What Complications Are Possible If You Dont Treat High Cholesterol Levels In Your Blood
The main reason to treat high cholesterol is to prevent or treat coronary heart disease , also called coronary artery disease or CAD. CHD happens when heart is not able to get enough oxygen-rich blood to function well and kills more people in the U.S. than any other cause of death. CHD usually refers to the large arteries, but there is also a condition called coronary microvascular disease that affects the small vessels and causes damage.
Can You Get Rid Of Cholesterol Deposits
Researchers are working on ways to eliminate plaque from coronary arteries. One method that has been proposed involves using combinations of medicines in healthy people aged 25 to 55 years. It is suggested that getting the levels of cholesterol down very low will allow arteries to clear up and heal up.
Several researchers believe that the way to reverse heart disease, and to prevent it in the first place, is found in a whole food, plant-based diet. Studies have been done that have shown that limiting nutrition to whole foods that are plant-based have been successful in reducing blood cholesterol and even, in some cases, lessening plaque buildup.
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.
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Who Needs Cholesterol Medication
People who are at risk of developing coronary heart disease are primarily the ones who need medication for lowering cholesterol. More specifically, these are people who have high levels of LDL , otherwise known as the bad cholesterol.
Accordingly, a person who has a risk level of over 10% of developing heart disease , he should start taking cholesterol-lowering medication. Those who have risk percentage lower than that 7.5% to 10%, to be more specific are not required to take the said medication but are strictly advised to undergo a lifestyle change that includes diet adjustment and light exercise.Likewise, people with a history of heart attack or stroke should take cholesterol-lowering medications once prescribed by the doctor.
Why Monitor Your Cholesterol
When you have your cholesterol levels checked with your doctor and continue to monitor them with a home-test kit, you will know when you may need to take steps, such as exercise, dietary changes, and even medication, to control them. As we mentioned above, high cholesterol levels are not beneficial to your health and can lead to serious trouble, including atherosclerosis , stroke, angina, and heart attack.
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Buying Guide For Best Home Cholesterol Test Kits
If your cholesterol levels dont fall within normal ranges, you are at risk for strokes and cardiovascular disease. To stay healthy, lipid profile blood testing as prescribed by your healthcare provider is important. But, in between doctor visits, how do you know if youre keeping your levels in check?;;
Home cholesterol test kits provide an easy way to test various forms of cholesterol and triglycerides. Many tests available on todays market offer a high degree of accuracy, and some are even approved by the Food and Drug Administration . And while home cholesterol testing should never take the place of thorough lipid testing performed by your doctor, its a good tool for monitoring your numbers before your next visit.
Whether this is your first time shopping for a home cholesterol test kit or you are browsing different options to find the best one for your needs, youve come to the right place. We have selected the top kits available based on reliability and results and put together a handy shopping guide below to help you choose the right kit for your needs.
Foods That Lower Your Cholesterol
Some foods can actively help to lower your cholesterol and they all work in different ways. Try to include these foods in your meals whenever you can:
1. Oats and barley
Eating whole grain foods reduces your risk of heart disease. Oats and barley are extra special because they are high in a type of soluble fibre called ‘beta glucan’. Beta glucan helps to lower ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol in your blood2,3.
Tip: Flavoured oat products like ‘Quick Oats’ often contain added salt and/or sugar. Choose products that contain 100% oats as they’re closest to how theyre found in nature.
2. Vegetables and fruit
Eating a variety of colourful vegetables and fruit everyday can help protect you against heart disease, stroke and some cancers4,5. Many vegetables and fruit are high in soluble fibre which helps to reduce the absorption of cholesterol and lower ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol in your blood.
Tip: Leave the skins on vegetables like pumpkin, kmara and carrot to maximise your intake of fibre. Use orange and lemon peel in dressings and sauces.
3. Foods rich in heart-healthy fats
Eating plenty of foods that contain heart-healthy mono and poly-unsaturated fats increases the levels of ‘good’ HDL cholesterol in your blood.;
These foods contain heart-healthy fats.
- Vegetable oils and spreads
Eating these foods instead of foods high in saturated fat improves your cholesterol. Itll reduce your risk of heart disease too6.
4. Legumes and beans
6. Soy products
7. Plant sterols
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How To Lower Cholesterol: Smart Protein
To reduce cholesterol, limit red meat and eat more fish and lean poultry.
How to Prepare Healthy Proteins
- Trim all fat from meats, and remove all skin from poultry before cooking.
- Broil or bake, don’t fry foods.
- Drain fat from any meats before serving.
- Avoid processed meats such as hot dogs or cold cuts, even those labeled “reduced fat,” as many are still high in saturated fats and calories.
- Oily fish such as salmon or trout are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which can reduce triglyceride levels and improve HDL cholesterol levels.
- Soy proteins can also have a beneficial effect and help to reduce LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, while raising HDL cholesterol levels.
Can Natural Remedies Lower High Cholesterol Without Statins
Exercise on its own doesnt lower your LDL much often only a few points. Exercise helps minimize many heart disease risk factors, including obesity and Type 2 diabetes. Make a point to exercise five days a week for at least 30 minutes each day.Diet is incredibly important in managing your cholesterol.Every patient who comes to our preventive cardiology clinic for cholesterol management sees a nutritionist as part of the visit because we feel so strongly about the importance of diet. There are many patients for whom weve delayed prescribing statins, or suggested that they get off their medication if it isnt appropriate for their level of risk.Some patients think, Im on a statin I dont have to exercise, and I can eat whatever I want! But thats not the case. Lifestyle choices absolutely matter. For high-risk patients, its not a question of either improving the diet or getting on a medication, its both lifestyle changes and taking a statin together are necessary to protect high-risk patients against heart attack and stroke.If your cholesterol is borderline but not yet high, changing your diet and incorporating healthier food choices can help lower your cholesterol a decent amount. Eating more fiber and lowering your intake of saturated fat definitely can help. For people with relatively low risk, this may be enough to lower heart attack and stroke risk.;
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When You Need Themand When You Dont
Your body makes a waxy substance called cholesterol. You also get it from food. Your body needs it, but too much cholesterol in your blood can clog your arteries. This increases your risk of heart disease, heart attack, and death.
Statins are drugs that lower your cholesterol. But if you are age 75 or older and you havent had symptoms of heart disease, statins may be a bad idea. Heres why:
Adults age 75 and older may not need statins.
Many older adults have high cholesterol. Their doctors usually prescribe statins to prevent heart disease.
But for older people, there is no clear evidence that high cholesterol leads to heart disease or death. In fact, some studies show the oppositethat older people with the lowest cholesterol levels actually have the highest risk of death.
Statins have risks.
Compared to younger adults, older adults are more likely to suffer serious side effects from using statins.
Statins can cause muscle problems, such as aches, pains, or weakness. Rarely, there can be a severe form of muscle breakdown.
In older adults, statins can also cause:
- Memory loss and confusion
- Nausea, constipation, or diarrhea.
Often, older adults take many drugs. These can interact with statins and lead to serious problems. Side effects, like muscle pain, may increase. Statins can also cause a fatal reaction when taken with heart-rhythm drugs.
Statins may increase the risk of type-2 diabetes and cataracts, as well as damage to the liver, kidneys, and nerves.
How The Fat You Eat Affects Cholesterol Levels
The relationship between the fat we eat and our health, particularly our cardiovascular health, has been hotly debated for many years.
Heres what you need to know:
Not all fats are created equally.
The kinds of fat you eat matter more than the amount.
There are different types of fats in our diet:
Polyunsaturated fats: essential and important nutrients
Monounsaturated fats: can come from plant or animal products and are generally considered healthy
Saturated fats: less healthy than mono- and polyunsaturated fats
Trans fats: unhealthy fats
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Supplements To Lower Cholesterol
Two of the most effective ways of boosting HDL and lowering LDL are exercising and eating a healthy diet. Consuming too much saturated fat and trans fat found in red meat, dairy products, and processed foods can increase your level of unhealthy cholesterol. Consuming too little unsaturated fat found in nuts, seeds, fish, and vegetable oils can do the same.
If your LDL levels are very high or youre at higher risk for heart disease for another reason, your doctor may prescribe a medication to lower your cholesterol. Usually, this medication is a statin drug. If youd like to try a more natural approach or cannot tolerate statins, however, you may wish to consider the many foods and food-derived substances that have been shown to lower cholesterol.
Youll find a dizzying array of cholesterol-lowering supplements for sale; some combine several active ingredients and others contain just one. The following are some of the most promising natural supplements that are thought to help lower cholesterol.
Niacin, also known as vitamin B3, is so effective at lowering LDL while boosting HDL that its often prescribed by doctors in high doses. Over the counter, youll find low-dose supplements that may also be effective. Niacin can cause facial flushing, and in high doses, it may harm your liver. Check with your doctor before taking a high-dose niacin supplement.
Omega-3 fish oil
Red yeast rice extract
Ranking The Best Cholesterol Supplements Of 2021
Cholesterol supplements are designed to keep your cholesterol at a healthy level. They do this using a variety of different methods and ingredients.
If your cholesterol levels are too high, you are at a higher risk for heart attack and stroke, so it is vital to lower them to a healthy level. Generally, this is done through both medication and diet. However, supplements can also play a key role when used correctly.
Here are some of our favorite supplements for lowering cholesterol levels:
This supplement contains 500 mg of niacinamide, which can lower your LDL levels. Plus, it also contains a variety of other expert-chosen ingredients, like red yeast rice and garlic powder.
It also promotes the creation of healthy HDL cholesterol to keep your heart healthy. For these reasons, it is Bodynutritions #1 pick.
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What Is Bad Cholesterol
Cholesterol moves in the body combined with proteins. This combination of cholesterol and proteins is called lipoproteins. The low-density lipoprotein or LDL cholesterol is called bad cholesterol. High levels of this cholesterol increase risk for heart diseases and stroke.
When you have high levels of LDL cholesterol in the body, the LDL cholesterol can accumulate on the walls of the blood vessels forming a plaque. The continuous cholesterol build-up or a plaque narrows the inside of the blood vessels with time. The narrowed blood vessel hampers the blood supply to the concerned organ. Thus, when the plaque is present in the heart, it can cause angina or a heart attack. Plaque build-up in the brain can cause a stroke.
Another type of cholesterol is HDL; cholesterol. It is also called good;cholesterol as it absorbs cholesterol and carries it back to the liver. The liver then removes the cholesterol from the body. HDL cholesterol, thus, can lower your risk for heart diseases and stroke.
What Is The Best Diet For High Cholesterol
Making a few tweaks to your diet, along with regular exercise, can help you lower your cholesterol. But which diet plan is best?
There are quite a few diets that are good for reducing cholesterol levels, including the DASH diet and Mediterranean diet, which emphasize the importance of consuming fish, poultry, vegetables, fruit, legumes, and plenty of water;
But one of the most effective ways to lower cholesterol is the Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes diet, which is recommended for maintaining healthy weight.
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Consider Plant Sterols And Stanols
Multiple types of supplements show promise for managing cholesterol.
Plant stanols and sterols are plant versions of cholesterol. Because they resemble cholesterol, they are absorbed from the diet like cholesterol.
However, because parts of their chemistry are different from human cholesterol, they do not contribute to clogged arteries.
Instead, they reduce cholesterol levels by competing with human cholesterol. When plant sterols are absorbed from the diet, this replaces the absorption of cholesterol.
Small amounts of plant stanols and sterols are naturally found in vegetable oils, and are also added to certain oils and butter substitutes.
One study of 60 men and women found consuming yogurt with one gram of plant stanols reduced LDL by about 15%, compared to a placebo. Another study showed they decreased LDL by 20% .
In spite of these benefits to cholesterol, available studies have not proven that stanols or sterols decrease the risk of heart disease. The higher doses in supplements are not as well tested as the small doses in vegetable oils .
Plant stanols and sterols in vegetable oil or margarines compete with cholesterol absorption and reduce LDL by up to 20%. They are not proven to reduce heart disease.
There is strong evidence that fish oil and soluble fiber improve cholesterol and promote heart health. Another supplement, coenzyme Q10, is showing promise in improving cholesterol, although its long-term benefits are not yet known.
What Is The Tlc Diet
The TLC diet is low in trans and saturated fats and high in soluble fiber and proteins. It recommends:
- Consuming less than 7% of your total calorie requirement from saturated fats and keeping dietary cholesterol intake below 200 milligrams a day.
- Increasing your intake of fruit, whole grains, vegetables, poultry, fish, lean meats, and low-fat dairy products.
- Consuming soluble fiber that lowers the levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol.
- Eating healthy fats found in oily fish, unsalted nuts, vegetable oils, and seeds.
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Triglycerides In Your Blood
In addition to cholesterol, your blood also contains a type of fat called triglycerides, which are stored in your bodys fat deposits. Hormones release triglycerides to make energy between meals.;
When you eat, your body converts any extra energy it doesnt need right away into triglycerides.
Like cholesterol, your body needs triglycerides to work properly. However, there is evidence to suggest that some people with high triglycerides are at increased risk of heart disease and stroke.;
If you regularly eat more energy than you need, you may have high triglycerides .;
What Are Normal Blood Cholesterol Levels
Cholesterol levels, measured in milligrams of cholesterol per deciliter of blood, are categorized as optimal, near optimal, borderline, high, and very high. What are considered healthy, normal levels?
While individual health factors can influence whats considered healthy, typically doctors want to see:
- Total: For people 19 and younger, less than 170 mg/dL is healthy. This number becomes a range of 125-200 mg/dL in men and women 20 and older.
- Non-HDL: Nineteen-year-olds and younger should have less than 120 mg/dL of this type, and this figure jumps to 130 mg/dL for adults.
- LDL: In men and women 20 and upas well as those youngerlevels smaller than 100 mg/dL are considered within a healthy range.
- HDL: Those 19 and younger should have an HDL of greater than 45 mg/dL. In adult men, this figure should be at least 40 mg/dL, with the healthy range climbing to 50 mg/dL or higher for women.
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Natural Ways To Lower Your Cholesterol Levels
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Cholesterol is made in your liver and has many important functions. For example, it helps keep the walls of your cells flexible and is needed to make several hormones.
However, like anything in the body, too much cholesterol or cholesterol in the wrong places creates problems.
Like fat, cholesterol does not dissolve in water. Instead, its transport in the body depends on molecules called lipoproteins, which carry cholesterol, fat and fat-soluble vitamins in the blood.
Different kinds of lipoproteins have different effects on health. For example, high levels of low-density lipoprotein result in cholesterol deposits in blood vessel walls, which can lead to clogged arteries, strokes, heart attacks and kidney failure .
In contrast, high-density lipoprotein helps carry cholesterol away from vessel walls and helps prevent these diseases .
This article will review 10 natural ways to increase the good HDL cholesterol and lower the bad LDL cholesterol.