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How Does Stress Affect Cholesterol Levels

How To Lower Cholesterol

The Link Between Stress and High Cholesterol

Some people have naturally higher cholesterol levels than others. Age, ethnicity, and genetics all play a role. However, many of the factors that influence cholesterol levels relate to lifestyle, and, therefore, individuals can alter them.

Some of the best ways to lower cholesterol include:

  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Engaging in regular physical exercise to maintain a healthy body weightand increase HDL
  • Not smoking

If an individual cannot control their cholesterol by making these lifestyle adjustments, their doctor may prescribe a cholesterol-lowering medication. Some of the most common cholesterol drugs are called statins, including:

  • Simvastatin
  • Pravastatin
  • Rosuvastatin

Although these medications have demonstrated their efficacy in robust clinical trials, unpleasant side effects can still occur. Therefore, some people are looking for more natural alternatives and may be wondering whether cannabis or CBD could help.

So, how does cannabis affect cholesterol? Lets take a look.

Is It Safe To Take Cbd Oil With High Cholesterol

CBD is non-intoxicating, and most experts consider it to have a good safety profile. Therefore, it should be safe for people with high cholesterol to try.

However, there is a possible complication involving the use of CBD and cholesterol medication. CBD inhibits the activity of several liver enzymes. They include those responsible for metabolizing the cholesterol drugs simvastatin and atorvastatin.

Therefore, taking CBD oil with cholesterol medication could potentially produce adverse effects. Anyone considering doing so should consult a physician for further advice.

What Did The Research Involve

The study involved workers covered by the Ibermutuamur insurance company who had yearly medical check-ups. More than 430,000 participants were recruited between 2005 and 2007, and a study questionnaire was sent out to more than 100,000 randomly selected individuals. Completed questionnaires were returned by 91,593 of these people.

The questionnaire included the question, “During the last year, have you frequently felt that you cannot cope with your usual job?”. Participants who answered “yes” were considered to have job stress.

The questionnaire also included 11 questions relating to anxiety and depression symptoms, such as “Have you felt keyed up, on edge?” and “Have you had difficulty relaxing?”.

The researchers took fasting blood samples from participants and measured levels of total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol , and levels of a type of lipid called triglycerides. The levels of so-called “bad” cholesterol were calculated based on these measurements.

Participants were classed as having abnormal lipid levels based on pre-specified levels if;they reported taking lipid-lowering medication or had been diagnosed as having abnormal lipid levels.

The researchers then looked at whether abnormal lipid levels are linked to job stress. They took into account the following confounders:

  • age
  • type of job

Recommended Reading: Is Bone Marrow High In Cholesterol

Stress Can Cause Stickiness In The Arteries

Another study has found that the arteries can be sticky due to high-stress levels. This may or may not be linked to high cholesterol levels. It could be a problem on its own that makes it look like someone has high cholesterol levels.

Stress makes the muscles spasm. This affects the arteries, which causes problems with the blood flow. The platelets in people with high-stress levels are commonly sticky. They cling to the artery walls and create bumps and friction for the blood flow. The blood is more likely to clog, and other health problems arise.

The constriction of the arteries certainly doesnt help things. When the arteries constrict, the area for the blood flow gets smaller, and it causes the blood flow to slow down. Mixed with the stickiness or high cholesterol problems, the blood gets stuck and clogs. Its harder for the heart and brain to get the blood that they both need.

Stress causes many other health problems and affects the body in more ways that we currently know or understand. It is possible that stress isnt just a factor for high cholesterol but makes high cholesterol worse for the health.

If Cholesterol Is Necessary Why Do We Have To Worry About How Much We Have

Does Stress Affect Your Cholesterol Levels?

Having enough cholesterol to meet your needs is important. Having too much cholesterol can cause problems. If your cholesterol levels are high, the condition is called hypercholesterolemia. If your cholesterol levels are low, the condition is called hypocholesterolemia. It is not common to have cholesterol levels that are too low, but it can happen.

Also Check: Can High Cholesterol Cause Joint Pain

When Should You Contact Your Healthcare Provider About Your Cholesterol Levels

In truth, your healthcare provider will probably talk to you about your numbers first. As always, contact your provider if you have any new or worsening pain or other uncomfortable feelings. Make sure you know what medications you take and what they are expected to do. Call the provider if you have a reaction to the medicine.

Before you go to the office, and after you have had a cholesterol test, it helps to have a list of questions prepared about your test results and any proposed treatment.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

When considering cholesterol numbers, its important to remember that you really have the ability to make those numbers go in your favor. What you choose to eat, how much you are able to move and how you deal with lifes ups and downs are things that you can influence.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 07/31/2020.

References

Does Stress Affect Your Cholesterol

Overview

High cholesterol can increase your chance of heart attack and stroke. Stress can do that as well. Some research shows a possible link between stress and cholesterol.

Cholesterol is a fatty substance found in some foods and also produced by your body. The cholesterol content of food is not as noteworthy as the trans fats and saturated fats in our diets. These fats are what can cause the body to make more cholesterol.

There are so-called good and bad cholesterols. Your ideal levels are:

  • LDL cholesterol: less than 100 mg/dL
  • HDL cholesterol: more than 60 mg/dL
  • total cholesterol: less than 200 mg/dL

When bad cholesterol is too high, it can build up in your arteries. This affects how blood flows to your brain and your heart, which could cause stroke or heart attack.

Risk factors for high cholesterol include:

  • family history of high cholesterol, heart problems, or strokes
  • obesity
  • diabetes
  • smoking tobacco

You might be at risk for high cholesterol because you have a family history of it, or you might have a family history of heart problems or strokes. Lifestyle habits can also have a big impact on your cholesterol levels. Obesity, defined as a body mass index of 30 or higher, puts you at risk for high cholesterol. Diabetes can also damage the inside of your arteries and allow cholesterol to build up. Smoking tobacco can have the same effect.

Read Also: Are Baked Potatoes High In Cholesterol

Stress Hormones And Cholesterol

Both adrenaline and cortisol trigger the production of cholesterol, which is the waxy, fatty substance the liver makes to provide the body with energy and repair damaged cells. The problem is that too much cholesterol can clog the arteries and eventually lead to a heart attack or stroke.

One theory is that the stress hormones function this way to provide fuel for a potential fight or flight situation. But if this energy is not usedas with modern-day stressors that don’t require an actual physical fight or escapeit is gradually accumulated as fat tissue, somewhere in the body.

Cortisol has the additional effect of creating more sugar, the body’s short-term energy source.

In recurrent stressful situations, sugars are repeatedly unused and are eventually converted into triglycerides or other fatty acids. Research has also indicated that these fatty deposits are more likely to end up in the abdomen. And those with more abdominal fat are at higher risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Comparison Of Systolic Bps Obtained At Baseline And During Mental Arithmetic Test All Study Subjects Were Normotensive At Baseline Whereas 34% Of The Study

How Does Stress Affect The Body When We Dont Manage It

We further examined peak hemodynamic response to MAT between NC and HC. Increments in heart rate during MAT was similar between NC and HC . There were significant increases in diastolic BP during MAT for both groups although there was no significant group difference . The systolic BP response to MAT was significantly greater in HC group than NC group . compares the hemodynamic changes during MAT between the NC and HC groups.

Read Also: Are Egg Beaters Low In Cholesterol

What Is Bad Cholesterol And Good Cholesterol

There are two types of cholesterol: HDL, known as good cholesterol, and LDL, known as bad cholesterol. The formers main function is to transport cholesterol from the arteries to the liver, where it is excreted. Some studies have shown that smoking lowers good cholesterol.

LDL works in the opposite way, transporting cholesterol from the liver to body tissues. High levels of this cholesterol can promote cardiovascular disease.

In general, men have higher levels of bad cholesterol. Proper medical monitoring and a balanced diet can help control blood cholesterol levels.

