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Six Underlying Causes Of High Cholesterol
Anyways, back to the factors here. As I said, the first factor to consider is that the functional approach to dealing with this issue is very different than the conventional approach because in functional medicine, we view high cholesterol not as a disease but as a symptom. What is it a symptom of? Well, there at least six key underlying processes that can lead to hypercholesterolemia:
In a conventional paradigm, its really a lot more about symptom suppression. If you have high cholesterol, you take a drug to lower it, a statin drug in this case. If you have high blood pressure, you take a drug to lower that, and its the same for many other conditions.
Better supplementation. Fewer supplements.
How Is A Lipid Disorder Diagnosed
To check your cholesterol levels, your doctor will order a blood test called a lipid profile, or lipid panel. This test measures your total cholesterol and triglycerides. Before this test, your doctor will likely ask you to avoid eating and drinking liquids other than water for at least 8 to 12 hours.
The lipid profile measures cholesterol in milligrams of cholesterol per deciliter . Your total cholesterol level should be no higher than 200 mg/dL. Learn how to understand your cholesterol results.
A combination of medications and lifestyle changes is a common treatment plan to correct high cholesterol and triglycerides. Your doctor may also suggest certain supplements.
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How Are Fats And Cholesterol Connected In Cats
Fats, including cholesterol, are carried in the blood in complex compounds that also contain protein: so-called lipoproteins.
These include triglycerides, cholesterol and phospholipid linked to apopproteins, which are manufactured in cells of the liver and intestines. Apolipoproteins are synthesized in the liver or in intestinal cells.
There are four major lipoprotein classes in cats, as follows:
Chylomicrons and Very low density lipoproteins carry triglycerides in the blood
Low density lipoproteins and High density lipoproteins carry cholesterol in the blood. In cats, HDL outnumbers LDL by 5:1, while in humans, LDL is the main carrier of cholesterol.
Many humans are aware of these abbreviations from their own blood test results, but its important to remember that the significance of abnormal levels is very different in humans compared to cats.
What Are The Precautions For Taking Cholesterol Medication
Looking for the best cholesterol medication means you need to know what precautions to take. Each drug has side effects like diarrhea, constipation, nausea, muscle soreness/pain/weakness, stomach pain, bloating, gas, fatigue, cramps, abdominal pain, flushing , peptic ulcers, vomiting, gout, high blood sugar, dizziness, heart palpitations, sweating, shortness of breath, chills, indigestion, belching, swelling, itching, rashes, hives, flu, and swelling of nasal passages.
Additionally, statins can negatively react when taken in combination with grapefruit juice. Injectable medications may also cause some bruising or pain on the area that was injected.
These side effects do not show up together or all at once. Most of them are also mild. To properly manage these, you need to consult with your doctor before taking any medication. Even the best cholesterol medication can only efficiently work if taken correctly, in correct dosages and amounts.
Side effects like these are the primary reason why some people including doctors prefer to go more natural on their cholesterol medication choices.
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Symptoms Of High Blood Cholesterol And Triglycerides
High cholesterol typically doesnt cause any symptoms. Symptoms may only appear after the increased cholesterol has caused significant damage.
For instance, symptoms may come in the form of heart disease symptoms, such as chest pain or nausea and fatigue. A heart attack or stroke may result from uncontrolled cholesterol, among other things.
New Guidelines For Ldl Levels And Addressing Cardiovascular Disease Risk
New guidelines for assessing your heart disease give you and your doctor powerful tools for estimating your cardiovascular disease risk and lowering your LDL cholesterol levels. Working with your health care team, you can create a plan with a customized combination of lifestyle changes, medications and continued monitoring.
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Lifestyle Management For High Triglycerides
If your triglyceride levels fall into the borderline high category, says Jacoby, Its extremely likely that making lifestyle improvements alone will control your levels. Most often, people with moderate levels have metabolic problems, including prediabetes and diabetes, which also respond well to healthy lifestyle changes.
The AHA/ACC guidelines recommend the following lifestyle changes to lower levels:
- Reduce your body weight
- Reduce your carbohydrate consumption
- Eat omega-3 fatty acids
Combining a low-carb diet with exercise and fish oil is often enough to get control of your triglycerides, says Jacoby, and can have the additional benefit of addressing metabolic problems and reducing body weight. For the majority of people with moderate to severe elevations, triglyceride levels are very responsive to a heart-healthy lifestyle. Its worth trying to normalize through those changes and then move on to medications if lifestyle isnt sufficient, he says.
