If Lifestyle Changes Arent Enough
Take medications, if you need to, to lower your cholesterol into healthy ranges. Drugs like statins can be very effective, says Dr. Danine Fruge, MD, ABFP – Medical Director at the Pritikin Longevity Center, but do continue in your efforts to eat well and exercise because a healthy lifestyle can give you far, far more than drugs alone.
With a healthy living program like Pritikin, youre not only reducing cholesterol quickly, youre also creating changes throughout your body that can profoundly improve your overall well-being. Youre reducing blood sugar levels and blood pressure. Other heart disease risk factors like triglyceride fats are also dropping dramatically. Youre also reducing inflammatory factors that sicken arteries. Youre shedding excess weight. And, quite simply, youre feeling better, much better. Many of our guests at Pritikin tell us, I had no idea I could feel this good again.
Can any pill or combination of pills do all of the above? I highly doubt it. But a healthy lifestyle like Pritikin can.
Common Causes Of High Cholesterol And What To Do About Them
High cholesterol, a well-known health condition among Americans, is on the decline but remains a threat. The percentage of U.S. adults suffering from high cholesterol dropped by an impressive 6% between 2000 and 2016, from 18.3% down to just 12%. This is a step in a positive direction, but higher-than-recommended cholesterol is still a serious condition and prevention depends on a thorough understanding of its causes. High cholesterol is a key risk factor for heart disease and remains the leading cause of death in the United States.
High cholesterol is largely governed by lifestyle factors like diet, exercise, and smoking and that means its both treatable and preventable. The following list will explore the five most common causes of high cholesterol and the best ways to achieve healthy levels.
Health Conditions That Lead To High Cholesterol
A number of health conditions can lead to high cholesterol levels, and high cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease, including heart attack. Knowing your risk is the first step to prevention.
Health conditions known to increase cholesterol levels include:
These health conditions raise cholesterol levels for different reasons. First, the levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood essentially reflect the body’s metabolism of the fat that we eat in a day, says Nicholls.
“Diabetes and thyroid disorders can affect the way we metabolize cholesterol and triglycerides,” which then has a direct effect on triglyceride and cholesterol levels in the blood, he says. So when these conditions slow down metabolism, the body isn’t able to process everything it needs to, including fats and cholesterol.
In conditions like alcoholism and liver disease, the liver;is not functioning at full capacity, so it can’t metabolize all of the saturated fat from the diet and the cholesterol that the body produces. Because of this, cholesterol builds up in the blood, Nicholls explains.
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When Should My Cholesterol Levels 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
- have a family history of early;cardiovascular disease
- have a close family member who has a cholesterol-related condition
- are overweight
Common And Unknown Reasons That Cause High Cholesterol Levels
There are various causes that can raise your blood cholesterol levels. The main cause that is difficult to prevent and which is rare includes the genetic cause, which gives rise to familial hypercholesterolemia. Other major ones are the environmental causes that include poor dietary choices, a physically inactive lifestyle, and obesity.
The most common cause of high cholesterol is eating an unhealthy diet. Unhealthy dietary choices include choosing foods that consist of saturated fats found in animal products and trans fats present in foods that are commercially packed such as baked cookies, doughnuts, and crackers, among others.
Some foods contain an extremely high amount of cholesterol and they can cause blood levels to rise very high. Organ meat is one, but the brain is the highest provider.
For example, a single 140 g serving of pork brains;in milk gravy that is readily available can contain 3500 milligrams of cholesterol. The American Heart Association recommends healthy adults get no more than 300;mg of cholesterol per day.
Looking at the recommended amount and the enormous content in such foods, eating too much of such foods can cause a sudden rise in your cholesterol levels.
But high cholesterol is not just about an unhealthy diet. There are other nondietary causes that can raise your serum cholesterol levels. Some are major while some tend to be almost hidden from the general population and unknown.
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Focus On Fruits Vegetables Whole Grains And Beans
Our typical American diet is now abbreviated as SAD by scientists nationwide because its full of foods that do sad things to both hearts and waistlines. Hyperprocessed foods like potato chips and French fries. Sugar-saturated drinks. And fatty, artery-clogging meats and full-fat dairy foods like cheese.
We dont have to become complete vegetarians to get our cholesterol levels into healthy ranges, studies on the Pritikin Program have found, but clearly, the more vegetables, fruits, potatoes, and other naturally-fiber-rich plant foods we eat, the healthier well be.
Plant foods high in soluble fiber are especially beneficial in lowering total and LDL bad cholesterol levels. Good sources include beans , yams, oats , barley, and berries.
For simple tips on bringing more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans into your life, here is a;5-day sample healthy meal plan;from the doctors and dietitians at Pritikin Longevity Center.
Healthy Food Can Still Be High In Cholesterol
Some foods such as coconut oil may seem healthy, but they actually cause high cholesterol.
Limiting cholesterol-rich foods and eating more fiber-rich foods is a great way to reduce your cholesterol naturally.;
You can also increase your consumption of certain foods to help improve your HDL cholesterol levels. Foods such as fish and avocados are good options for boosting healthy cholesterol.
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Is Sprite Or 7 Up Bad To Drink With High Blood Pressure And High Cholesterol
QUESTION: How far true is sprite or 7 up bad to drink with high blood pressure and high cholesterol? I have heard many things about this recently. ANSWER: Hi, This is a very important question because about half the people in the word do consume these two pop up drinks.
Cholesterol Myths And Facts
Cholesterol can be confusing! Learn answers to common questions about blood cholesterol.
What do your cholesterol numbers mean? Can the foods you eat change your cholesterol levels?
Learn the difference between cholesterol myth and fact. Then commit to getting your cholesterol checked this year so you know your numbers and your risk for heart disease and stroke.
Commit to getting your cholesterol checked this year so you know your numbers and your risk for heart disease and stroke.
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Hdl Cholesterol Or Good Cholesterol
High-density lipoprotein 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. Learn more about HDL cholesterol.
Make The Changes Worth Making
If you have high blood cholesterol, making lifestyle changes is a great first step to lower your risk of heart disease. If those steps dont reduce your risk enough, your doctor may prescribe medications to help.
Remember: Making even modest changes now can help to prevent significant medical issues later. Do all you can to reduce your risk for the serious effects of heart attack and stroke.
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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.
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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Are You Serious About Reducing Cholesterol
If making healthy changes on your own has been a challenge, it may be time to bring in the professionals! Our team of physicians, nutritionists, exercise experts, psychologists, and chefs – specialize in helping people just like you reduce medication and take contol of their health. A vacation at Pritikin will change your life!
Eat Fewer Refined Grains Such As White Flour
Were a nation of white food eaters white bread, white rice, white pasta, and white-flour foods like muffins, croissants, bagels, crackers, dried cereals, tortillas, pretzels, and chips. Yes, more than half of many Americans typical diets are made up of hyperprocessed refined white flour, often injected with sugar, salt, and/or fat.
Thats a real problem in part because the more white, or refined, grains we eat, the fewer whole grains we tend to take in. Research has found that eating whole grains can help lower both total and LDL cholesterol, and improve heart health.
In Harvard Universitys;Nurses Health Study, for example, women who ate two to three servings of whole-grain products each day were 30% less likely to have a heart attack or die from heart disease over a 10-year period than women who ate less than one serving of whole grains per week.2
When first starting to make the switch from refined to whole grains, many people often feel a bit confused. Where to begin? Whats whole? What isnt?
The registered dietitians at the Pritikin Longevity Center start with one very simple rule. When looking at products like breads and cereals, they recommend turning the package around and making sure the first word in the Ingredient List is whole. If you see the word whole at the top of the list, its a good bet that what youre buying is in fact 100% whole grain, or close to it.
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How To Lower Cholesterol Naturally
In some cases, you may be able to lower your cholesterol levels without taking medications. For example, it may be enough to eat a nutritious diet, exercise regularly, and avoid smoking tobacco products.
Some people also claim that certain herbal and nutritional supplements may help lower cholesterol levels. For instance, such claims have been made about:
- ground flax seed
However, the level of evidence supporting these claims varies. Also, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration hasnt approved any of these products for treating high cholesterol. More research is needed to learn if they can help treat this condition.
