What Treatments Are Available For High Cholesterol
Treatment may include:
Addressing risk factors. Some risk factors that can be changed include lack of exercise and poor eating habits.
Cholesterol-lowering medicines. Medicines are used to lower fats in the blood, particularly LDL cholesterol. Statins are a group of medicines that can do this. The two most effective types are atorvastatin and rosuvastatin. Other medicines that lower cholesterol levels are ezetimibe and PCSK9 inhibitors.
Measure Your Ldl And Other Blood Lipids
Everyone age 20 and older should have their cholesterol checked at least every five years through a blood test. The guidelines recommend you have a complete “lipoprotein profile” that measures total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein , and triglycerides, another type of fat in the blood stream. The test should be performed after fasting.
What You Can Do To Manage Ascvd
To manage ASCVD and lower the risk of a heart attack or stroke, it is important to:
Go to all follow-up appointments with your doctor
Follow any diet and exercise instructions from your doctor
Talk to your doctor about your health history and how often you need to have your LDL-C checked
Make sure you are taking your medicine as directed by your doctor
Ask a friend or loved one, or find a support group to help you stay on track
Finding a balance of treatment options and lifestyle changes can be difficult, but you don’t have to do it alone. Partnering with your doctor is important in managing ASCVD. Doing so is a big step toward lowering your LDL-C and lowering your risk of heart attack or stroke.
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How To Lower Cholesterol: Know Your Fats
The American Heart Association recommends that just 25% to 35% of your daily calories come from fats such as those found in fish, nuts, and vegetable oils. For healthy people, saturated fat should comprise no more than 7% of your total calories. On a 2,000 calorie-a-day diet, that’s about 140 calories worth of saturated fat. If you need to lower your LDL cholesterol, limit saturated fat to 5% to 6% of calories, or about 11 to 13 grams of saturated fat on a 2,000-calorie diet. Reduce trans fats to less than 1% of your total daily calories. This means avoiding fried foods and many junk foods.
Swap Out Ice Cream For Fresh Fruit
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture , the United States produced 49.9 million gallons of full-fat ice cream in 2019, up nearly 14 percent from the year before. The cold, sweet stuff is a staple in many American households. But did you know that a single cup of ice cream has more fat than a hamburger and almost double the saturated fat of a glazed doughnut? Skip the scoop and try a cup of fresh fruit for dessert instead. Fruit is low in calories and high in the fiber, vitamins, and nutrients you really need making it one of the best things you can eat to reduce the amount of cholesterol youre consuming.
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Prevention And Prognosis Of Low Cholesterol
Low cholesterol prevention isnt something that most people think about because it is usually high cholesterol that makes the headlines. The best way to keep cholesterol levels in balance is to get regular check-ups. Maintaining a heart-healthy diet and living an active life can also go a long way in keeping your cholesterol levels in check. It is also helpful to be aware of any family history connected to cholesterol problems and pay close attention to symptoms of anxiety, particularly if they make you feel really aggressive or violent.
If you or someone in your family shows signs of low cholesterol, you might be concerned about low cholesterol prognosis. It is true that low cholesterol has been associated with some serious health complications, such as intracerebral hemorrhage, but this typically happens in older adults. Women with low cholesterol also run the risk of having low birth weight or even premature babies. Sadly, low cholesterol has also been deemed a risk factor for suicide.
If you are ever diagnosed with low cholesterol, dont be afraid to talk to your doctor about your concerns. It is important to remain open and report all of your symptoms, including any feelings of anxiety or depression, so thatyour health care provider can guide you to the best possible treatment.
Medical Causes That Raise Your Cholesterol Levels
Certain drugs and hormonal therapies are known to cause hyperlipidemia. They are classified as medical causes and include:
- Estrogen and corticosteroids can raise the levels of triglycerides and HDL.
- Oral contraceptives
- Beta blockers prescribed for hypertension and glaucoma
- Diuretics prescribed for hypertension and to get rid of extra accumulated fluid in the body.
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Hypothyroidism And High Cholesterol
The thyroid gland situated in the neck in front of the windpipe can become overactive or underactive.
Thyroid hormones help to produce cholesterol in the body and also to get rid of any excess of it in order to maintain normal levels.
An underactive thyroid means that lower levels of the thyroid hormones are circulating in the blood and subsequently, your body is unable to break down the LDL cholesterol as efficiently. This causes more cholesterol to float around in the blood.
An overactive thyroid has the opposite effect and can drop the levels to abnormally low values.
Foods That Help Reduce Blood Cholesterol Levels
Reducing the harmful fats and empty calories in your diet is a great start when you are trying to improve your cholesterol levels and overall health. However, there are also lots of good foods you can focus on as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle. There are even some foods that can directly improve your cholesterol.
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What Can Raise My Risk Of High Cholesterol
A variety of things can raise your risk for high cholesterol:
- Age. Your cholesterol levels tend to rise as you get older. Even though it is less common, younger people, including children and teens, can also have high cholesterol.
- Heredity. High blood cholesterol can run in families.
- Weight. Being overweight or having obesity raises your cholesterol level.
- Race. Certain races may have an increased risk of high cholesterol. For example, African Americans typically have higher HDL and LDL cholesterol levels than whites.
Cholesterol Levels In Dialysis Patients
In a study of dialysis patients, those with higher cholesterol levels had lower mortality than those with low cholesterol.51 Yet the authors claimed that the inverse association of total cholesterol level with mortality in dialysis patients is likely due to the cholesterol-lowering effect of systemic inflammation and malnutrition, not to a protective effect of high cholesterol concentrations. Keeping an eye on further funding opportunities, the authors concluded: These findings support treatment of hypercholesterolemia in this population.
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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.
What You Should Worry About
Should you actually worry about cholesterol in food? The greater danger for everyone is in foods that are high in trans fats.
Those often appear on food labels as hydrogenated oils or partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, he says. Those types of fats do tend to raise cholesterol and do tend to increase the risk of heart disease.
All in all, look for trans fat and saturated fat on labels at the grocery store. The American Heart Association recommends limiting dietary saturated fat intake and focusing more on eating fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean animal protein or plant protein sources.
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Myth #: All Cholesterol Is Bad
Theres a lot of talk about high cholesterol, but not all cholesterol is bad.
The Facts: There are several types of cholesterol. Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol is considered a bad type, and unfortunately this type makes up most of the cholesterol in your body. LDL can stick to the walls of your blood vessels. This buildup, called plaque, can increase your risk for heart disease and stroke.
However, you also have high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, which is the good type. HDL absorbs cholesterol and brings it to the liver, where it is processed. LDL lowers your risk of heart disease and stroke.
A healthy range of total cholesterol is less than 200 milligrams per deciliter, with levels of LDL of less than 100 milligrams per deciliter, and HDL levels of at least 60 milligrams per deciliter.
Learn About Other Precautions To Help You Stay Safe While Taking Statins
Statins are the most common medicine used to treat high blood cholesterol. Learn some tips to stay safe if your doctor gives you statins.
- Keep taking your statin medicine as prescribed. If you started taking a statin after you recently had a heart attack, a stroke, or another complication, you should not stop taking this medicine on your own, because that can increase your risk for a repeat event or even death. Ask your doctor if you have any concerns about your medication or if you would like to stop or change to a different treatment.
- Ask your doctor what medicines, nutritional supplements, or foods you should avoid. Some of these can interact with statins to cause serious side effects or make them less effective. For example, grapefruit affects how your liver breaks down some statins.
- Tell your doctor about any symptoms or side effects. Sometimes, people report muscle problems while taking statins. If you start having muscle pain, your doctor may order a blood test to look for muscle damage. The pain may go away if you switch to a different statin. Muscle damage with statins is rare, and your muscles may heal when you switch to a different medicine.
- If you are a woman who is planning to become pregnant, talk to your doctor about your options. You should stop taking statins about three months before getting pregnant. Also, you should not take statins if you are breastfeeding.
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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.
Treatment For High Cholesterol
Making lifestyle changes, especially changing some of the foods you eat, and regular physical activity, are very important to help reduce high LDL cholesterol.
You may also need to take cholesterol-lowering medicines to help manage your cholesterol and reduce your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Talk to your doctor about finding the most appropriate treatment for you.