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Effect On Clinical Outcomes
As described above in the description of the effect of volanesorsen on lipid/lipoprotein levels in patients with FCS and hypertriglyceridemia there is suggestive evidence that lowering the very high TG levels with volanesorsen treatment will reduce the risk of pancreatitis and improve the quality of life.
The effect of volanesorsen on cardiovascular disease has not been determined. However, epidemiologic studies have demonstrated that increased Apo C-III levels are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular events and coronary artery calcification . Moreover, carriers of rare heterozygous loss-of-function mutations in Apo C-III have reduced TG levels and reduced cardiovascular disease risk . One can speculate that lowering Apo C-III and TG levels with volanesorsen will have beneficial effects on the development of cardiovascular disease.
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Top Homeopathic Remedies For High Cholesterol
Homeopathy has a number of natural remedies that are of great help in lowering the high cholesterol levels in blood. These medicines act in two ways for high cholesterol patients. The natural remedies first help in reducing the high cholesterol levels in blood and secondly, they have the inherent power to dissolve the cholesterol deposits that have clung to the arterial walls and narrowed down their lumen. Symptoms like chest pain, palpitations and shortness of breath can also be effectively controlled by the use of natural medicines. The medicines that work best for the patient are always selected based on the symptoms narrated by each individual.
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Possible New Treatment For High Triglycerides
In the report in The New England Journal of Medicine, an international team of researchers describe a new therapy for high triglycerides. It involves a weekly injection of “antisense oligonucleotides” , pieces of DNA that short-circuit the livers production of triglycerides. The new report shows that ASOs can reduce triglyceride levels by as much as 70%.
Keep in mind that this was a phase 2 trial, which is designed to test whether a drug does what it is supposed to do . Larger, longer-term studies will be needed to see whether ASOs actually reduce the risk of heart disease, and what sorts of side effects they cause.
Many experimental medications that sparkle in early testing never become FDA-approved drugs. We wont know for several years whether ASOs will become available for individuals with high triglycerides.
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Dos And Donts In Managing High Triglycerides:
- DO exercise regularly.
- DO eat more fruits and vegetables and high-fiber foods such as oat bran. Cook with monounsaturated fatsolive, peanut, and canola oils.
- DO stop smoking.
- DO lose weight by changing your diet and doing aerobic exercise, such as walking, jogging, bicycling, or swimming. Exercise at least 30 minutes daily.
- DONT forget to treat other medical conditions such as diabetes and underactive thyroid.
- DONT drink more than two alcoholic drinks per day.
- DONT change your diet or medicines without your doctors approval.
What Qualifies As High Triglycerides
According to MedlinePlus , blood levels less than 150 mg/dL fall under the triglycerides normal range, while anything higherknown as hypertriglyceridemiacan increase risk for heart disease. Elevated triglycerides can also be a very early sign of diabetes, states Kristin Thomas, MD, a board-certified internist and co-founder of Foxhall Medicine in Washington, DC.
Extremely high triglyceridesblood levels over 500 mg/dLmay be due to a genetic disorder and can increase the risk of pancreatitis, along with heart disease, including atherosclerosis , Dr. Thomas, co-author of You Can Prevent A Stroke, explains. It can be seen alone or in association with many other conditions, as well, such as metabolic syndrome, hypothyroidism, fatty liver disease and kidney disease, Dr. Malaney says.
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Increase Your Physical Activity
Physical activity increases levels of HDL cholesterol the good cholesterol that removes LDL cholesterol from the blood. Vigorous aerobic exercise is best.
If you havent been exercising much lately, gradually build up to the recommended amount of physical activity:
- People aged 18-64 years should do 30 to 60 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most days of the week.
- People aged 65 years and over should aim for a total of 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on most days .
Moderate-intensity exercise is a level that increases your heart rate and breathing but allows you to keep talking. Vigorous intensity exercise makes your heart rate higher and makes you breathe more heavily.
Resistance training and muscle-toning exercises can increase HDL cholesterol. Aim to do this twice a week.
Normal Cholesterol High Triglycerides
Even though your latest physical may have shown that your cholesterol levels are normal, you may still be at risk for heart disease if your triglycerides level is high.
A 20-year study conducted by the University of Washington School of Public Health and Community Medicine found that a pattern of elevated levels of triglycerides, the main form of fats circulating in the bloodstream, even when cholesterol levels are normal, can mean a two- to three-fold increase of deaths by cardiovascular disease.
Blood triglycerides come from two main sources: the food you eat-especially sugar, animal products and saturated fats-and from your liver. Although its not exactly clear how, high triglyceride levels can result in hardening of the arteries or thickening of the artery walls , which can raise your risk for stroke, heart attack, and heart disease.
