How To Lower Cholesterol: Low
Low-carbohydrate diets may help improve HDL cholesterol levels. The National Institutes of Health conducted a study that found while both low-fat and low-carb dieters lost weight over the two-year study period, low-carb dieters also improved their HDL cholesterol levels. The problem with low-carb diets is that they may be difficult to adhere to. Consult your doctor about the best healthy eating plan to manage your cholesterol.
Prevention Of High Cholesterol
Regularly monitoring your cholesterol levels can also help prevent your numbers from getting too high or low. In general, healthy adults should check their cholesterol every four to six years, but your doctor may ask to check your cholesterol more often depending on your age, overall health, and other risk factors. There are other ways to prevent high cholesterol, too
Reduce Your Intake Of Saturated And Trans Fats
Adopt and follow a healthy diet thats low in saturated and trans fats. A diet high in these fats can raise levels of LDL cholesterol in the blood.
Saturated fat is usually solid at room temperature. Its found in animal products such as meat and dairy, but also in palm oil, coconut oil and full-cream milk. Read more about saturated fat-rich foods here.
Trans fats are found in store-bought baked goods, snack foods and deep-fried foods. There is strong evidence that trans fats increase levels of LDL cholesterol in the blood, while decreasing levels of HDL cholesterol.
Some foods contain cholesterol . Foods that contain cholesterol include liver, pate, kidneys, prawns and egg yolks. These types of food are not usually eaten in large quantities, so its OK to include them in your diet in small amounts.
Foods that contain saturated fats have a greater effect on blood cholesterol levels than foods that contain dietary cholesterol.
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How Is High Cholesterol Diagnosed
Since high cholesterol alone typically has no signs or symptoms, the only way to find out if you have it is to get a simple blood test known as a lipid profile, or lipid panel. This blood test might require you to fast for 8 to 12 hours before your blood is drawn.
From this blood sample, your doctor can measure your LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and triglycerides, which at high levels can combine with low HDL or high LDL to increase your risk of heart disease. A lipid panel can also tell you your total cholesterol, which is based on all three components.
- LDL cholesterol of less than 100 milligrams per deciliter
- HDL cholesterol that’s greater than or equal to 60 mg/dL
- Triglycerides of less than 150 mg/dL
- Total cholesterol of less than 200 mg/dL
However, more and more cardiologists are focusing less on specific numbers and more on overall risk of heart disease, according to Peter Schulman, MD, an attending cardiologist and professor of medicine at UConn Health in Farmington, Connecticut. Your age and overall health can help you determine whether you should talk to your doctor about improving your cholesterol levels if theyre not in the desirable range.
Why Do I Have To Fast
Nutrients in food and drinks go into your bloodstream and can change things measured by the tests, skewing your results.
For instance, if you eat or drink before a fasting blood glucose test, your blood sugar probably will be higher than if you hadn’t had anything. When you’re fasting, doctors get a baseline result so tests can be compared to give a true picture of your sugar levels over time.
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How To Lower Ldl Cholesterol Levels
When we’re born, our genetic makeup sets a range around which our LDL cholesterol levels will orbit throughout our lives, says Dr. Lloyd-Jones.
Yet while we can’t control this genetic range, we can leverage factors like our diet, lifestyle, medications to keep cholesterol levels at the lowestand healthiestpoint in that predetermined spread.
Effects Of High Cholesterol Levels
The liver is the main processing centre for cholesterol and dietary fat. When we eat animal fats, the liver transports the fat, together with cholesterol in the form of lipoproteins, into our bloodstream.
Too much cholesterol circulating within LDL in our bloodstream leads to fatty deposits developing in the arteries. This causes the vessels to narrow and they can eventually become blocked. This can lead to heart disease and stroke.
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Symptoms Of High Cholesterol
Often, there are no specific symptoms of high cholesterol. You could have high cholesterol and not know it.
If you have high cholesterol, your body may store the extra cholesterol in your arteries. These are blood vessels that carry blood from your heart to the rest of your body. A buildup of cholesterol in your arteries is known as plaque. Over time, plaque can become hard and make your arteries narrow. Large deposits of plaque can completely block an artery. Cholesterol plaques can also break apart, leading to formation of a blood clot that blocks the flow of blood.
A blocked artery to the heart can cause a heart attack. A blocked artery to your brain can cause a stroke.
Many people dont discover that they have high cholesterol until they suffer one of these life-threatening events. Some people find out through routine check-ups that include blood tests.
Foods That Lower Your Cholesterol
Some foods can actively help to lower your cholesterol and they all work in different ways. Try to include these foods in your meals whenever you can:
1. Oats and barley
Eating whole grain foods reduces your risk of heart disease. Oats and barley are extra special because they are high in a type of soluble fibre called beta glucan. Beta glucan helps to lower bad LDL cholesterol in your blood2,3.
Tip: Flavoured oat products like Quick Oats often contain added salt and/or sugar. Choose products that contain 100% oats as theyre closest to how theyre found in nature.
2. Vegetables and fruit
Eating a variety of colourful vegetables and fruit everyday can help protect you against heart disease, stroke and some cancers4,5. Many vegetables and fruit are high in soluble fibre which helps to reduce the absorption of cholesterol and lower bad LDL cholesterol in your blood.
Tip: Leave the skins on vegetables like pumpkin, kmara and carrot to maximise your intake of fibre. Use orange and lemon peel in dressings and sauces.
3. Foods rich in heart-healthy fats
Eating plenty of foods that contain heart-healthy mono and poly-unsaturated fats increases the levels of good HDL cholesterol in your blood.
These foods contain heart-healthy fats.
- Vegetable oils and spreads
Eating these foods instead of foods high in saturated fat improves your cholesterol. Itll reduce your risk of heart disease too6.
4. Legumes and beans
7. Plant sterols
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Hdl Vs Ldl Cholesterol
Cholesterol is cholesterol it’s the type of particle carrying it that makes it “good” or “bad” for our body.
Whereas LDL particles tend to deliver excess cholesterol to our tissues and arteries, HDL particles are designed to help with the body’s cleanup process.
“The HDL sort of functions like a vacuum cleaner,” explains Holly Ippisch, MD, a pediatric cardiologist at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. “It helps pick up the LDL and take it back to the liver, where the body can get rid of it or use it for other functions.”
Plant Sterols Can Lower Cholesterol Levels
Plant sterols are found naturally in plant foods including sunflower and canola seeds, vegetable oils and in nuts, legumes, cereals, fruit and vegetables. Some margarine and milks have concentrated plant sterols added to them. Margarines enriched with plant sterolslower LDL cholesterol in most people if the correct amount is eaten .
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Foods That Lower Cholesterol Fast
A sedentary lifestyle, smoking, obesity and poor nutrition all contribute to elevated cholesterol. Certain factors such as your age, genes and race have an impact too. According to a 2016 review published in the journal Cell, this condition runs in families. Back in 1938, it was named familial hypercholesterolemia.
While you cannot control these factors, you can change your diet and lifestyle habits to keep your heart healthy. Some foods, including olive oil and fatty fish, have been shown to raise good cholesterol and lower bad cholesterol levels. Others, especially those high in trans fats, have the opposite effect.
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Its important to note that dietary cholesterol has a minimal impact on blood cholesterol levels. In 2018, the journal Nutrients published a review describing the relationship between the two. Researchers point out that trans fats and saturated fatty acids, not dietary cholesterol, increase heart disease risk.
Therefore, a low-cholesterol diet wont necessarily reduce total cholesterol and LDL levels. What you need to do is to replace deli meats, chips, fries, hydrogenated vegetable oil and other sources of trans fats with whole foods rich in healthy fats.
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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Why Is It Important To Have A Normal Cholesterol Level
A high cholesterol level can increase your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. You have an even higher risk if you also have other risk factors, such as:
Age over 45 for men and over 55 for women
High blood pressure
A history of heart disease in your father or a brother before he was 55 years of age or in your mother or a sister before she was 65 years of age
A low HDL cholesterol level
Treatment And Medication Options For High Cholesterol
Although having high cholesterol numbers can contribute to the long-term risk of heart attack and stroke, you can lower your cholesterol through changes in your lifestyle habits, including adopting a heart-healthy diet, increasing your physical activity level, and quitting smoking. These long-term lifestyle changes can also prevent your cholesterol levels from changing in the first place.
