Does Eating Less Fat Help Your Cholesterol
Your fat intake can impact your cholesterol in several ways, but eating large amounts of saturated fats and trans fats is a quick way to raise your cholesterol levels. Although fats can affect your cholesterol levels, you should not immediately turn to fat-free or reduced-fat foods as a magic solution to healthy cholesterol. In some cases, fat-free foods can be just as bad, if not worse, for your health.
When replacing fat in foods, many manufacturers compensate by adding sugar, starches, or refined grains, increasing the number of carbohydrates. Too many carbohydrates, especially processed ones, can raise blood sugar and have additional health side effects. Therefore, you should replace unhealthy fats with healthier alternatives instead of turning to fat-free foods.
If your diet is high in saturated fats and trans fats, you should work to replace them with healthier, unsaturated fats. Make sure to also include whole foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and proteins. All forms of fat are high in calories, so even though healthy fats are beneficial, they can still lead to weight gain.
Psck9 Inhibitors Can Lower Your Ldl Cholesterol: A Lot
PSCK9 inhibitors may be a good choice for people with an inherited form of high cholesterol. These new drugs can lower dangerous LDL levels by half or more. The drugs costs are high, but the health care industry is working with manufacturers and pharmacists to bring the price down and make PSCK9 inhibitors available to more people.
Also Check: Are Potatoes High In Cholesterol
Cholesterol: The Good The Bad And The Unhealthy
Cholesterol is a type of fat in our bodies. It helps us do a lot of things: build cells, digest food, and make hormones.
While cholesterol is needed for our body to function properly, too much of it can be bad. High cholesterol can cause serious problems in our blood, like clots, plus heart and brain issues.
MedlinePlus has released new health topic pages on cholesterol, such as “How to Lower Cholesterol with Diet,” to help you better understand and control your cholesterol.
This Q and A features tips from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and MedlinePlus.
Recommended Reading: How Much Cholesterol In Egg Yolk
Muscle Pain And Weakness
The most common side effect is muscle pain and weakness, a condition called rhabdomyolysis, most likely due to the depletion of Co-Q10, a nutrient that supports muscle function. Dr. Beatrice Golomb of San Diego, California is currently conducting a series of studies on statin side effects. The industry insists that only 2-3 percent of patients get muscle aches and cramps but in one study, Golomb found that 98 percent of patients taking Lipitor and one-third of the patients taking Mevachor suffered from muscle problems.4 A message board devoted to Lipitor at forum.ditonline.com contained more than 800 posts, many detailing severe side effects. The Lipitor board at www.rxlist.com contains more than 2,600 posts .
The test for muscle wasting or rhabdomyolysis is elevated levels of a chemical called creatine kinase . But many people experience pain and fatigue even though they have normal CK levels.5
John Altrocchi took Mevacor for three years without side effects then he developed calf pain so severe he could hardly walk. He also experienced episodes of temporary memory loss.
Active people are much more likely to develop problems from statin use than those who are sedentary. In a study carried out in Austria, only six out of 22 athletes with familial hypercholesterolemia were able to endure statin treatment.9 The others discontinued treatment because of muscle pain.
Many Pieces To The Puzzle
Medical understanding of HDLs impact on health outcomes is still a work in progress.
When I was in medical school, I was basically taught that HDL cleared the bad cholesterol, which is sort of a butchered attempt at an oversimplification, said Freeman. But by and large, that is the general understanding. That HDL is a positive thing.
But I think were also finding that total cholesterol seems to have some effect as well, and the latest calculators that we use look at the total cholesterol as part of their equation. The bottom line is that there are a lot of moving parts here. is certainly an interesting finding, but theres a number of caveats. Cholesterol, to me, is not the best surrogate for something that were not exactly sure how to measure.
When it comes to improving ones own cardiovascular health, Freeman suggests focusing on the basics.
One of the best ways to get HDL to improve is to eat better and exercise more, and actually to get rid of stress, believe it or not, he said. Those are the things that are always discounted. Everyone wants to look to this drug or that pill, but a lot of times the hard work that we put into our own health really pays off the best.
Myth: I Would Be Able To Feel It If I Had High Cholesterol
Fact: High cholesterol usually has no signs or symptoms. You may not know you have unhealthy cholesterol levels until it is too latewhen you have a heart attack or stroke. Thats why its so important to get your cholesterol levels checked at least every 5 years.1,2 Learn more about getting your cholesterol checked.
Occasionally, some people develop yellowish growths on their skin called xanthomas, which are cholesterol-rich deposits. People with xanthomas may have high cholesterol levels.
Research For Your Health
The NHLBI is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Institutes of Health the Nations biomedical research agency that makes important scientific discoveries to improve health and save lives. We are committed to advancing science and translating discoveries into clinical practice to promote the prevention and treatment of heart, lung, blood, and sleep disorders, including high blood cholesterol. Learn about current and future NHLBI efforts to improve health through research and scientific discovery.
Recommended Reading: What Raises Hdl Cholesterol Levels
So Are Statins Worth It
It depends on who you are, what your cardiovascular risk is, and the possible benefits.
At a population level, this is something known as the number needed to treat . Or, to put it another way, how many people have to take statins to prevent one heart attack?
For people with a low risk for cardiovascular disease, 217 people would have to take a statin to prevent one non-fatal heart attack. So 217 is the NNT. But when you look at people with a high risk for cardiovascular disease, only 39 people have to take a statin to prevent one non-fatal heart attack. So the NNT for high-risk people is much lower than for low-risk people.
The higher your risk of cardiovascular disease, the more the benefits of statins outweigh the risks of side effects.