- Normal triglyceride levels are less than 150 milligrams per deciliter
- Borderline high is 150-199 mg/dl high is 200-499 mg/dl
- Very high 500 mg/dl. A triglyceride level of 150 mg/dl or above is considered a risk for metabolic syndrome-a constellation of conditions resulting from too much fat around the waist-which in addition to raising your risk for heart disease, it can also increase your risk for diabetes.
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Diets High In Calories Carbs And Fats
Triglyceride levels increase with a positive energy-intake balance . In other words, when you eat more than your body needs, the surplus is transformed into fat, including triglycerides. Its easier to overeat when your diet is high in calories and contains lots of carbs and saturated fats .
Low-fat, high-carbohydrate diets are among the most common causes of high triglycerides. But wait we said that high-fat diets are bad, so doesnt that mean a low-fat diet should be beneficial? Not quite .
Saturated, unhealthy fats are bad. But your body needs healthy fats such as those found in olive oil and fish oil to keep your triglyceride levels normal and to maintain your overall health. If you dont get enough dietary fats, your body will revert to transforming the sugars you consume into fats .
This goes against the popular but unfounded belief that your body wont store fat as long as you dont eat fats. In truth, high-carbohydrate diets can be much worse than high-fat diets for your triglyceride levels. Many scientists advocate that high-carb, low-fat diets likely also contributed to the obesity epidemic in America over the past few decades .
Moderate Hypertriglyceridemia Prevention Of Cardiovascular Disease
In the era of statin therapy, it is uncertain whether lowering TG levels in patients on statin therapy will further reduce cardiovascular events. As discussed in detail in the sections on individual drugs, the studies carried out so far have not shown that adding niacin or fibrates to statin therapy is beneficial with regards to cardiovascular disease. As also discussed, the available studies have major limitations because many of the patients in these outcome studies did not have substantial elevations in TGs and therefore the issue is an open question that requires additional studies. Notably, the REDUCE-IT trial, which tested the effect of high dose EPA in patients with elevated TG levels and the JELIS trial which tested the effect of EPA 1.8 grams per day in patients with high cholesterol levels demonstrated a reduction in cardiovascular events. However, in both of these trials the decrease in cardiovascular events was considerably greater than one would expect based on the reduction in TG levels suggesting that the decrease in cardiovascular events was not solely due to lowering TG levels and that other effects of EPA likely played a role.
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Microscopic Testing Of Feces
Microscopic testing for fats is performed to identify the amount of fat present in feces. Using a microscopic exam, the laboratory professional is able to determine the number and size of fat droplets present in feces, as well as the type of fats present. The types of fats in feces include triglycerides, fatty acids, and fatty acid salts. The presence of fat in the stool is called steatorrhea, a possible sign or symptom of serious malabsorption syndromes and diseases such as celiac sprue and cystic fibrosis. Triglycerides 1-5 Fatty acids 5-15
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Other Important Cardiovascular Risk Markers
Third factor is that lipid markers, even the good ones, are only one part of the puzzle when it comes to quantifying overall risk. We need to look at things like family history, inflammatory markers like C-reactive protein, fibrinogen, Lp-PLA2, oxidized LDL, metabolic markers, so things like fasting insulin, fasting glucose, fasting leptin, post-meal blood sugar, hemoglobin A1c, and a variety of other markers that tell us whats happening with metabolic function. Hypertension and smoking are two of the strongest risk factors for heart disease, hands down, so those of course should always be looked at. Diet, lifestyle, stress, nutritional statuseither not enough of nutrients like vitamin D or too much of a nutrient like iron can increase the risk of heart disease. Status of the gut microbiota, there is an increasing amount of research that shows that this plays a significant role in heart disease pathogenesis.
There are other types of testing that look for objective evidence of plaque accumulation, like a calcium score and CIMT, and these are tests that a doctor can do when/if they are warranted, and they provide a different angle. The lipid markers are just looking at blood markers that are typically associated with heart disease, but a calcium score and carotid intima-media thickness test can tell you whats actually happening in terms of plaque accumulation.
Diagnosis Of High Triglycerides
A blood test can reveal whether or not you have high triglycerides. You may need to have two blood tests for accurate results. Dont eat anything for at least 12 hours before each blood test because food particularly fatty food can temporarily boost triglyceride levels in the blood and skew your test results.Triglycerides are measured in mmol/L. The range includes:
- Very high over 6 mmol/L
- High between2 and 6 mmol/L
- Borderline high between 1.7 and 2 mmol/L
- Normal below 1.7 mmol/L
The doctor may also test your cholesterol levels. In many cases, high triglycerides and high cholesterol go hand in hand. This condition is sometimes known as combined hyperlipidemia.