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Learn The Warning Signs Of Serious Complications And Have A Plan
High blood cholesterol can lead to serious cardiovascular complications, such as heart attack or stroke. If you think that you are or someone else is having the following symptoms, Every minute matters.
Heart attack symptoms include mild or severe chest pain or discomfort in the center of the chest or upper abdomen that lasts for more than a few minutes or goes away and comes back. This discomfort can feel like pressure, squeezing, fullness, heartburn, or indigestion. There also may be pain down the left arm or in the neck. Although both men and women can experience these symptoms, women are more likely to have other, less typical symptoms, such as shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, unusual tiredness, and pain in the back, shoulders, or jaw. Read more about the signs and symptoms of a heart attack.
If you think someone may be having a stroke, act F.A.S.T. and perform the following simple test.
FFace: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
AArms: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
SSpeech: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred or strange?
TTime: If you observe any of these signs, . Early treatment is essential.
Read more about the signs and symptoms of a stroke.
Confirming Unhealthy Cholesterol Levels
A lipid panel usually measures total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and HDL cholesterol. Your test may also show the level of non-HDL cholesterol, which includes LDL and all other types of bad cholesterol that raise your risk of atherosclerosisand complications.
Your doctor may diagnose you with high blood cholesterol if your total or non-HDL cholesterol level is higher than what is healthy for you. Your doctor might also find that your level of good HDL cholesterol is too low.
Your doctor may ask that you fast before a lipid panel. This means you do not eat or drink anything except water for 9 to 12 hours before your blood is drawn. Ask you whether you should take your usual medicines before the test and if there are any other special instructions.
Your doctor may order other tests to help decide whether medicines are needed to lower your risk of heart and blood vessel diseases. These may include a coronary calcium scan, and blood tests for levels of C-reactive protein and lipoprotein-a.
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What Has The Biggest Impact On Ldl Cholesterol
Contrary to the long-held belief that dietary cholesterol itself is a major cause of high LDL, evidence suggests a weaker link. It’s still a good idea to steer clear of dietary cholesterol, but that intake isn’t the biggest influence. The current understanding is that the specific mix of carbohydrates and fats in your diet is the biggest factor in determining your LDL levels.
What Is A Healthy Cholesterol Level
According to the NHLBI, your risk for heart disease and other health problems, such as diabetes, increases if you have an HDL cholesterol level of 40 milligrams per deciliter or less for men and 50 mg/dL or less for women. The institute recommends that total daily cholesterol intake be less than 200 mg/dL, and that LDL cholesterol be less than 100 mg/dL.
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Myth #: Women Shouldnt Worry About Heart Disease
Men and women have similar rates of high cholesterol, and everyone needs to be concerned about heart disease.
The Facts: Heart disease is the most common cause of death in American females, accounting for one in five deaths of American women. Heart disease can look different in women, so be sure to know the signs.
Common Misconceptions About Foods And Cholesterol
Just because a food contains cholesterol does not mean it will raise cholesterol levels. In fact, the latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans of 2015-2020 removed the recommendation to limit dietary cholesterol to 300 mg per day, stating that adequate evidence was not available. Extensive research does not show that eating foods that contain cholesterol causes heart disease.
However, many foods remain feared for the belief that they increase the risk for heart disease or harm overall health. Some of these foods are highlighted below:
In addition to these foods, there has been concern over the recently trending ketogenic diet and its role in cholesterol levels. This style of eating limits nearly all sources of carbohydrates and instead gets a majority of calories and other nutrients from high-fat foods and protein. This diet includes eating large amounts of meat, eggs, cheese, and other high cholesterol, high saturated fat foods.
While it may seem as though this style of eating would be harmful to cholesterol levels, current research does not support this so far.
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Can High Cholesterol Be Prevented Or Avoided
Making healthy food choices and exercising are two ways to reduce your risk of developing high cholesterol.
Eat fewer foods with saturated fats . Choose healthier fats. This includes lean meats, avocados, nuts, and low-fat dairy items. Avoid foods that contain trans fat . Look for foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These foods include salmon, herring, walnuts, and almonds. Some egg brands contain omega-3.
Exercise can be simple. Go for a walk. Take a yoga class. Ride your bike to work. You could even participate in a team sport. Aim to get 30 minutes of activity every day.