The professional guidelines and the online risk estimator go a long way toward identifying people who should take a statin. But each person is unique. The information here should be a starting point for discussion rather than a final answer. Talk with your healthcare provider to make a decision on whether you should take a statin.
You May Like: How Much Cholesterol In Pork Chops
What Is High Cholesterol
High cholesterol is when theres too much bad cholesterol and/or not enough good cholesterol in your blood.
This picture shows what it looks like if you have low cholesterol, normal cholesterol and bad cholesterol levels.
Sometimes health professionals talk about the terms dyslipidaemia and hyperlipidaemia. Both are clinical terms that mean your levels of cholesterol are outside the normal range.
Symptoms of high cholesterol
You wont know if you have high cholesterol because it doesnt usually have symptoms. The only way to know is to have a blood test.
Why does high cholesterol matter?
When your cholesterol is too high it can build up as plaque in your arteries. If the plaque gets too big, or breaks off, it can cause a heart attack and stroke. This risk also increases when your triglycerides are too high.
Your doctor will use the results of your blood test and your other heart attack risk factors to decide whether you need medication to lower your cholesterol or triglyceride levels.
Also Check: Which Lipoprotein Contains The Most 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.
Hdl Cholesterol Or Good Cholesterol
HDL cholesterol is sometimes called good cholesterol. It helps return LDL cholesterol to your liver to be removed from your body. This helps prevent cholesterol plaque from building up in your arteries.
When you have healthy levels of HDL cholesterol, it can help lower your risk of blood clots, heart disease, and stroke.
Don’t Miss: Is Cow Foot High In Cholesterol
Different Studies Different Outcomes
The findings from the Copenhagen study would appear to go against prior research.
Theres been knowledge in the past that certain populations that have higher HDL much higher HDL tend to live longer, Dr. Andrew Freeman, director of cardiovascular prevention and wellness at National Jewish Health and co-chair of the Nutrition and Lifestyle Work Group at the American College of Cardiology in Washington, D.C., told Healthline.
There was a study on a Sicilian group where there were people that were close to 100 years old, and their HDL was through the roof. So this kind of challenges that.
While the Sicilian study, and others with similar findings, suggest that high levels of HDL are linked to better health outcomes, its difficult to conclusively link cholesterol levels to health outcomes.
Freeman says that some of these findings may be linked to more than just cholesterol levels, pointing out that different studies tend to research different populations.
Cholesterol in itself doesnt appear to tell the whole story on cardiovascular risk, but its one of the best markers we currently have, said Freeman. So theres definitely more to the cholesterol story that we dont understand, so I think this raises the question of whether HDL is the be all and end all.
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.
Recommended Reading: What Do You Do For High Cholesterol
What Tests Are Used To Measure Cholesterol
Low density lipoprotein cholesterol, also known as bad cholesterol, is the primary cholesterol test used to screen for heart disease. Other lab tests usually include:
- High density lipoprotein cholesterol, also known as good cholesterol
- Total cholesterol
Since these tests results are affected by food, it is recommended that you do not eat 9 to 12 hours before the lab tests are done.
Cholesterol lab values are different for adults and children. The lab ranges shown below are for adults and should not be used for children. People with good LDL cholesterol, high HDL cholesterol, and normal triglycerides are less likely to have heart disease.
*Values below 40 mg/dL are considered low for HDL.
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.
Recommended Reading: How To Fix Cholesterol Fast
Types Of Cholesterol And How They Work In Your Body
Cholesterol is carried through the circulatory system on two lipoproteins: high-density lipoproteins , often referred to as good cholesterol, and low-density lipoproteins , also called bad cholesterol.
LDL is termed bad cholesterol because when there is too much of it circulating in the blood , it can eventually build up in the form of plaque on the walls of your arteries. This is called atherosclerosis. Over time, this narrows the arteries and raises the risk for heart attack, stroke, and peripheral artery disease, notes the AHA.
A high level of triglycerides the most common type of fat in your body can also lead to fatty buildups in your arteries and increase your risk of heart attack and stroke, if combined with high LDL or low HDL cholesterol levels, per the AHA.
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
Also Check: Is Groundnut Oil Cholesterol Free
Who Should Be Tested
Your GP may recommend that you have your blood cholesterol levels tested if you:
- have been diagnosed with coronary heart disease, stroke or mini-stroke , or peripheral arterial disease
- are over the age of 40 people over 40 should have their estimate of CVD risk reviewed regularly
- have a family history of early cardiovascular disease for example, if your father or brother developed heart disease or had a heart attack or stroke before the age of 55, or if your mother or sister had these conditions before the age of 65
- have a close family member who has a cholesterol-related condition, such as familial hypercholesterolaemia
- are overweight or obese
- have high blood pressure or diabetes
- have another medical condition, such as kidney disease, an underactive thyroid, or an inflamed pancreas these conditions can cause increased levels of cholesterol or triglycerides
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.
Don’t Miss: What Is Reverse Cholesterol Transport
So How Do You Lower Your Cholesterol
This list of side effects may feel ominous, but the good news is that there are ways of controlling your cholesterol levels and decreasing your risk of these potential health complications.
According to Goodson, these are a few key things you can do to lower your cholesterol:
- First, start exercising a few days a week, but be sure to talk to your doctor before you start.
- Increase your intake of soluble fiber like oats and foods made with oat flour, nuts, and seeds, and fruits where you can eat the skin like apples, pears and berries.
- Finally, try losing weight if you need, because weight loss can help lower cholesterol and improve overall health.
For more tips, read these next: