Stress Substance Abuse And Cholesterol
Stress is a well-known factor for substance abuse that can lead to all sorts of unhealthy behaviors, including smoking, drinking, using drugs, or overeating in an attempt to self-medicate the physical and mental discomfort stress causes.
While these vices may provide short-term relief, they can do serious damage to your physical and mental health over timeincluding increasing your blood pressure and cholesterol and contributing to anxiety, depression, or addiction.
Smoking cigarettes, cigars, and pipes is a major cause of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Thousands of harmful chemicals in cigarettes change your blood chemistry, which increases the amount of plaque that builds up in your arteries. Smoking thickens the blood and hardens the plaque, making your heart work extra hard to get the oxygen-rich blood where it needs to go. Blood clots form more easily and can lead to a heart attack or stroke.
Excessive alcohol consumption
While alcohol doesnt contain cholesterol, it adds extra calories andin some casescarbs to your diet. The excess calories and carbs turn into triglycerides and LDL cholesterol. While moderate alcohol usedefined as no more than one drink per day for women or two per day for menis linked to higher good HDL cholesterol levels, heavy use is associated with numerous health problems, including high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke.
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Dietary Tips To Avoid Cholesterol
The most important thing you can do to reduce your cholesterol level is to maintain a healthy lifestyle. You should try to:
- Increase the amount and variety of fresh fruit, vegetables and wholegrain foods you have each day.
- Choose low or reduced-fat milk, yoghurt and other dairy products or have added calcium soy drinks.
- Choose lean meat .
- Limit fatty meats, including sausages and salami, and choose leaner sandwich meats like turkey breast or cooked lean chicken.
- Have fish at least twice a week.
- Replace butter and dairy blends with polyunsaturated margarines.
- Include foods in your diet that are rich in soluble fibre and healthy fats, such as nuts, legumes and seeds.
- Limit cheese and ice cream to twice a week.
Other storage fats that are transported in blood lipoproteins include triglycerides. When present in high concentrations in the blood, this fat is also a risk for heart attack. Some foods will affect the cholesterol level or the triglyceride level and some will affect both.
How To Lower Cholesterol Quickly And Naturally
If youve been diagnosed with high cholesterol levels, your doctor may have given you a deadline for lowering it before opening up the conversation to medications to control your cholesterol.
This sudden change in your health statusand the pressure to make potentially huge lifestyle changes in a short amount of timemay feel overwhelming, especially if youre unfamiliar with the causes of high cholesterol, confused about what your cholesterol numbers mean, or at a loss about where and how to start making necessary changes to improve your cholesterol.
Welcome to the Forward guide to helping you get those numbers down naturally. Here, we take a look at the three overarching lifestyle factors that have the biggest impact on cholesteroldiet, exercise, and stress. Understanding how these affect your cholesterol is the first step to lowering it. After each section, youll find a link to a related guide offering practical and actionable tips for changing your eating and exercise habits and reducing stress.
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How Quickly Can You Improve Your Cholesterol Levels
Your cholesterol levels are directly tied to your heart health, so its important to make sure theyre in a healthy range. If theyre not, youll need to work on raising your good cholesterol levels and lowering your bad ones . Medications can also improve your levels, but its best to make healthy changes that will improve your overall health and wellness.
Some of the best ways to lower your LDL levels are by:
- Eating heart-healthy foods and foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids
- Reducing your intake of saturated fats and trans fats
- Exercising most days of the week
- Quitting smoking if you smoke
- Drinking alcohol in moderation
There are many factors that contribute to having high cholesterol levels, and your diet is a major one. However, genetics play a role too. If your levels are still high with a better diet and more exercise, your doctor may recommend medication to keep your levels in check.
How Long Does it Take to Improve Cholesterol Levels?
One of the great things about making healthy lifestyle changes is that you can see improvements fairly quickly. Most people see their levels improve within three to six months. Research shows that it takes longer for women, so dont be hard on yourself if your levels havent gone down as much as you want. Each body is different.
How Often Should I Check My Cholesterol?
What Are The Risks Linked To High Cholesterol
Too much LDL cholesterol in the blood can increase your risk of heart and blood vessel disease .
The excess LDL cholesterol leads to fatty deposits called plaque forming in the artery walls. Over time, the plaque causes narrowing and hardening of the arteries .
This can lead to:
- Angina when plaque builds up in the major arteries that supply your heart, known as the coronary arteries, they become narrower and are partially blocked, reducing blood flow and oxygen supply to the heart. This may cause shortness of breath and chest pain.
- Heart attack if a plaque in a coronary artery bursts , a clot may form and block the supply of blood to the heart, starving it of oxygen.
- Stroke if the blood vessels that supply the brain become narrower or blocked by plaque, blood supply to the brain can be severely reduced or cut off, causing a stroke. Strokes can also be caused when a clot from another part of the body travels through the blood and lodges in an artery in the brain.
- Peripheral vascular disease this usually affects the arteries that supply the legs and feet, causing leg pain when walking , and even pain when resting, when the circulation is more badly affected
A high level of HDL cholesterol is good because HDL cholesterol helps remove other forms of cholesterol from the blood, taking them back to the liver where they’re removed from the blood and passed out of the body.
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How Long Does It Take To Reduce Cholesterol
Cholesterol drops over time, not suddenly, after a few days of healthier living. There is no set period in which cholesterol is guaranteed to drop.
Cholesterol-lowering drugs usually produce a change in LDL within 6 to 8 weeks. It is possible for lifestyle changes to change cholesterol levels within weeks. However, it may take longer,
- Total cholesterol: less than 200 milligrams per deciliter
- LDL bad cholesterol: less than 100 mg/dL
- HDL good cholesterol: higher than 60 mg/dL
- Triglycerides: less than 150 mg/dL
According to an article in the journal , the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association recommend using statins to lower cholesterol in people with cholesterol higher outside of these levels.
However, they also recommend doctors consider a persons cholesterol levels and overall risk of cardiovascular disease before prescribing a cholesterol-lowering medication.
The AHA recommends that people with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease get high-intensity statin therapy maximally tolerated statin therapy to lower LDL by at least 50%.
The AHA also recommends high-intensity statin therapy for individuals with severe primary hypercholesterolemia .
There are a number of habit changes a person can incorporate into their daily routines in order to gradually and consistently lower their LDL levels over time. Including:
Niacin Too Dangerous For Routine Cholesterol Therapy
Mainstay drug now linked to death risk, dangerous side effects and no benefits
CHICAGO â After 50 years of being a mainstay cholesterol therapy, niacin should no longer be prescribed for most patients due to potential increased risk of death, dangerous side effects and no benefit in reducing heart attacks and strokes, writes Northwestern MedicineÂ® preventive cardiologist Donald Lloyd-Jones, M.D., in a New England Journal of Medicine editorial published July 16.
Lloyd-Joness editorial is based on a large new study published in the journal that looked at adults, ages 50 to 80, with cardiovascular disease who took extended-release niacin and laropiprant to see if it reduced heart attack and stroke compared to a placebo over four years. All patients in the trial were already being treated with a statin medication.
Niacin did not reduce heart attacks and stroke rates compared with a placebo. More concerning, niacin was associated with an increased trend toward death from all causes as well as significant increases in serious side effects: liver problems, excess infections, excess bleeding, gout, loss of control of blood sugar for diabetics and the development of diabetes in people who didnt have it when the study began.
There might be one excess death for every 200 people we put on niacin, said Lloyd-Jones,
Some of the more common side effects of niacin can include:
- reddening and warming of your face
- dark-colored urine
- yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes
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Weed Out Trans Fats And Saturated Fats
There is so much evidence implicating trans fats in heart disease. “The first thing we do when I’m counseling patients is to go over all the sources of trans fats in their diet and make substitutions,” McManus says.
Trans fats are created by adding hydrogen to a liquid fat to help it solidify. Food manufacturers started using trans fats because they extend the shelf life of packaged baked goods. Fast-food purveyors took to them because they can be reused again and again. Although public pressure has forced the food industry to phase out trans fats, they haven’t disappeared entirely. To avoid eating them inadvertently, scrutinize the labels on food packages before you put them in your shopping cart. If you see “partially hydrogenated” in the list of ingredients, pass that product by. If trans fats aren’t banned from restaurants in your area, ask if the cook uses partially hydrogenated oil before you order.
Saturated fats and dietary cholesterol, which are derived primarily from animal products, aren’t exactly heart-healthy, but it’s all right to eat them in small amounts. McManus says that because eggs are such a good source of nutrients, it’s okay to have as many as four yolks a week and whites as often as you like. She also gives a nod to red meat, shrimp, lobster, high-fat cheeses, butter, and organ meatsbut only to small portions of each one every couple of weeks or so.
Is There Any Difference Between The Different Statins
There are a few statins available in New Zealand atorvastatin , pravastatin , rosuvastatin and simvastatin . Rosuvastatin is not subsidized you will need to pay for the cost of this medicine in full. In New Zealand, atorvastatin is the preferred statin and is most widely used. If you have side effects with atorvastatin, your doctor may consider lowering the dose or changing to another statin.
