Avoid Tobacco Products And Limit Alcohol Consumption
Its common knowledge that smoking is bad for the lungs, but you might not know that it can damage your arteries as well. Combining that with plaque buildup due to high cholesterol can lead to serious heart health problems. Thats why the CDC says flat out that if you currently smoke, you should quit, and non-smokers should never start.
Alcohol isnt quite as detrimental, but can raise overall cholesterol and levels of triglycerides in the blood if consumed in large quantities. The CDC recommends consuming no more than one or two alcoholic beverages per day in order to maintain your heart health.
Dangers Of High Cholesterol
Cholesterol is a naturally occurring substance made by the liver and required by the body for the proper function of cells, nerves and;hormones.
Although your body needs cholesterol, excess cholesterol can build up and form a fatty plaque on the walls of the arteries, decreasing the flow of blood to vital areas of the body. If plaque continues to build long-term, it can significantly increase the risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
So what causes high cholesterol? Believe it or not, the answer goes way beyond a high cholesterol diet.
While cholesterol is normally kept in balance, an unhealthy diet high in hydrogenated fats and refined carbohydrates can disrupt this delicate balance, leading to increased cholesterol levels. This imbalance is manifested in elevated LDL and low HDL , which increases the risk of heart attack or stroke. Other causes can include physical inactivity, diabetes, stress and hypothyroidism.
But keep in mind that not all cholesterol is created equally. LDL cholesterol, also known as bad cholesterol, is the form that can build up on the artery walls and increase your risk of heart disease. HDL cholesterol, on the other hand, is often dubbed good cholesterol because it travels through the bloodstream, removing harmful cholesterol from the arteries to help enhance heart health.
You Can Begin Lowering Cholesterol Naturally Today
Sound like a lot to take on? Dont be intimidated. Bringing down your high cholesterol doesnt have to mean changing your life completely. Rather, start with changing your mindset. Instead of moving away from things, youre moving toward new habits that will help you create a healthier and more enjoyable future.
Now is always the right time to start taking care of your heart health. If you need a little support, lean on friends and family. And dont forget: Your doctor is always there for you with advice, motivation and encouragement so you can reach your goals and live healthier.
Also Check: Can Stress Raise Your Cholesterol
How To Lower Triglycerides And Cholesterol Naturally
Your genes, diet, and lifestyle all affect your triglyceride and cholesterol levels. Some people naturally produce more triglycerides and cholesterol than others. This is based on their genetics and family history. Still, these levels are just part of your overall lipid levels, and lifestyle changes are one of the best ways to keep your numbers within a healthy range.
What Statins Are Available To Treat High Cholesterol
Available statin drugs
- Increased blood glucose levels.
- Reversible memory issues.
If youre unable to take statins because of the side effects, youre said to be statin-intolerant. If you are taking a statin, you should avoid grapefruit products because they can increase side effects. You should limit the amount of alcohol that you drink because combining alcohol and statin usage can increase your risk of liver damage. You may want to talk with your provider or pharmacist if you are concerned about any other types of interactions.
PCSK9 inhibitors are designed to attach to a particular liver protein, which results in lowered LDL cholesterol. This class of drug can be given with statins and is usually for people at high risk of heart disease who have not been able to lower their cholesterol enough through other means.
Does Lowering Your Cholesterol Protect You From Ever Having A Heart Attack
Not necessarily. Since their arrival in the 1990s in Americans medicine cabinets nationwide, statin drugs have indeed proven very effective for reducing high LDL levels, and they do slow the progression of cholesterol-filled plaques. But sadly, the #1 cause of death in Americans taking statins to lower their elevated LDL levels is still heart attacks, states Kimberly Gomer, MS, RD, LDN, one of the many faculty who teach wellness education and nutrition workshops at the Pritikin Longevity Center.
How Long Does It Take To Reduce Cholesterol Levels
How long it takes to lower your cholesterol can vary, but changing your numbers over a six-month time period is a realistic goal, Grace Derocha, RD, CDE, a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, tells LIVESTRONG.com.
Why? Six months gives your body time to process excess cholesterol and for you to form healthy habits that can help lower and prevent high cholesterol, she says.
You May Like: What Is Normal Cholesterol Range Uk
Misconception: If The Nutrition Facts Label Shows No Cholesterol The Food Is Heart Healthy
A foods Nutrition Facts label can be helpful for choosing heart-healthy foods, if you know what to look for.
Many foods marketed as low-cholesterol have high levels of saturated or trans fats, both of which raise blood cholesterol.
Look for how much saturated fat, trans fat and total calories are in a serving. Ingredients are listed in descending order of use, so choose products where fats and oils are near the end of the ingredients list.
Substitute Healthy Oils In Place Of Butter And Margarine
Of course, its not always realistic to avoid fats when youre whipping up a tasty meal.
When you do need to add fat for cooking, baking or pan frying, use healthy oils instead of solid fats like butter, margarine, shortening and lard. Solid fats are high in saturated fats, but oils are high in unsaturated fats, which remember are better for you. The American Heart Association recommends using oils that have less than 4 grams of saturated fat per tablespoon .
