Preventive Steps For High Cholesterol And Heart Health
When you have high cholesterol, staying heart-healthy requires more than a regimen of statins. Even if youre on medication, it is absolutely essential to make lifestyle changes: Stop smoking , drink alcohol only in moderation, eat well, build exercise into your life, and get to a healthy weight, Dr. Rocco says. Smoking cessation alone can boost HDL 5 percent, while for every 7 pounds you lose, youll see a 1 mg increase in HDL. Regular moderate-intensity exercise raises HDL as much as 6 percent, he adds.
Contrary to prior nutritional information, there is not a clear link between dietary intake of cholesterol and increased cardiovascular risk the focus is on lowering saturated fat and trans fat in the diet. The new 2015 dietary guidelines by the U.S. government removed the limitation on cholesterol in the diet.
Features of a Mediterranean diet include:
- Eating primarily plant-based foods
- Limiting red meat
- Limiting full-fat dairy products
- Using olive oil in place of butter
- Enjoying fish and poultry at least twice a week
Adopting this kind of diet, along with exercise, pays off not just in terms of heart disease, but overall, Andersen says. Its really an anti-aging plan.
How Can I Lower My Ldl Level
There are two main ways to lower your LDL cholesterol:
- Therapeutic lifestyle changes . TLC includes three parts:
- Heart-healthy eating. A heart-healthy eating plan limits the amount of saturated and trans fats that you eat. Examples of eating plans that can lower your cholesterol include the Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes diet and the DASH eating plan.
- Weight Management. If you are overweight, losing weight can help lower your LDL cholesterol.
- Physical Activity. Everyone should get regular physical activity .
- Drug Treatment. If lifestyle changes alone do not lower your cholesterol enough, you may also need to take medicines. There are several types of cholesterol-lowering drugs available, including statins. The medicines work in different ways and can have different side effects. Talk to your health care provider about which one is right for you. While you are taking medicines to lower your cholesterol, you still should continue with the lifestyle changes.
Some people with familial hypercholesterolemia may receive a treatment called lipoprotein apheresis. This treatment uses a filtering machine to remove LDL cholesterol from the blood. Then the machine returns the rest of the blood back to the person.
NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
What Makes Ldl Cholesterol Too High
A range of medical and lifestyle factors cause high LDL, including:
- Diet: Diets high in saturated fats, salts, and cholesterol and low in healthy proteins and fiber can lead to high LDL.
- Lack of physical activity: Not getting enough exercise and being sedentary contributes to weight gain and can also push levels up. You may see higher LDL if you don’t get a minimum of 30 minutes a day of activity.
- Weight status: Being overweight or obese greatly increases the chances of developing high LDL. Even modest gains in weight can push levels to unhealthy ranges.
- Alcohol and tobacco: Smoking and drinking are both associated with high cholesterol, among many other detrimental effects on health.
- Genetics: High LDL can be inherited, a condition called familial hypercholesterolemia . The severity of FH ranges, but those with the homozygous formin which both parents are carriers of the faulty genemay have extremely high amounts of this type of cholesterol.
- Medications: Taking several classes of drugs can lead to spikes in LDL. These include those for heart disease, high blood pressure, inflammation, certain viruses, and seizures, among other conditions. Talk to your doctor about how these prescriptions may impact cholesterol.
- Health conditions: Diseases and conditions that cause high LDL include type 2 diabetes, pregnancy, chronic kidney disease, and hypothyroidism.
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No Apparent Danger Of Very Low Ldl Cholesterol
LDL is a key component of many hormones and all cell membranes, which allow cells to communicate with each other. Earlier studies had raised concerns that lowering LDL too far might interfere with normal cellular functions, especially in organs that have higher lipid concentrations, such as the brain and reproductive organs. And there have been reports of a slightly increased risk of osteoporosis and brain bleeding in patients treated with high doses of statin medications.
Well-known side effects in people who use statin medications include muscle aches and a slightly increased risk of diabetes, especially when high doses of medication are used. Whether these risks are due to the statin medications themselves or the lowering of LDL is not entirely clear.
However, people with rare inherited disorders in which LDL levels are extremely low from birth appear to have normal fertility and no major organ dysfunction. Therefore, an extremely low LDL by itself does not appear to be dangerous in these unusual cases.
Can Bad Cholesterol Levels Be Too Low Can Good Cholesterol Levels Be Too High
It isnt often that people have bad cholesterol that is too low or good cholesterol that is too high. There are studies being done that suggest that extremes of any kind are not healthy for everyone.
However, there is data from clinical trials to support that there is no evidence of harm when LDLs remain < 40mg/dl on statin therapy.
In some cases, genetic conditions can cause you to have very low cholesterol levels. In other cases, nutritional problems, some cancers, hypothyroidism and certain infections can also cause low cholesterol levels. In any of these types of situations, the underlying issues need to be addressed.
In terms of having too much of a good thing, researchers are studying the effects of too much HDL, the good cholesterol. No conclusions have been reached, but there have been studies into the possible relationship between high HDL and cancer, and a greater risk of heart attack among the high risk. Excessively high HDL may be dysfunctional HDL and not protective.
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How Is High Cholesterol Treated
There are several ways to lower high blood cholesterol , including lifestyle changes or medication, or both. Your healthcare provider will work with you to determine which therapy is best for you.
Healthcare providers like to start with the least invasive treatments when possible, such as lifestyle changes. Youll be advised to:
- Avoid tobacco. If you do smoke, quit. Smoking is bad for you in many ways, and reducing your level of good cholesterol is one of them.
- Change the way you eat. Limit the number of trans fats and saturated fat. Eat heart-healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, poultry, fish and whole grains. Limit red meat, sugary products and dairy products made with whole milk.
- Get more exercise. Try to get about 150 minutes of physical activity every week, or about 30 minutes per day for most days of the week.
- Keep a healthy weight. If you need to lose weight, talk to your healthcare provider about safe ways to do this. Youll see results even before you reach your ideal weight. Losing even 10% of your body weight makes a difference in your cholesterol levels.
- Reduce the effect of negative emotions. Learn healthy ways to deal with anger, stress or other negative emotions.
- Control blood sugar and blood pressure. Make sure you follow your healthcare providers instructions for blood sugar levels, especially if you have diabetes, and for keeping blood pressure in the healthy range.
- Atorvastatin .
- Simvastatin .
- Pitavastatin .
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.
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How Total Cholesterol Is Measured
This is done using a blood test called a lipoprotein panel, which also measures your triglycerides. For this test, you provide a blood sample thats taken after youve fasted for 9 to 12 hours before your test.
Your total cholesterol score is calculated using the equation: HDL level + LDL level + 20% of your triglyceride level.
How Often Should I Get My Cholesterol Levels Checked
The following provides general recommendations for various age groups.
People who are 19 years of age or younger should:
- Get the first test done between ages 9 to 11 years
- Repeat the test every 5 years
- For children, who have a family history of high blood cholesterol, heart attack, or stroke, the testing may start at 2 years of age
People who are age 20 years or older:
- Those between the age of 20 to 44 years should get tested every 5 years
- Women in the age group 45 to 54 years should get tested every 5 years
- Men in the age group 45 to 65 years should get their cholesterol levels checked every 1-2 years
- Women in the age group 55 to 65 years should get tested every 1-2 years
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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
Why Is Ldl Considered Bad
The clearest picture of inflammations role in the onset of atherosclerosis comes from studies into LDL, the bad cholesterol. LDL particles, composed of fatty molecules and protein, transport cholesterol from their source in the liver and intestines to other organs. Scientists have long known that although the body needs LDL and cholesterol, excessive amounts promote atherosclerosis, which is, in laymans terms, clogging of the arteries.
It is notable too, that LDL is made up of larger, fluffier LDL particles and also smaller, denser VLDL particles. These are generally the ones that are most damaging to blood vessels.
VLDL numbers are directly tied to triglyceride count. Since triglycerides come packaged inside VLDL, you can calculate VLDL by dividing your triglyceride count by 5.
At reasonable concentrations in the blood, LDLs can pass in and out of the inner part of the blood vessel walls. If there are excessive amounts, the LDLs can tend to become stuck, however. When LDL particles hang out in the blood too long, their fragile polyunsaturated fatty membranes are exposed to oxidation and the LDL particles oxidize.
Once oxidized, LDL particles are taken up by the inner layer of the blood vessels to form atherosclerotic plaque. Sort of like a band-aid in the blood vessel. When LDLs from the blood start to pile up in the blood vessels, the cells in the blood vessel wall interpret the changes as a danger sign, and signal for healing reinforcements from the body.
