How Is High Cholesterol Treated
The main goals in treating high cholesterol are to lower your LDL levels and lower your risk of cardiovascular disease. To lower cholesterol, eat a heart-healthy diet, exercise regularly, and maintain a healthy weight. Some may also need to take cholesterol-lowering drugs.
Doctors determine your “goals” for lowering LDL based on the number of risk factors you have for heart disease.Ã Based on your risk, your doctor will determine the intensity of LDL reduction you need, and prescribe a medication accordingly.
Myth : You Can Lower Your Risk Of Heart Disease With Vitamins And Supplements
The antioxidant vitamins E, C, and beta carotene factor into lowering heart disease risk. However, clinical trials of supplementation with these vitamins have either failed to confirm benefit or were conducted in such a way that no conclusion could be drawn. The American Heart Association has stated that there is no scientific evidence to justify using these vitamins to prevent or treat cardiovascular disease.
What you can do: For reasons not yet understood, the body absorbs and utilizes vitamins and minerals best when they are acquired through foods. To ensure you get the vitamins and minerals you need, skip store-bought supplements and eat a wide variety of nutritious foods of every color of the rainbow.
Who Is Most At Risk For Fh
Familial hypercholesterolemia can affect anyone whose family carries the genetic mutation. However, its found more frequently in those who are of French Canadian, Ashkenazi Jewish, Lebanese or Afrikaner descent. The biggest problem with FH is that more than 90% of people who have it havent been diagnosed, which means you should pay careful attention to your family history,
Seth Martin, M.D., M.H.S., associate professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and director of the Advanced Lipid Disorders Center.
If people in your family have had heart attacks, needed stents or had bypass surgery earlier in life before age 55 in men and before 65 in women those are signals that theres something causing your family to be at higher risk for heart disease, he explains. It could be familial hypercholesterolemia.
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Myth : A Small Heart Attack Is No Big Deal
“A small heart attack isn’t a big deal in terms of how well your heart can function. It may even pass unnoticed. But it’s a huge warning sign that you have serious heart disease, and your next heart attack may kill you,” says Dr. Lee.
What you can do: Minimize your risk of heart attack by keeping your weight, cholesterol, and blood pressure in a normal range, not smoking, and seeing your doctor regularly to make sure no risk factors are elevated.
Can I Pass Fh To My Kids
If you inherited FH from one parent, theres a 50% chance youll pass it on to your children. If both of your parents passed the FH trait to you, your children will definitely have FH. Thats why its crucial to get children with a family history tested at an early age and begin cholesterol-reducing treatment for those with FH.
People with FH are usually not diagnosed until their 30s or 40s or later. Unfortunately, far too few are diagnosed as children. But early treatment can significantly impact a persons lifetime cardiovascular health by lowering their long-term exposure to high cholesterol levels, Martin advises. The treatment keeps their arteries healthier and prevents premature heart attacks and strokes.
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Can I Take The Test At Home
At-home tests are available that measure HDL cholesterol. There are various options for at-home HDL cholesterol testing.
An at-home self-test involves a fingerstick blood sample that provides results without having to send your sample to a lab. In these self-tests, a drop of blood is applied to a special test paper. The test paper either changes color based on your cholesterol levels or is inserted into a small device that analyzes your blood.
A self-collection test involves taking a fingerstick blood sample at home and then mailing it to a laboratory that measures the level of HDL cholesterol.
Some at-home tests only measure total cholesterol and do not provide a result for HDL cholesterol. For this reason, it is important to look closely at the test to determine if it includes a measurement of HDL-C.
How To Reduce Your Risk Of Heart Disease With Healthy Eating
Try these steps to reduce your risk of developing heart disease:
- Limit fried fast food and processed foods.
- Replace energy from saturated fats with healthy unsaturated fats from seeds and plants and foods such as nuts, seeds, avocado, olives and soy.
- Increase the amount and variety of plant foods eat more vegetables, fruits and wholegrain cereals.
- Reduce intake of refined sources of carbohydrates with higher glycaemic indices .
- Limit unprocessed red meats to a maximum of 350 g per week and avoid processed meat .
- Trim all visible fat from meat and remove skin from poultry.
- Eat legumes regularly like baked beans , soybeans, lentils and tofu.
- Snack on a handful of raw, unsalted nuts on most days of the week .
- Eat oily fish at least once per week.
- Reduce your salt intake avoid packaged and processed foods, limit fast foods and salty foods. Replace salt at the table and in cooking, with herbs and spices for flavour.
- Check the sodium content of foods and choose the lowest sodium products.
- If you have elevated cholesterol levels, switch to low-fat or non-fat dairy products and have no more than 7 eggs per week.
- If you drink alcohol, have no more than 2 standard drinks on any one day. A high alcohol intake increases blood pressure and can increase triglycerides in the blood.
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Myths About Heart Disease
Believing in these outdated ideas may increase your risk of a heart attack. Here’s what you need to know to protect yourself.