Learn More About Prevention of High Cholesterol
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Lifestyle Tips To Cut Cholesterol
Changing some of your lifestyle habits may also help to reduce your cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Suggestions include:
- Cease alcohol consumption or reduce your alcohol intake to no more than one or two drinks a day. Avoid binge drinking. This may help lower your triglyceride levels.
- Dont smoke. Smoking increases the ability of LDL cholesterol to get into artery cells and cause damage.
- Exercise regularly . Exercise increases HDL levels while reducing LDL and triglyceride levels in the body.
- Lose any excess body fat. Being overweight may contribute to raised blood triglyceride and LDL levels.
- Control your blood sugar levels if you have diabetes. High blood sugars are linked to an increased risk of atherosclerosis , heart attacks and strokes.
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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Questions To Ask Your Doctor
- Am I at risk for heart disease?
- How often should I get my cholesterol tested?
- What are my cholesterol levels? What do they mean?
- What lifestyle changes do I need to make to help improve my cholesterol levels and heart health?
- Is there a chance that Ill need cholesterol-lowering medicine?
- What are the risks and benefits of taking this medicine?
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Complications Of High Cholesterol
Since high cholesterol alone typically doesnt cause any symptoms, people only experience complications when their high cholesterol contributes to the development of severe heart disease, often in the form of heart attack or stroke. Over the long term, high cholesterol can cause plaque to form in your arteries, which can then narrow and lead to a cardiovascular emergency.
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Becoming More Physically Active
A sedentary lifestyle lowers HDL cholesterol. Less HDL means theres less good cholesterol to remove bad cholesterol from your arteries.
Physical activity is important. At least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise a week is enough to lower both cholesterol and high blood pressure. And you have lots of options: brisk walking, swimming, bicycling or even yard work can fit the bill.
Lowering Your Total And Ldl Cholesterol Levels
Here are some things you can do:
Lose weight if you are overweight.
Exercise regularly. For example, walk or ride a bicycle for 30 minutes at least three times a week.
Eat fewer high-fat foods, like butter, cheese, meat, and some vegetable fats . Foods that are high in saturated fat should be less than 7 percent of your total daily calories.
Eat more high-fiber foods, like vegetables, fruits, grains, and whole-grain breads, cereals, and pasta.
Your doctor can help you plan a heart-healthy diet. If exercising and changing your diet do not help enough, you might need to take a medicine to lower your cholesterol level.
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You Can Be In Control
With the above steps, you can take control by designing your own experiments to see how you can best alter your lab results. Just remember to focus on your entire health picture the goal should be lowering your LDL without losing any of your low-carb benefits. Work with your doctor to ensure safety and efficacy. And if you need a doctor more familiar with low carb, be sure to check out our low-carb doctors directory.
A point of contention in lipid research is that few if any trials focus on people following a whole-food, low-carb diet. Therefore, it is unknown if the conclusions from studies of people following a low-fat diet or standard Western diet are applicable to those on a low-carb diet.
Most experts in the field of lipidology assume the risk is the same, although some question this. In the absence of specific data, some may choose to be more conservative while others may be more permissive with elevated levels. & larrhk
How Can A High Ldl Level Raise My Risk Of Coronary Artery Disease And Other Diseases
If you have a high LDL level, this means that you have too much LDL cholesterol in your blood. This extra LDL, along with other substances, forms plaque. The plaque builds up in your arteries this is a condition called atherosclerosis.
Coronary artery disease happens when the plaque buildup is in the arteries of your heart. It causes the arteries to become hardened and narrowed, which slows down or blocks the blood flow to your heart. Since your blood carries oxygen to your heart, this means that your heart may not be able to get enough oxygen. This can cause angina , or if the blood flow is completely blocked, a heart attack.
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Cholesterol Myths And Facts
Cholesterol can be confusing! Learn answers to common questions about blood cholesterol.
What do your cholesterol numbers mean? Can the foods you eat change your cholesterol levels?
Learn the difference between cholesterol myth and fact. Then commit to getting your cholesterol checked this year so you know your numbers and your risk for heart disease and stroke.
Commit to getting your cholesterol checked this year so you know your numbers and your risk for heart disease and stroke.
Talk To Your Doctor About Medication
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