Many times, its easy to swap a solid fat to a healthier one. Try using olive oil, sunflower oil or grapeseed oil in place of a solid fat.
For example, if youd rather use olive oil than butter, substitute ¾ the amount of butter in a recipe with olive oil. You might also bring out some new, surprising, subtle flavors, too.
Don’t Miss: Are Egg Beaters Low In Cholesterol
How Low Should Your Ldl And Non
Numerous studies have found that an LDL level above 100, even in otherwise healthy patients, will lead to the growth of damaging plaques. Research suggests that LDL levels significantly lower than 100 are optimal. For example, one major study involving more than 8,800 European patients found that LDL cholesterol levels of 81 were even better than levels of 104 in preventing death, heart attacks, and other cardiovascular-related problems in people with heart disease. 2
And recently, a six-year study involving 18,000 people with heart disease affirmed that for reducing LDL levels,;the lower, the better. The study was reported at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association.3 Half the subjects lowered their LDL, on average, to 69; the other half reduced LDL to 54. Both groups were rewarded with few heart events over the six-year period, but the group with the lower LDL, 54, ended up the winner. It had 6.4% fewer events heart attacks, heart disease deaths, strokes, bypass surgeries, stent procedures, and hospitalizations for severe chest pains than the group with the higher LDL.
For non-HDL, an optimal goal for people with clear evidence of heart disease is less than 80. A good goal for healthy individuals wanting to prevent heart disease is less than 100.
Misconception: Cholesterol Isnt A Concern For Children
High cholesterol can be inherited. This is referred to as familial hypercholesterolemia.
Children who have this genetic disorder are at very high risk of heart disease. This problem is underdiagnosed and undertreated worldwide. Once identified, children with this condition may require aggressive treatment with medications.
Cholesterol testing could be considered for children and adolescents with elevated risk. That includes children or adolescents with:
- Family history of early cardiovascular disease
- Family history of total cholesterol of 240 mg/dL or above
- Obesity or other metabolic risk factors
Regardless of their risk, all children benefit from a healthy diet and lifestyle. Establishing healthy eating and physical activity habits early can reduce the risk of cardiovascular problems over time.
Evidence shows that the atherosclerotic process begins in childhood and progresses slowly into adulthood. Later in life, this often leads to coronary heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States.
To reduce your childs risk, its important to:
- Discourage cigarette smoking.
- Identify and treat high blood pressure.
- Help your child maintain a healthy weight.
- Diagnose and treat diabetes.
- Encourage a healthy diet.
Children age 2 and older should eat a diet that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, fish, whole grains and limits sodium and sugar sweetened foods and drinks.
Recommended Reading: How Does Stress Affect Cholesterol Levels
What Is The Pritikin Diet
The Pritikin diet significantly reduces saturated fatty acids trans fatty acids , and dietary cholesterol. It also increases dietary fiber in the form of natural, nutrient-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans. This is the healthiest way to lower cholesterol, points out cardiologist Ronald Scheib, MD, physician and educator;at the Pritikin Longevity Center in Miami, where the Pritikin Program has been taught since 1975.
How To Measure Cholesterol
How do physicians know when your cholesterol is too high? Cholesterol is measured using a lipid panel, a relatively simple blood test that measures HDL, total cholesterol, and a few other related levels. It also provides an estimate of LDL, as the Johns Hopkins Medicine team explains.
Measuring cholesterol is an important part of our Heart Health program for Forward members, giving you an important indicator for understanding if your cholesterol is high enough that it presents a health risk. Fortunately, even if that turns out to be the case, physicians agree on some solid, straightforward actions anyone can take to lower cholesterol.
Also Check: How Much Cholesterol Does The Body Need
Myth: Eating Foods With A Lot Of Cholesterol Will Not Make My Cholesterol Levels Go Up
Fact:;It can be complicated. We know that foods with a lot of cholesterol usually also have a lot of saturated fat. Saturated fats can make your cholesterol numbers higher, so its best to choose foods that are lower in saturated fats. Foods made from animals, including red meat, butter, and cheese, have a lot of saturated fats.
Instead, aim to eat foods with plenty of fiber, such as oatmeal and beans, and healthy unsaturated fats, such as avocados, olive oil, and nuts. Learn more about healthy diets and nutrition at CDCs nutrition, physical activity, and obesity website.
Talk with your health care provider about ways to manage your cholesterol. Learn more about medicines to lower cholesterol.
Myth: All Cholesterol Is Bad For You
Fact:;Some types of cholesterol are essential for good health. Your body needs cholesterol to perform important jobs, such as making hormones and building cells. Cholesterol travels through the blood on proteins called;lipoproteins. Two types of lipoproteins carry cholesterol throughout the body:
- LDL ,;sometimes called bad;cholesterol,;makes up most of your bodys cholesterol. High levels of LDL cholesterol raise your risk for heart disease and stroke.
- HDL ,;or good;cholesterol,;carries cholesterol back to the liver. The liver then flushes it from the body. High levels of HDL cholesterol can lower your risk for heart disease and stroke.
When your body has too much LDL cholesterol, it can build up in the walls of your blood vessels. This buildup is called;plaque. As your blood vessels build up plaque over time, the insides of the vessels narrow. This narrowing can restrict and eventually block blood flow to and from your heart and other organs. When blood flow to the heart is blocked, it can cause angina or a heart attack.
Also Check: Is Chocolate Bad For Cholesterol
How Can You Lower Your Cholesterol
What can you do to lower your cholesterol? While its important to discuss your specific situation with your doctor, Mayo Clinic offers some useful suggestions:
Is living an active, healthy lifestyle important to you? Be sure to check out The Gables on Pelham, a continuing care retirement community that welcomes seniors from all walks of life. We offer flexible and personalized care, including assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing, and rehabilitation. Youll love our cozy accommodations, fun-filled events calendar, and welcoming community atmosphere. To learn more, please schedule a tour or give us a call at 864-713-1377.
Understanding Your Cholesterol Results
The results of a cholesterol test can be as confusing as they are important. Learn the difference between LDL and HDL, and how to lower your cholesterol. What do my cholesterol results mean?
Thats because lowering heart attack risk is not just a matter of lowering cholesterol. There are many other factors that damage artery walls and increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke, including:
- High glucose levels
- High blood pressure
Can You Lower Cholesterol Through Diet Alone
18-Dec-19·6 mins read
You are what you eat – and what you drink, how much exercise you do and your genetics.
“Cholesterol levels are affected by a number of factors, some you can’t do anything about – for example, family history, age, ethnicity and gender – and some you can,” says Lynne Garton,;Dietetic Advisor for HEART UK. “An unhealthy diet high in saturated fat, being overweight, drinking too much alcohol and not being physically active can all contribute to raised ‘bad’ cholesterol.”
How Do I Know If I Have Healthy Cholesterol
Your blood fats, including cholesterol level, can be measured by a simple blood test carried out by your GP. You can read more about how to get your cholesterol checked on the NHS website.;You should ask your GP for a cholesterol test if;you have not had a test before and youre over 40, if youre overweight,;high cholesterol or heart problems run in your family, or you have a condition called;familial hypercholesterolemia.
Also Check: Is Cholesterol Genetic Or Environmental
Medicines That Lower Cholesterol
When they feel its necessary, doctors have multiple options for treatment they can prescribe for high cholesterol. Medicines to lower cholesterol fall into several categories, including statins, which lower the livers production of cholesterol while increasing its ability to remove LDL from the blood.
These treatments can also be part of your ongoing discussion with your doctor about lowering cholesterol. Your physician will consider a number of factors in deciding if you could benefit from these medicines, including overall LDL levels, prior history of arterial heart disease, age, and additional health conditions that could increase a risk of heart disease, like diabetes.
What Counts As High Fat And Low Fat For A Packaged Product
- High: more than 17.5g of fat per 100g.
- Low: 3g of fat or less per 100g.
Saturated fat:Look out for saturates or sat fat on the label: this tells you how much saturated fat is in the food.
- High: more than 5g saturates per 100g.
- Low: 1.5g saturates or less per 100g.
If the amount of fat or saturated fat per 100g is in-between these figures, thats a medium level, and packaging may be colour-coded amber.
You May Like: Can High Cholesterol Cause Joint Pain
What Diet Is Best For Lowering Cholesterol
Studies have found that plant-based diets lower cholesterol levels more effectively than other diets. In 2017, researchers reviewed 49 studies that compared plant-based diets with omnivorous diets to test their effects on cholesterol. Plant-based diets lowered total cholesterol, LDL, and HDL levels when compared to omnivorous diets. Low-fat, plant-based regimens typically reduce LDL levels by about 15 to 30 percent.;
Some;recommendations for lowering cholesterol still include consuming chicken and fish. However, a number of studies have shown that heart disease patients who continue to eat these foods still tend to get worse over time. Those who adopt a low-fat, plant-based diet, get daily exercise, avoid tobacco, and manage stress;have the best chance of;reversing heart disease.
Pranayama To Lower Cholesterol
- Increases metabolism which accelerates the fat reduction process.
- It increases the functioning of organs.
- Increases digestive power.
End yoga practice by doing asana and pranayama followed by meditation. Through meditation, the body is relaxed and the mind is relaxed.
To reduce the amount of cholesterol, it is necessary to take care of your diet with yoga.
Many people get sad that their cholesterol level has increased. There is no need to be discouraged. Yoga can play an important role in balancing and regulating your HDL and LDL levels. Also, it is helpful in keeping you more energetic and positive and also has no side effects. You just have to be regular in your practice and do it with full enthusiasm.
Read Also: How Many Cholesterol In Egg
Prepare Your Food A Little Differently
Its not only what you eat its how you eat it. Just as you can change what you buy in the grocery store, you can also choose healthier ways to make your food that help lower your cholesterol naturally. For example:
- Trim fat and remove the skin when cooking meat or fish. This helps you get the protein while reducing fat intake.
- Focus on boiling, broiling, baking, poaching or grilling. These are better methods of preparation than deep frying or breading, which can bring in extra fat.