Diet And Lifestyle Changes
A doctor will look at your overall risk of cardiovascular disease and make recommendations to reduce high blood cholesterol as well as managing other risk factors such as high blood pressure, smoking and being overweight.
Reducing high blood cholesterol levels typically involves decreasing the total cholesterol level by decreasing LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides, while maintaining or increasing HDL-cholesterol levels.
- LDL-cholesterol levels are best decreased by eating less saturated fat
- Triglyceride levels are best reduced by eating less sugar-containing foods, limiting alcohol intake, and reducing the intake of total fat
- HDL-cholesterol levels are best increased by exercise, substituting saturated fats with polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fat , and maintaining a healthy weight.
Heart-healthy dietary changes are summarised in our Heart disease diet page.
Other lifestyle changes should include:
- Exercising regularly
- Maintaining a healthy body weight
- Limiting alcohol intake
Heart-healthy exercise suggestions are summarised in our Heart disease exercise page.
What Affects The Test
Many conditions can affect cholesterol and triglyceride levels, including:
- Medicines, such as diuretics, corticosteroids, male sex hormones , tranquillizers, estrogen, birth control pills, antibiotics, and niacin .
- Physical stress, such as infection, heart attack, surgery.
- Other conditions, such as hypothyroidism, diabetes, or kidney or liver disease.
- Alcohol use disorder.
- Liver disease , malnutrition, or hyperthyroidism.
- Pregnancy. Values are the highest during the third trimester and usually return to the pre-pregnancy levels after delivery of the baby.
Your doctor will talk with you about any abnormal results that may be related to your other health problems.
There are few things that humble me more than my complete and utter buffoonery when it comes to HDL lipidology Peter Attia
Its true of all of us. Thomas Dayspring
Thomas Dayspring is a nationally recognized lipidologist. That means hes an expert on cholesterol, fat, and oil metabolism. And Peter Attia is no slouch in this area. If youd like to spend a few hours hearing cutting-edge concepts in this area, try listening to episodes 20-24 of Attias podcast THE DRIVE.
But be warned that video is very technical. Less than 600 people have started even one of these podcasts. We can only guess how many finished the full 5 hours. I did.
Why would I focus this article on such simple concepts?
Some Less Common Conditions
We have two kidneys, and theyre responsible for cleaning our blood by filtering out waste products which are then removed from the body as urine.
Chronic Kidney Disease . This is the name for a gradual decline in kidney function. People with CKD often have abnormal blood fats raised LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, and lower HDL cholesterol. Heart and blood vessel diseases are common in people with CKD so statins and other cholesterol-lowering treatments are recommended if you have CKD.
Nephrotic syndrome. This happens when our kidneys become leaky. It results in protein leaking into the urine. People with nephrotic syndrome often have raised levels of cholesterol and triglycerides too.
The liver is a very important organ. It is where cholesterol and triglycerides are processed, made or broken down. Bile, a breakdown product of cholesterol, is made in the liver, stored in the gall bladder and released into the gut when we eat a meal. Its role is to help break down fat from food into small drops which can then be easily digested.
Sometimes the production of bile or its release into the gut can become blocked, for example, if gall stones develop from crystallised cholesterol. Symptoms include pain, especially after a fatty meal. The medical name for this is cholestasis, where bile is unable to flow from the liver, and it can cause blood cholesterol levels in the blood to rise.
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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 Not To Eat The Foods To Avoid
How to behave on the opposite side, that is: what not to eat in case of high triglycerides? First, we need to reduce the intake of as much as possible simple sugars. It is also necessary to strongly limit or better still eliminate those foods which promote the increase of LDL cholesterol .
In case of particularly high levels of triglycerides it is recommended to further reduce, in any case by relying on your doctor, thecarbohydrate intake. You may need to limit your intake to whole grains or rice only, avoiding bread and pasta altogether.
Heres a summary of the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans:
Avoid industrial trans fats.
Replace saturated fats with polyunsaturated fats, and aim to get less than 10% of your calories from saturated fats.
Reduce calories from solid animal fats with plant oils when possible.
Prioritize seafood , lean meats, poultry, eggs, legumes , nuts, seeds, and soy products over red and processed meats as sources of protein.
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How Long Does It Take To Lower Triglycerides
Depending on whats causing your high triglyceride levels, you may be able to lower them in just a few days. A night out drinking or eating foods high in sugar can cause a spike in your triglyceride levels. Limiting alcohol and sugar intake can bring your levels back to normal within a few days.
If you have consistently high triglycerides, it may take a few months for them to return to a healthy range. How fast they lower depends on the lifestyle changes, diet, and medications youre taking.