Over the past decade, we’ve learned a great deal about what causes heart attacks and how to prevent them. But unless you follow medical news closely, there’s a chance you might have misconceptions about the risk factors for heart disease, or heart disease itself. Here are 10 commonly held but mistaken beliefs. Replacing these myths with truths will give you the information you need so you and your doctor can plan the best path to a healthy heart.
Living With High Cholesterol
If you have high cholesterol, you are twice as likely to develop heart disease. That is why it is important to have your cholesterol levels checked, especially if you have a family history of heart disease. Reducing your LDL bad cholesterol through good diet, exercise, and medicine can make a positive impact on your overall health.
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What Is A Healthy Cholesterol Level
Cholesterol is broken down into two types:
- low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, or bad cholesterol, which can build up and block arteries
- high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, or good cholesterol, which helps remove other forms of cholesterol from the bloodstream
Your total cholesterol number is formed by adding your HDL and LDL numbers together and falls into one of three categories:
- Healthy: Less than 200 milligrams/deciliter
- Borderline high: 200239 mg/dL
- High: 240 mg/dL and up
How Did The Researchers Interpret The Results
The researchers concluded that, High LDL-C is inversely associated with mortality in most people over 60 years. They said their finding contradicts the cholesterol hypothesis: that cholesterol, particularly LDL, causes fatty build-up in the arteries.
They consider that as they found older adults with high LDL live just as long as those with low LDL, this provides the rationale for a re-evaluation of guidelines recommending pharmacological reduction of LDL-C in the elderly.
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People With Low Cholesterol Can Have Arteriosclerosis
If high cholesterol were to blame for every case of arteriosclerosis, then those with low to normal cholesterol levels wouldnt have to worry about it. However, those with healthy cholesterol levels can still experience hardened arteries that cause high blood pressure, angina, and other cardiovascular issues. This shows that focusing on cholesterol alone as the cause of arteriosclerosis can leave many people at risk for heart problems, since theyre only thinking about one possible factor. Cholesterol is found in every cell of the body, and those with arteriosclerosis need treatment that focuses on the true culprit.
The Blood Clotting Hypothesis
Many diseases are simply the result of normal healthy processes going wrong. Blood clotting is a normal healthy process. If our bodies werent able to form blood clots then we would bleed to death anytime we cut ourselves. This theory proposes that heart disease is a disease where the normal, healthy process of blood clotting goes wrong.
A small amount of damage to the blood vessel endothelium isnt a big problem. When this happens, a blood clot will form, be shaved down in size, and then a new layer of endothelium grows on top. This means the blood clot gets incorporated into the artery wall.
Interestingly, when you look at atherosclerotic plaques, they contain many similar components to a blood clot. By this theory, theyre the same thing.
When the blood clot is being shaved down in size, it triggers repair systems that increase inflammation. As we said earlier, inflammation is the bodies natural immune response to any injury. This explains why individuals with heart disease seem to have higher levels of inflammation in the body.
So up until this point, everything is a normal healthy process. Where does it go wrong? The blood clotting theory suggests that problems occur when the rate of endothelium damage is higher than the rate of repair.
- An increased rate of endothelium layer damage occurs
- Larger, harder to remove blood clots form
- The body has a reduced ability to repair/remove these blood clots
- Atherosclerosis develops over time
1) Endothelium damage
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How To Lower Cholesterol
If you have high cholesterol, your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes to help lower it. For instance, they may recommend changes to your diet, exercise habits, or other aspects of your daily routine. If you smoke, they will likely advise you to quit.
Your doctor may also prescribe medications or other treatments to help lower your cholesterol levels. In some cases, they may refer you to a specialist for more care.
What Did The Research Involve
The researchers searched one literature database in December 2015 to identify English-language cohort studies that had included a general population sample aged 60 and over. Studies had to have taken baseline measures of LDL cholesterol and then followed participants up over time, looking at the link with all-cause or cardiovascular mortality.
Three authors reviewed potential studies and extracted data. From an initial 2,894 hits, 19 publications, covering 30 cohorts and including 68,094 participants, were included. The majority of studies were excluded outright, as they didnt seem to contain anything relevant in the study title or abstract . The other reasons for exclusion were non-English language, participants not being representative of the general population, not measuring LDL cholesterol at baseline, and not giving separate data for older adults or looking at mortality outcomes.
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Cholesterol Levels: What You Need To Know
How do we diagnose high cholesterol?
Lipoprotein panel is a type of blood test that can measure cholesterol levels. Before the test, the patient may need to fast for 9-12 hours. The test gives information about different types of cholesterol:
- otal cholesterol: It shows the total amount of cholesterol in the blood. It includes both low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol.
- LDL cholesterol: It transports cholesterol particles throughout the body. LDL cholesterol is often called the bad cholesterol because it builds up in the walls of the arteries, making them hard and narrow.
- HDL cholesterol: It picks up excess cholesterol and takes it back to your liver.