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Can Statins Increase My Risk For Memory Loss Or Dementia
Memory and cognitive symptoms from statin use are very uncommon, and it is unclear if statins are really the culprit. When symptoms have been reported, theyre typically not severe and usually resolve when the statin dosage is adjusted or the medication is switched.Affected patients have reported feeling unfocused or fuzzy in their thinking, but these experiences are rare. Concerns about long-term cognitive problems and memory loss due to use of statins have not been proven. On the contrary, most recent data actually point to potential prevention of dementia due to statin use.These data are logical because one of the major causes of dementia is atherosclerosis, which is hardening of the arteries in the brain. There is strong evidence that statins protect against atherosclerosis. Its one of the invisible benefits of taking a statin medication.Also, keep in mind that increasingly high cholesterol and memory problems both are common symptoms of aging. Sometimes its difficult to disentangle these two, and thats why statin use and memory problems may seem related at times.If youre concerned about statins and memory loss, dont stop taking your medication without consulting your doctor. There may be other reasons for your memory symptoms, or alternate treatments for your high cholesterol can be considered.
Mechanisms Accounting For Bempedoic Acid Induced Lipid Effects
Bempedoic acid is a potent inhibitor of ATP-citrate lyase, which catalyzes the formation of acetyl-CoA in the cytoplasm . Acetyl-CoA is a precursor for the synthesis of cholesterol . The inhibition of ATP-citrate lyase by bempedoic acid decreases cholesterol synthesis in liver reducing hepatic intracellular cholesterol levels . Of note, bempedoic acid is a pro-drug and conversion to its CoA-derivative by very-long-chain acyl-CoA synthetase-1 is required for inhibition of cholesterol synthesis . Very-long-chain acyl-CoA synthetase-1 is highly expressed in the liver but is not expressed in adipose tissue, kidney, intestine or skeletal muscle . The inability of bempedoic acid to be activated in muscle and inhibit cholesterol synthesis suggests that bempedoic acid is unlikely result in muscle toxicity.
What Is The Difference Between Hdl And Ldl Cholesterol
Cholesterol doesnt dissolve in blood. To be transported in the bloodstream, cholesterol is packed into two types of carriers: low-density lipoproteins or high-density lipoproteins . LDL cholesterol, which is sometimes known as bad cholesterol, is necessary in limited quantities , but high LDL cholesterol levels can dramatically increase your risk of a heart attack. Thats because LDL particles can contribute to atherosclerosisor clogged arteries. HDL cholesterolsometimes called good cholesterolhelps clear LDL cholesterol from the arteries.
When doctors measure cholesterol levels, they first look at total cholesterol as a quick way to assess a persons risk. For a more exact guide, they divide the total level by the HDL level. Heart attack risk is minimized by having a lower total cholesterol and a higher proportion of HDL cholesterol. The ratio of total cholesterol to HDL should be less than 4 to 1.
Unfortunately, the average American man has a ratio of 5 to 1. Vegetarians, on the other hand, average about 3 to 1. Smoking and obesity lower HDL vigorous exercise and foods rich in vitamin C may increase it.
Drink Alcohol In Moderation
Moderate alcohol consumption has been shown to increase your levels of good cholesterol, which, in turn, can reduce your levels of bad cholesterol.
The effects arent enough to encourage people to start drinking, but it does mean that perhaps its a good idea not to cut all alcohol from your diet just for the sake of reducing calories.
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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.
Vitamin B3 For Lowering Cholesterol Safely
The finding that niacin lowered cholesterol was soon confirmed by Parsons, Achor, Berge, McKenzie and Barker and Parsons at the Mayo Clinic, which launched niacin on its way as a hypocholesterolemic substance. Since then it has been found to be a normalizing agent, meaning it elevates high density lipoprotein cholesterol, decreases low density and very low density lipoprotein cholesterol and lowers triglycerides. Grundy, Mok, Zechs and Berman found it lowered cholesterol by 22 percent and triglycerides by 52 percent and wrote, âTo our knowledge, no other single agent has such potential for lowering both cholesterol and triglycerides.â
Elevated cholesterol levels are associated with increased risk of developing coronary disease. In addition to niacin, a typical diet generally recommended by orthomolecular physicians will tend to keep cholesterol levels down in most people. This diet can be described as a high fiber, sugar-free diet which is rich in complex polysaccharides such as vegetables and whole grains.
Niacin Combined With Other Drugs Which Lower Cholesterol
Fortunately, niacin does not decrease cholesterol to dangerously low levels. Cheraskin and Ringsdorf reviewed some of the evidence which links very low cholesterol levels to an increased incidence of cancer and greater mortality in general.
Continuous use of niacin can be expected to reliably decrease mortality and prolong life.
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How Does Cinnamon Reduce Blood Sugar
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