Why Should I Lower My Cholesterol
Evidence strongly indicates that high cholesterol can increase the risk of:
- narrowing of the arteries
- transient ischaemic attack often known as a mini stroke
- peripheral arterial disease
This is because cholesterol can build up in the artery wall, restricting the blood flow to your heart, brain and the rest of your body. It also increases the risk of a blood clot developing somewhere in your body.
Your risk of developing coronary heart disease also rises as your bloods cholesterol level increases. This can cause pain in your chest or arm during stress or physical activity .
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How To Raise Your Good Hdl Cholesterol Levels
Health Check Certified By: Patty Weasler, RN
There are a lot of things to keep track of when it comes to your health, one of which is your cholesterol levels. This information tells us how well the blood is circulating in our bodies and poor results can be an indicator that something with your health is not quite right.
While nearly 40-percent of American adults have high cholesterol, did you know that cholesterol can also be too low? Thats because there are different types of cholesterol that doctors are looking at. Heres an explainer on cholesterol and how you can raise your good HDL levels.
What To Eat: Foods That Lower Cholesterol
There is great evidence to support functional foods that help lower cholesterol, Featherstun says. Add these choices to your diet:
Plant stanols and sterols These are naturally occurring compounds found in plant cell walls, Featherstun says. They interfere with cholesterol absorption in the small intestine and can help lower LDL cholesterol. A study published in October 2012 in Lipids in Health and Disease found that eating 9 to 10 grams of stanols per day can help lower LDL cholesterol by more than 17 and as much as 22 percent. You can get plant stanols and sterols in margarine-like spreads such as Benecol and Smart Balance, available in the dairy section of most grocery stores.
Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats These fats can help decrease LDL cholesterol, Featherstun says. To get them, eat fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, tuna, trout, herring, or king mackerel, at least twice a week. Other good sources of unsaturated fats include chia seeds, avocados, almonds, walnuts, and olive oil.
Soy foods Soy proteins contain isoflavones and phytoestrogens, which block both cholesterol absorption and new cholesterol production, Featherstun says. Good sources of soy protein include tofu, soy milk, and edamame. Try to replace one daily animal protein item with a soy protein alternative, Featherstun suggests.
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How Do I Know If I Have High Cholesterol
Many Australians donât know they have high cholesterol, because there are no symptoms. High cholesterol can only be detected through a blood test.
Some people have a condition called familial hypercholesterolaemia where a genetic problem leads to high cholesterol. About one in 500 Australians has this condition and many dont know they have it. If you have a family history of high cholesterol or of heart disease at a young age, ask your doctor about your risk.
Do Potassium Help Lower Blood Pressure
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How Do Foods Affect Triglyceride Levels
Eating foods high in simple sugars significantly contributes to high triglyceride levels. Follow these guidelines to limit simple sugars in your diet:
- Substitute beverages like colas, fruit drinks, iced tea, lemonade, Hi-C and Kool-Aid with artificially sweetened beverages labeled sugar-free or diet.
- Limit hard candies, chocolates, candy bars, and gummy bears.
- Avoid adding table sugar and brown sugar to cereal, drinks or foods. Instead, use an artificial or herbal sweetener or nothing at all!
- Choose sugar-free gum or mints instead of the regular versions.
- Try light or low-sugar syrups on pancakes and waffles.
- Spread breads and crackers with no-sugar-added jelly or preserves.
- Snack on whole fruit instead of fruit roll-ups and other fruit-flavored treats.
- When selecting cereals, choose those with no more than 8 grams of sugar per serving.
- Try sugar-free gelatin, popsicles, yogurts, and puddings instead of the regular versions.
- Be aware that desserts labeled fat-free usually contain more sugar than the full-fat varieties and the same number of calories.
- Cut back on or avoid eating sweets and dessert foods, including cookies, cakes, pastries, pies, ice cream, frozen yogurt, sherbet, gelato, and flavored ices. All of these foods contain high levels of sugar.
- Read the ingredients list on food labels, and limit foods that list any of the following words in the first few ingredients:
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How Often Should I Get A Cholesterol Test
When and how often you should get a cholesterol test depends on your age, risk factors, and family history. The general recommendations are:
For people who are age 19 or younger::
- The first test should be between ages 9 to 11
- Children should have the test again every 5 years
- Some children may have this test starting at age 2 if there is a family history of high blood cholesterol, heart attack, or stroke
For people who are age 20 or older::
- Younger adults should have the test every 5 years
- Men ages 45 to 65 and women ages 55 to 65 should have it every 1 to 2 years
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Why Is Tg/hdl Important
TG/HDL is important because it is an important predictor of risk for heart disease. It is also a marker of insulin resistance, and insulin resistance is the major cause of prediabetes, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes.
The Womens Ischemia Syndrome Evaluation study studied 544 women referred for CV disease evaluation . The TG/HDL ranged from 0.3 to 18.4. It was a powerful predictor of all mortality and cardiovascular events.
This chart shows the WISE study range of TG/HDL. Individuals with lower TG/HDL had lower CV disease risk.
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Treatments For High Triglyceride Levels
If you have high triglycerides, your doctors treatment should include healthy eating and exercise. Avoiding processed and sugary foods is paramount these dietary changes alone can have a tremendous impact on your triglyceride levels. Your doctor may also recommend taking omega 3 fatty acid supplements.
Begin today. Talk to your doctor or other health care provider about exactly what you need to do to start living a healthy lifestyle to lower triglycerides, help prevent a heart attack or stroke, avoid or manage diabetes, and reduce your chances of developing liver disease and pancreatitis.
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A Promising New Treatment For High Triglycerides
- By Gregory Curfman, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Former Editor-in-Chief, Harvard Health Publishing
When you think about fat circulating in the bloodstream, you might immediately think of cholesterol. But theres another type of fat you shouldnt ignore: triglycerides. As with cholesterol, high triglycerides can also increase the risk of having a heart attack. Existing drugs for lowering triglycerides arent that good at reducing heart attack risk. Thats why a report on a new way to lower triglycerides, New England Journal of Medicine, is generating some excitement among cardiologists.
What You Can Do
Many of the steps you should take to lower triglycerides are the same ones you should take to protect your heart and health overall.
If you’re overweight, shed a few pounds. Get regular aerobic exercise . Limit the saturated fats in meat and dairy products. Watch your alcohol intake, even moderate drinking ramps up triglyceride levels. And diet? High-carb/low-fat eating will increase your triglycerides and lower your HDL.
If you’re taking a statin to lower your LDL, one side benefit may be reduced triglyceride levels. Depending on the dose, statins can lower triglycerides by 20%40%.
The omega-3 fats in fish and capsules are another triglyceride-lowering option. For a very high triglyceride level, your doctor can prescribe a high-dose omega-3 medication.
Image: udra/Getty Images
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How Often Should My Triglycerides Be Tested
If youâre a healthy adult, you should get a lipid profile every 4-6 years. Children should have it done at least once between the ages of 9 and 11, and one more time between 17 and 21. If youâre making changes to your diet or taking medication for high cholesterol or triglycerides, experts advise you to get a lipid profile afterward.
High Blood Cholesterol Levels
Cholesterol is a type of fat that circulates in your blood. Too much of it increases your risk of heart disease and stroke.
The condition doesn’t have any obvious symptoms so blood tests are required to confirm if a person has high blood cholesterol.
Changes to diet, regular exercise and other lifestyle changes can reduce cholesterol levels In some cases, people with persistent high blood cholesterol may be treated with cholesterol-lowering medication.
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Medications May Be Needed For High Triglyceride Levels
Sometimes, healthy eating and regular exercise cant lower high triglyceride levels. This may be the case, for example, if you have familial hypertriglyceridemia or if you already have heart disease. Your doctor may prescribe medication such as fibrates or nicotinic acids. Drugs to help lower high blood cholesterol may also be prescribed, if necessary.Suggestions for managing high triglyceride levels with medication include:
- Always take prescription medications exactly as instructed.
- See your doctor if you are having side effects from the medication. Known medication side effects may include indigestion, diarrhoea, fever or muscle problems.
- Dont assume that medications will somehow overcome the hazards of an unhealthy lifestyle. A healthy diet, regular exercise and maintaining an appropriate weight for your height are the most important management strategies for high triglycerides.
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How To Keep Heart
Healthy lifestyle changes are clearly helpful in managing heart disease risk, but the doctors in our Facebook Live event all noted that its a lifelong process. A lot of this seems a bit daunting, notes Ader, but once you get into it, you realize youre exercising and eating right for a reason. It becomes a part of your life, and you feel better for doing it.
Canto emphasizes that with the right treatment and management, people with heart disease can live happy, healthy, and fulfilling lives. You can have a heart attack in your 30s and have multiple heart attacks in the course of your lifetime, have bypass surgery, have multiple stents, have your heart shocked, have a defibrillator, and then maybe later on a heart transplant, and lead a normal life with heart disease, says Canto.
And, adds Nandi, you have the power to be your own health hero. The most important point is that your health is in your hands, says Nandi. Youre not helpless.
*Canto is a consultant on the speakers bureaus for Amarin and other pharmaceutical companies.
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