How Can I Lower My Cholesterol
If the 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. If you take 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
How To Lower Cholesterol
If you have high cholesterol, your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes, medications or both.
Here are some ways to manage your cholesterol.
Eat heart-healthy food
What you eat can make a big difference to your cholesterol levels.
Cut back on foods high in saturated fats like:;
- oily fish.
Drink less alcohol
Drinking too much alcohol can increase your LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. So drinking less is a good way to lower your cholesterol.;
The Ministry of Health recommends no more than 10 standard drinks per week for women and no more than 15 for men. One standard drink is equal to: ;
- a standard can of 4% beer
- a small glass of wine
- a small single shot of spirits
If you have high cholesterol or you’ve been diagnosed with a heart condition, you may need to drink less than this.
Smoking makes your LDL cholesterol stickier and reduces the amount of HDL cholesterol in your blood. It also damages the artery walls. This increases the build-up of plaque in your arteries and can cause risk of heart attack and stroke.
Quitting smoking is a great way to lower your cholesterol levels and reduce your risk of heart disease.
Sitting less and being more active are great ways to reduce high cholesterol.
This doesnt mean you have to join a gym or take up running it just means you need to move your body more throughout the day. Ideally you should do 30 minutes of activity a day.;
You could try:;
Read more about the benefits of exercise.
Can Bad Cholesterol Levels Be Too Low Can Good Cholesterol Levels Be Too High
It isnt often that people have bad cholesterol that is too low or good cholesterol that is too high. There are studies being done that suggest that extremes of any kind are not healthy for everyone.
However, there is data from clinical trials to support that there is no evidence of harm when LDLs remain <40mg/dl on statin therapy.
In some cases, genetic conditions can cause you to have very low cholesterol levels. In other cases, nutritional problems, some cancers, hypothyroidism and certain infections can also cause low cholesterol levels. In any of these types of situations, the underlying issues need to be addressed.
In terms of having too much of a good thing, researchers are studying the effects of too much HDL, the good cholesterol. No conclusions have been reached, but there have been studies into the possible relationship between high HDL and cancer, and a greater risk of heart attack among the high risk. Excessively high HDL may be dysfunctional HDL and not protective.
Will Eating Cholesterol Raise My Cholesterol
Yes, but only if your body needs more cholesterol.
The cells lining the small intestine each contain transporter molecules that absorb cholesterol. . However, if the body doesnt need any more cholesterol, there are other molecules that pump the cholesterol right back out into the intestines to be eliminated from the body. This is one reason why it is virtually impossible for cholesterol from food to cause high cholesterol. The intestinal cells know exactly how much is needed and will not allow extra to be absorbed.
This is brilliant when you think about it it is impossible for the body to break down the complex structure of the cholesterol molecule, so it would make no sense to absorb too muchonce its inside the body theres only one way to get rid of it, and that is to excrete it in the bile. Why take in more than necessary, if its just going to have to be eliminated?
However, if your body cholesterol levels are low, the intestinal cells will not kick it out, and it will make it into your bloodstreambecause you need it.
To summarize the relationship between food cholesterol and blood cholesterol:
What Causes Inflammation And How Is It Relevant To Cholesterol
The following factors all raise the level of inflammation in your body:
- Being overweight
- Deficiency of omega 3 fats in the diet
- Lack of fresh vegetables in the diet
- Food allergy or intolerance
- Diets high in sugar, alcohol, gluten and omega 6 fats
In most people, the overwhelming cause of excessive inflammation in their body is poor diet choices.
Sugar, flour and vegetable oil high in omega 6 fats all cause wear and tear to your body. Having a fatty liver causes the liver to produce high levels of damaging inflammatory chemicals.
Inflammation damages the lining of your arteries. It actually causes wear and tear to the once smooth inner lining of artery walls. Once youve developed lesions in your arteries, the cholesterol in your bloodstream comes along and tries to repair this damage.
Cholesterol has a vital role in healing and repair of tissues in your body. The problem is, cholesterol can accumulate in your arteries, causing them to narrow and thus restricting blood flow. Cholesterol is not the initiating factor in artery damage; it is only serving a protective and healing role.
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Enhancing Up Immune System:
Cholesterol is crucial for our immune system to function effectively. Our immune cells base on cholesterol to fight against infections and repair themselves after the fight. Furthermore, LDL-cholesterol, also called bad cholesterol, directly binds and immobilizes dangerous bacterial toxins, halting them from doing any damage in the body. People with low-level cholesterol are prone to different infections, suffer from them longer and are more probable to die from an infection.
When the body has some healing jobs to do, it produces some cholesterol and supplies it to the site of the damage that is why regarded it as a chief healing agent. When we have a brutal infection, LDL-cholesterol goes up to against with the bacterial or viral disease.
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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Dietary Sources Of Cholesterol
What Is The Role Of Cholesterol In The Body And Where Does It Come From
It is mainly made in the body, manufactured in the liver from a variety of foods, but mostly from saturated fats. Not much cholesterol is found in foods except for eggs, liver and kidneys. It plays an important part in the functioning of every cell wall throughout the body so needs to be transported around the body.
You may ask, What are the two types of cholesterol?
There are two major forms of cholesterol: Low-density lipoprotein or LDL, also known as bad cholesterol, and high-density lipoprotein or HDL, also called good cholesterol. LDL is the main source of artery-clogging plaque. HDL, on the other hand, works to clear cholesterol from your blood.
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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.
Natural Remedies And Lowering Cholesterol
Its very important to talk to your health professional before using any:
- natural remedies
- or complementary therapies.
Sometimes they can do more harm than good. They may interact with any medication that youre taking, which can be dangerous. They can also make your medication less effective. Your doctor needs to know everything that you are taking to ensure that the combination is safe.
If youve been prescribed cholesterol-lowering medication, make sure you take it as directed by your doctor. This is one of the most effective ways to keep your cholesterol levels down.
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Why Do We Need Cholesterol
Cholesterol plays a vital role in how your body works. There is cholesterol in every cell in your body, and it’s especially important in your brain, nerves and skin.
Cholesterol has three main jobs:
- Its part of the outer layer, or membrane, of all your bodys cells
- Its used to make vitamin D and steroid hormones which keep your bones, teeth and muscles healthy
- Its used to make bile, which helps to digest the fats you eat
Why Would The Body Make More Cholesterol Than It Needs
Now heres the problem: when people eat too many sugars and starches, especially refined and high glycemic index foods, blood insulin levels can spike. When insulin spikes, it turns on HMGCoA reductase, which tells all of the bodys cells to make more cholesterol, even if they dont need any more. This is probably the most important reason why some people have too much cholesterol in their bloodstream. Sugars and starches can raise insulin levels, which fools the body into thinking it should grow when it doesnt need to. This is how low glycemic index diets and low-carbohydrate diets normalize cholesterol patternsthese diets reduce insulin levels, which in turn lower HMG-CoA reductase activity.
Statin drugs, such as Lipitor®, which are prescribed to lower cholesterol levels, work partly by interfering with the activity of HMG-CoA reductase. If your cells happen to need more cholesterol under certain circumstances, but the statin drug is blocking this critical enzyme, your cells may not be able to make cholesterol when needed. And whats worse is that the cholesterol synthesis pathway doesnt just make cholesterol; branches of this same pathway are responsible for synthesizing a wide variety of other important molecules, including: Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, and Coenzyme Q. So, you may want to think twice before you artificially interfere with this pathway by taking a statin drug.
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How The Body Uses Cholesterol
As a vital part of the body’s chemistry, cholesterol is used to produce the steroid hormones required for normal development and functioning. These include the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone in women and testosterone in men. These hormones trigger development of the physical traits characteristic of adult women and men; they also play a role in reproduction.
Other steroid hormones produced from cholesterol include cortisol, which is involved in regulating blood-sugar levels and defending the body against infection, and aldosterone, which is important for retaining salt and water in the body. The body can even use cholesterol to make a significant amount of vitamin D, the vitamin responsible for strong bones and teeth, when the skin is exposed to sunlight.
Cholesterol is also used to make bile, a greenish fluid that is produced by the liver and stored in the gallbladder. The body needs bile to digestfoods that contain fat. Bile acts as an emulsifier — it breaks down large globules of fat into smaller particles so they can mix better with the enzymes that digest fat.
Once the fat is digested, bile helps the body to absorb it. The presence of bile in the intestines is required before cholesterol can be absorbed from foods. The body also needs bile in order to absorb vitamins A, D, E, and K, called fat-soluble vitamins, from food or supplements.
For more information on cholesterol, see:
How Cholesterol Levels Are Measured
You may not feel any symptoms of high cholesterol until you develop more serious health problems. This is why it is important to have your cholesterol levels measured on a regular basis.
A blood test called a lipid or lipoprotein panel will show your cholesterol levels and help your doctor decide if you need treatment.
The blood test measures:;
- Total cholesterol:The total amount of cholesterol in your blood, including HDL and LDL;
- High-density lipoprotein, or HDL: It is called “good” cholesterol and is capable of removing cholesterol from your body by moving it to the liver.;
- Low-density lipoprotein, or LDL: It is called “bad” cholesterol and can cause plaque buildup.;;
- Non-HDL cholesterol: It is found by subtracting HDL from total cholesterol. It includes LDL and VLDL .
- Triglycerides: A type of fat that can also increase the risk of cardiovascular disease;
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Causes Of High Cholesterol
A build-up of cholesterol is part of the process that narrows arteries, called atherosclerosis. In atherosclerosis, plaques form and cause restriction of blood flow.
Reducing the intake of fat in the diet helps to manage cholesterol levels. In particular, it is helpful to limit foods that contain:
- Cholesterol: This is present in animal foods, meat, and cheese.
- Saturated fat: This occurs in some meats, dairy products, chocolate, baked goods, deep-fried, and processed foods.
- Trans fats: This occurs in some fried and processed foods.
Excess weight or obesity can also lead to higher blood LDL levels. Genetic factors can contribute to high cholesterol. People with the inherited condition familial hypercholesterolemia have very high LDL levels.
Other conditions that can lead to high cholesterol levels, include:
In adults, total cholesterol levels less than 200 milligrams per deciliter are considered healthy.
- A reading between 200 and 239 mg/dL is borderline high.
- A reading of 240 mg/dL and above is considered high.
LDL cholesterol levels should be less than 100 mg/dL.
- 100129 mg/dL is acceptable for people with no health problems but may be a concern for anyone with heart disease or heart disease risk factors.
- 130159 mg/dL is borderline high.
- 160189 mg/dL is high.
- 190 mg/dL or higher is considered very high.
- eat a heart-healthy diet
- achieve and maintain a healthy weight
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.
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