Always talk to your doctor before taking any herbal or nutritional supplements. In some cases, they might interact with other medications youre taking. Learn more about natural remedies for high cholesterol.
Genetic risk factors for high cholesterol cant be controlled. However, lifestyle factors can be managed.
To lower your risk of developing high cholesterol:
- Eat a nutritious diet thats low in cholesterol and animal fats, and high in fiber.
- Avoid excessive alcohol consumption.
- Exercise regularly.
- Dont smoke.
You should also follow your doctors recommendations for routine cholesterol screening. If youre at risk of high cholesterol or coronary heart disease, they will likely encourage you to get your cholesterol levels tested on a regular basis. Find out how to get your cholesterol levels checked.
What Are The Risk Factors For High Cholesterol
A number of factors are thought to increase your chances of developing high cholesterol. Common risk factors include:
- Not or quitting smoking
- Reducing the amount of saturated fats, trans fats, and dietary cholesterol that you eat
- Treating high cholesterol levels with medications as recommended by your healthcare provider
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How Can I Lower My Cholesterol Level
The first step in reducing your cholesterol is to maintain a healthy, balanced diet. It’s important to keep your diet low in fatty food.
You can swap food containing saturated fat for fruit, vegetables and wholegrain cereals. This will also help;prevent high cholesterol returning.
If these measures don’t reduce your cholesterol and you continue to have a high risk of developing heart disease, your GP may prescribe a cholesterol-lowering medication, such as statins.
Your GP will take into account the risk of any side effects from statins. The benefit of lowering your cholesterol must outweigh any risks.
Read more about how high cholesterol is treated
How Is High Cholesterol Diagnosed
There are usually no signs or symptoms that you have high cholesterol. There is a blood test to measure your cholesterol level. When and how often you should get this 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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Do Supplements Cause High Cholesterol
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BBC NEWS | Health | Vitamins ‘increase cholesterol‘ Vitamins could actually increase levels of “bad cholesterol“, researchers have suggested. But New York University researchers found vitamins including E, C and beta carotene stop the liver breaking down an early form of bad cholesterol.
Subsequently, question is, what can cause a sudden increase in cholesterol? Poor diet.Eating saturated fat, found in animal products, and trans fats, found in some commercially baked cookies and crackers and microwave popcorn, can raise your cholesterol level. Foods that are high in cholesterol, such as red meat and full-fat dairy products, will also increase your cholesterol.
Also Know, what supplements can help lower cholesterol?
Cholesterol-Lowering Supplements: What Works, What Doesn’t
- Artichoke leaf extract.
- The bottom line: A diet high in soluble fiber can lower your LDL. The effect is likely to be relatively modest, however, and loading up on soluble fiber may be impractical. Fish oil.
Can fish oil raise your cholesterol?
It will lower your triglycerides, may modestly raise your HDL , but can actually raise your LDL cholesterol, which is not a benefit. Only the pure EPA type of fish oil has been shown to not raise LDL cholesterol. Omega-3 supplements may have health benefits other than for the heart.
Why Are High Blood Cholesterol Levels Bad
Cholesterol has a wax-like constitution and therefore, cannot dissolve in blood, which is water based.
It, therefore, piggy rides on the back of the proteins to travel in the bloodstream and feed the body cells. This combination of proteins and cholesterol is called lipoproteins.
Due to its waxy and sticky nature, an;excess of cholesterol in the blood tends to stick to the inner walls of the arteries hardening the arterial walls.
Over time, this narrows down the lumen of the arteries and further can occlude it causing loss of blood supply to concerned part of the body. This is referred to as atherosclerosis.
- In the heart, this can cause angina or a heart attack.
- In the brain, this can cause a stroke.
- In the peripheral parts of the body, this can cause peripheral vascular disease.
These are enough significant reasons to emphasize, why you should keep your cholesterol levels in check.
The main culprits whose high levels can cause these complications are LDL and triglycerides.
Here is the list of reasons that can cause your serum cholesterol levels to rise:
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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.