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How Is The Total Cholesterol Or Blood Cholesterol Test Done
A blood test is a routine test. A phlebotomist is a person whose job 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.
Symptoms And Causes Of Bad Cholesterol
Many things can increase bad cholesterol levels, like eating foods high in saturated and trans fats, being overweight or obese, low to no exercise, excessive smoking or drinking, age, or a family history of high cholesterol.
The main symptoms of bad cholesterol include:
- Chest pain
- The coldness of the arms and legs
- A bad taste in your mouth
In some cases, the symptoms may not even be noticeable at first and can lead to serious health complications.
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Where Can I Find More Information About The Treatment Of High Cholesterol
Ask your doctor where you can find information on cholesterol. Your library may have books on high cholesterol and heart disease. The Web sites of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the American Heart Association have good information. Their addresses are and .
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Ldl Vs Hdl Good Vs Bad
If cholesterol is essential for overall health, why would one type be bad?
In simple terms, if there is too much LDL cholesterol running through your blood vessels, it can, over time, start to build up on the sides of those blood vessels. This buildup is typically referred to as plaque.
Plaque buildup in your blood vessels can eventually cause those vessels to become narrower. The more narrow your blood vessels are, the harder it is for blood to reach your heart and other organs.
When blood flow becomes very blocked, it can cause chest pain and even a heart attack.
HDL cholesterol, on the other hand, returns cholesterol to the liver so it can be flushed from the body.
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Inhibitors Of Human El
Recently, GlaxoSmithKline reported a series of EL irreversible inhibitors featuring a sulfonylfuran urea core identified in a high-throughput screening campaign . A lead optimization effort was undertaken to improve the potency and selectivity, leading to inhibitors with improved LPL selectivity . O’Connell et al. more recently reported the synthesis of alkyl, aryl, and acyl-substituted phenylboronic acids that inhibit EL, many with near equal potency against both EL and LPL, but several compounds exhibited moderate to good selectivity for EL . Clearly, the development of highly EL-selective inhibitors is desired. The discovery of such a molecule would provide a novel means by which to specifically raise HDL-C.
How To Lower Cholesterol
If you have high cholesterol, your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes, medications or both.
Here are some ways to manage your cholesterol.
Eat heart-healthy food
What you eat can make a big difference to your cholesterol levels.
Cut back on foods high in saturated fats like:
- oily fish.
Drink less alcohol
Drinking too much alcohol can increase your LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. So drinking less is a good way to lower your cholesterol.
The Ministry of Health recommends no more than 10 standard drinks per week for women and no more than 15 for men. One standard drink is equal to:
- a standard can of 4% beer
- a small glass of wine
- a small single shot of spirits
If you have high cholesterol or you’ve been diagnosed with a heart condition, you may need to drink less than this.
Smoking makes your LDL cholesterol stickier and reduces the amount of HDL cholesterol in your blood. It also damages the artery walls. This increases the build-up of plaque in your arteries and can cause risk of heart attack and stroke.
Quitting smoking is a great way to lower your cholesterol levels and reduce your risk of heart disease.
Sitting less and being more active are great ways to reduce high cholesterol.
This doesnt mean you have to join a gym or take up running it just means you need to move your body more throughout the day. Ideally you should do 30 minutes of activity a day.
You could try:
Read more about the benefits of exercise.
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What Is Cholesterol
Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that’s found in all the cells in your body. Your liver makes cholesterol, and it is also in some foods, such as meat and dairy products. Your body needs some cholesterol to work properly. But having too much cholesterol in your blood raises your risk of coronary artery disease.
What Is High Ldl
Cholesterol itself is a necessary substance in the body. Its manufactured in your liver and it can be present in certain foods, especially meats, eggs, and dairy. LDL is a lipoproteina substance that conveys cholesterol to cells, aiding in maintaining cell structure, and serving as a precursor for substances vital to human function. Everyone has some amount of this lipoprotein, but problems arise when these are elevated.
When there is an excess of LDL, plaques build up in the arteries, causing atherosclerosis and reducing blood flow. When your hearts arteries are affected, insufficient oxygen levels damage cardiac muscles and cause CAD, angina , and even heart attack. Further, arteries in other parts of the body can also be affected, leading to peripheral artery disease and stroke.
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