Food And Cholesterol Levels

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance produced in the liver, according to the American Heart Association. Though you may think of cholesterol as “bad,” the body actually needs cholesterol to function properly.

Cholesterol can also be found in foods such as meat, dairy, eggs and baked goods. However, the relationship between food and blood cholesterol is more complicated than previously believed.

Until recently, it was though that eating lots of cholesterol-rich foods played a significant role in causing high blood cholesterol. But a major 2015 report by the USDA Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee found that cholesterol from food called dietary cholesterol has a much smaller effect on a person’s blood cholesterol.

Read more:The Truth About How Your Diet Affects Your Cholesterol

Instead, a diet high in fats and carbohydrates has a much greater effect on blood cholesterol, according to the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. But you should note that many cholesterol-rich foods are also high in saturated fats. This is why Dr. Eckel says it’s still best to limit or avoid meat, dairy and baked goods.

Read more:What’s the Difference Between Triglycerides and Cholesterol?

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Sample Collection & Processing

The study protocol involved collecting fasting blood sample from each participant by 9.00am. The samples were collected from the same students on each of the following periods:

  • One-three hours before any major examination , and

  • Three-four weeks before any major examination .

  • Subjects were made to relax before sample collection which was done with minimal stasis and pain. Samples consist of 5mls of venous blood collected aseptically from antecubital vein and dispensed into fluoride oxalate tube for blood sugar estimation and plain venoject® tube for other studies. The blood in the plain tube were transported to the lab in ice pack, centrifuged immediately using refrigerated centrifuge and an aliquot of the separated sera stored frozen until analyzed within 48 hours, for cortisol and adrenaline levels. The rest were stored at 4°C for the estimation of lipid profile within 48 hours. Both samples and reagents were brought to room temperature before analysis.

    Commercial control serum was included in each assay to evaluate the assay method and technique.

    Lessen The Intensity Of Your Reaction To Stress

    How Does Stress Effect Cholesterol?

    A study conducted by University of College London researches found that âindividuals with larger initial stress responses had substantially greater rises in cholesterol than those with small stress responses.â In fact, those in the top third of stress responders were three times more likely to have high cholesterol. Based on this study, researchers concluded, âIt appears that a person’s reaction to stress is one mechanism through which higher lipid levels may develop.â

    Clearly, decreasing your reaction to stress will increase your health. Because stress is a key factor affecting your health on multiple levels, it is essential to find ways to manage stress in the best way possible. This will help reduce your risk of high cholesterol, which leads to greater risk of heart disease.

    Read Also: How To Calculate Ldl Cholesterol Level

    Getting A Cholesterol Test

    A blood sample is taken that will be used to determine the amount of bad cholesterol , good cholesterol and;other fatty substances in your blood.

    You may be asked not to eat for 10-12 hours before the cholesterol test, usually including when you’re asleep at night. This ensures that all food is completely digested and won’t affect the outcome of the test.

    Your GP or practice nurse can carry out the;cholesterol test and will take a blood sample, either using a needle and a syringe or by pricking your finger.

    A newer type of test that measures non-high-density lipoprotein is now sometimes used because it’s thought to be a more accurate way of estimating;cardiovascular disease risk than LDL.

    Non-HDL cholesterol is total cholesterol minus HDL cholesterol. It’s also not necessary to fast before the test, so it;is more convenient.

    How Is The Total Cholesterol Or Blood Cholesterol Test Done

    A blood test is a routine test. A phlebotomist is the person whose job it is to draw blood. Blood is usually drawn from the vein in your arm. You will sit down and the phlebotomist will wrap a rubber band around your upper arm so that the vein in your elbow sticks out. Then they will use a needle to puncture the vein and remove blood. The blood is sent to the lab to be examined.

    Youve probably been at health fairs where testing is offered. In that case, the person performing the test takes a drop of blood from your finger. The finger stick test uses a small blade to poke a hole in the tip of your finger to get the blood.

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    Why Reducing Stress Is Much More Important Than Lowering Cholesterol

    Most people believe that heart attacks are due to fatty foods that elevate blood cholesterol, which somehow clogs up the coronary arteries and eventually obstructs blood flow. As a result, we are urged to restrict fat, and if necessary, lower cholesterol with statins, which block the production of cholesterol, and/or other drugs that inhibit its absorption. But cholesterol is a large, inert molecule, and since it is difficult to see how it could infiltrate the arterial wall, it is now claimed that coronary disease is caused by LDL bad cholesterol. However, consider the following dozen facts:

  • A ten-year study involving 21 countries found that those with the highest fat consumption had the lowest mortality rates from heart disease and those with the least fat intake had the highest death rates.
  • No dietary cholesterol lowering trial has ever resulted in a reduction of coronary disease or total mortality rates.
  • Over thirty studies have reported that coronary heart disease patients ate less or the same amount of saturated fat as healthy controls.
  • No association between cholesterol levels and the severity or extent of atherosclerosis has ever been found in postmortem studies of the general population.
  • High cholesterol does not increase risk for heart attacks in people older than 65, healthy women of any age, nor in patients with diabetes or renal failure.
  • Lowering LDL bad cholesterol does not prevent heart attacks in healthy people.
  • Tips To Get A Heart Healthy Handle On Stress

    Diabetes and stress: how does it affect my blood sugar levels – Ken Tait

    If stress increases your cholesterol and leads to heart risks, how can you go about reducing these risks? Healthy responses to stress, healthy stress relievers, and healthy living that stops stress before it starts are all steps in the right direction. Try the following stress-reducing techniques.

    8 Ways to Reduce Stress

  • Justâ¦Relax â Your schedule is hectic. You have no down time. Every second is filled with one task after another. How stressful. Take a break. You may think you donât have the time, but make the time. Youâre surfing the net right now, so you do have at least a few minutes to spare. Take just seven minutes each day to stop. Sit quietly. Do some stretches. Take deep breaths. Meditate. Pray. Do whatever gets your mind to slow down so your body does too.
  • LOL â Laughter is a great tension reliever. Watch a funny movie. Listen to a comedian. Treat yourself to some smiles and laughter to release the stress and help your heart.
  • Eat sress-fighting foods â Choosing the right foods can help reduce your stress. Hello Heart offers a list of Foods That Fight Stress. Donât worry, they arenât things youâll hate. One of them is chocolate!
  • Be social â Make time for family and friends. Depending on your family and friends, this may sound stressful. Generally, though, itâs a good idea. You need to set aside the stress for a while and just kick back and have a good time.
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    Be Alert To The Symptoms Of High Cholesterol Levels

    Generally, high cholesterol does not cause symptoms for a long time. This is why it is called the silent problem. However, the following symptoms can warn you that your levels are not in the right range

    • Swelling of the extremities
    • Dryness, dry mouth and bad breath.
    • Heavy stomach and indigestion
    • Restlessness when traveling or exercising
    • Loss of balance

    When Should My Cholesterol Levels Be Tested

    Your GP may recommend that you have your blood cholesterol levels tested if you:

    • have been diagnosed with coronary heart disease, stroke or mini stroke , or peripheral arterial disease
    • have a family history of early;cardiovascular disease
    • have a close family member who has a cholesterol-related condition
    • are overweight

    Recommended Reading: How Do Eggland Eggs Have Less Cholesterol

    What Were The Basic Results

    Job stress was reported by 8.7% of participants. Participants reporting job stress also had higher levels of anxiety and depression symptoms.

    After the researchers took into account factors;that could affect the results and adjusted them accordingly, people who reported job stress were found to have 10% higher odds of having abnormal lipid levels .

    They also had increased odds of:

    • high levels of “bad” cholesterol
    • low levels of “good” cholesterol
    • a high total cholesterol to “good” cholesterol ratio
    • a high “bad” cholesterol to “good” cholesterol ratio ;

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