- Non-HDL: This number is total cholesterol minus HDL. Non-HDL includes LDL and other types of cholesterol such as very lowdensity lipoprotein .
- Triglycerides: Another form of fat in the blood that can increase your risk for heart diseases, especially in women, is triglycerides.
Myth: I Dont Need Statins Or Other Medicines For My Cholesterol I Can Manage My Cholesterol With Diet And Exercise
Fact: Although many people can achieve good cholesterol levels by making healthy food choices and getting enough physical activity, some people may also need medicines called statins to lower their cholesterol levels. Guidelinesexternal icon also suggest that other medicines in addition to statins may be needed to help control cholesterol.2
People who may need statins or other medicines to manage cholesterol levels include the following:
- People with familial hypercholesterolemia or people with very high levels of bad cholesterol. FH is a genetic condition that causes very high LDL cholesterol levels beginning at a young age. If left untreated, cholesterol levels will continue to get worse. This greatly raises the risk for heart disease, heart attack, and stroke at a young age.
- People with cardiovascular disease . People with CVD may already have narrowed arteries because of too much plaque. Medicines that lower cholesterol may help reduce the risk for heart attack or stroke.
- People with diabetes.Type 2 diabetes lowers HDL or good cholesterol levels and raises bad cholesterol levels. This combination raises your risk of heart disease and stroke.
Other groups of people may also need medicines to manage their cholesterol, including people who have a high risk for CVD. Always talk to your health care provider about the best ways to manage your cholesterol.
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Myth : If You Have Heart Disease You Need To Take It Easy
“For the vast majority of people with heart disease, being sedentary is a bad idea. It can lead to blood clots in the legs and a decline in overall physical condition,” says cardiologist Dr. Richard T. Lee, co-editor in chief of the Harvard Heart Letter. Physical activity helps strengthen the heart muscle, improves blood flow to the brain and internal organs, and improves overall health and well-being.
What you can do: Ask your doctor what kind of exercise would be right for you, and how much you should do. Most people can walk, and any amount of walking is good for your heart.
What Are Cholesterol Levels
- LDL cholesterol is often referred to as âbadâ cholesterol because too much of it can build up in your arteries and form plaques, which increases the risk of heart disease .
- HDL cholesterol is often referred to as âgoodâ cholesterol as it carries cholesterol to the liver to be broken down and excreted.
Since your total cholesterol is a combination of your LDL cholesterol and your HDL cholesterol, ideally you want to keep your LDL levels low and your HDL levels high. There are many factors that can influence your cholesterol, including, diet, exercise, weight, genetics, and other health conditions.
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Eat Fibre To Lower Cholesterol
Eating high-fibre food can also help to lower your cholesterol. Fibre helps reduce the amount of cholesterol that is absorbed into the blood stream from your intestine.
- Make sure you get at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day as these contain fibre along with other nutrients
- Eat plenty of other high fibre foods like pulses oats and seeds.
- Choose more wholegrain foods when you can, such as brown or granary bread over white.
Cholesterol And Erectile Dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction is when a man canât achieve or maintain an erection during sex. Over the long term, high cholesterol seems to trigger a narrowing of the smaller blood vessels of the penis when they should be stretching to allow more blood for an erection . In addition, when you have too much LDL cholesterol, it can build up in arteries and then join with other substances to form plaque that hardens and narrows further blood vessels . The result can be less blood flow to both the heart and the penis, which can lead to erectile dysfunction.
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Cholesterol And Peripheral Vascular Disease
In addition to your heart and your brain, cholesterol plaque can cause symptoms in your legs and other areas outside of your heart and brain . Legs and feet are most common. You might notice cramps in your calves when you walk that get better with rest. This is like angina it works the same way but in your legs instead of your heart.
What Causes High Hdl Levels
A few things can push your HDL level above 60 mg/dL. You can control some of these factors. Others you canât.
Your genes. Certain genes make you more likely to have high HDL cholesterol. Inherited high HDL sometimes protects against heart disease, but sometimes it increases the risk.
For example, people with a change in the gene SCARB1 have larger than normal HDL cholesterol particles in their blood that increase their heart disease risk.
Some people of Japanese descent inherit genes that make them produce too little of the protein CETP, which helps carry cholesterol around the body. Having low CETP leads to high HDL levels in your blood, but it doesn’t seem to increase the risk for heart disease.
If you have high HDL and close relatives like your parents or siblings have had heart disease, a heart attack, or a stroke, your doctor might send you to a genetic counselor or cardiologist for more testing.
Your diet. Foods that are high in unsaturated fats, such as fish, nuts, and green leafy vegetables raise HDL in a good way. Other foods increase HDL cholesterol too much. They are some of the same foods that also raise unhealthy LDL cholesterol, like:
- Red meat
- Cream and other full-fat dairy products
- Cookies, cakes, and other baked goods
- Fried foods
Drinking too much alcohol can also raise HDL levels.
Medications. Medicines like these can increase HDL levels:
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