of physical activity:
- People aged 18-64 years should do 30 to 60 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most days of the week.
- People aged 65 years and over should aim for a total of 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on most days .
Moderate-intensity exercise is a level that increases your heart rate and breathing but allows you to keep talking. Vigorous intensity exercise makes your heart rate higher and makes you breathe more heavily.
Resistance training and muscle-toning exercises can increase HDL cholesterol. Aim to do this twice a week.
Apples: Rich In Fiber And Beneficial Antioxidants
As with beans, apples are an excellent source of LDL-lowering soluble fiber, primarily pectin. Research published in December 2014 in the European Journal of Nutrition also shows that eating an apple a day can slow the oxidation of LDL cholesterol. This health benefit comes thanks to antioxidant polyphenols found primarily in apple skin . Antioxidants are important because inflammation and plaque buildup in the arteries are more likely to occur when LDL cholesterol interacts with free radicals and becomes oxidized.
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Good And Bad Cholesterol
Cholesterol is a type of waxy fat that your liver makes or that you absorb from foods. Your body needs it because it is a key building block of your cells. It is also needed to make hormones and some digestive fluids.
In some people, though, the cholesterol levels in the blood become too high. But high cholesterol is a term that needs teasing out.
Not all high cholesterol levels are problematic. It all depends on the composition of your total cholesterol result.
Total cholesterol is the sum of two types of cholesterol, in addition to other lipids:
- Low-density lipoprotein : Known as “bad cholesterol,” LDL builds up and may cause damage to the lining of blood vessels. This may contribute to atherosclerosis, commonly known as hardening of the arteries, as well as other health issues.
- High-density lipoprotein : This type helps move other cholesterol from the body, lowering the risk of negative health effects it can cause. Because of this, HDL is referred to as “good cholesterol.”
It’s the high levels of low-density lipoprotein that are worrisome. And while you may have a high total cholesterol because of high LDL, it’s also possible to have a normal total cholesterol and high LDL.
High cholesterol may be diagnosed if:
- LDL cholesterol is over 100 milligrams per deciliter
- HDL cholesterol is under 60 mg/dL
- Total cholesterol is over 200 mg/dL
What’s considered a healthy or concerning result for you may differ from this based on factors like your age and family health history.
Lower Ldl Cholesterol With Medication
“The most important feature that determines our LDL levels is the activity of receptors in the liver that pull LDL particles out of the blood,” says Dr. Lloyd-Jones.
He explains that cholesterol medications enhance the activity of those receptors, so our bodies can get rid of LDL cholesterol much more efficiently. Dr. Ippisch adds that this class of drugs also works to slow down how much cholesterol is being made in our liver.
” look at the overall risk of the patient to determine who might benefit from medication in addition to lifestyle changes to lower their LDL cholesterol,” Dr. Lloyd-Jones says.
Higher-risk individuals can include those who already have cardiovascular disease and those with a genetic predisposition to elevated LDL cholesterol levels. But doctors may also use medication to lower LDL levels in people with health conditions like kidney disease, diabetes, or high blood pressure.
Dr. Lloyd-Jones explains that while someone may fall in the average range for LDL cholesterol, a “normal” number might be too high, depending on their additional risk factors. Medication brings it down to lower, safer levels, so there’s no additional fuel for artery-clogging plaque.
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