Lower Ldl Cholesterol With Medication
“The most important feature that determines our LDL levels is the activity of receptors in the liver that pull LDL particles out of the blood,” says Dr. Lloyd-Jones.
He explains that cholesterol medications enhance the activity of those receptors, so our bodies can get rid of LDL cholesterol much more efficiently. Dr. Ippisch adds that this class of drugs also works to slow down how much cholesterol is being made in our liver.
” look at the overall risk of the patient to determine who might benefit from medication in addition to lifestyle changes to lower their LDL cholesterol,” Dr. Lloyd-Jones says.
Higher-risk individuals can include those who already have cardiovascular disease and those with a genetic predisposition to elevated LDL cholesterol levels. But doctors may also use medication to lower LDL levels in people with health conditions like kidney disease, diabetes, or high blood pressure.
Dr. Lloyd-Jones explains that while someone may fall in the average range for LDL cholesterol, a “normal” number might be too high, depending on their additional risk factors. Medication brings it down to lower, safer levels, so there’s no additional fuel for artery-clogging plaque.
What Is A Good Ldl To Hdl Ratio
In general, the higher your HDL, and the lower LDL, the better off you are. Optimal cholesterol levels are determined by looking at the ratio of HDL cholesterol to total cholesterol. This is calculated by dividing total cholesterol score by your HDL result, so if your total score is 150, and your HDL is at 50, you’d score a 3:1.
Generally speaking, the higher this number, the higher the risk of heart problems. Doctors want to see a ratio below 5:1, with those below 3.5:1 considered ideal. Since lowering LDL causes total cholesterol numbers to drop, it promotes a better cholesterol ratio.
What Should I Do If My Ldl Cholesterol Is High
If your LDL is found to be high, you and your doctor will need to come up with a plan to manage this condition. You’ll get instructions about dietary changes you need to make and will be encouraged to adopt a healthier, more active lifestyle this is typically the first step in taking on high cholesterol.
Make sure your levels are being regularly monitored, and keep track of your progress. If changing lifestyle habits isn’t enough on its own, you and your doctor can consider pharmaceutical approaches.
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Cakes Cookies And Many Other Baked Goods
While it seems counter-intuitive at first that baked goods should raise cholesterol, its obvious when you think about the ingredients typically used to make cookies and cakes. Theyre primarily made of animal-derived products eggs, cheese, milk, cream and so on.
There are, however, certain cookies on the market which are made with ingredients specifically designed for high cholesterol sufferers, which wont have a negative impact on your cholesterol levels and may even contribute to raising your good cholesterol.
What Are The Risks Linked To High Cholesterol
Too much LDL cholesterol in the blood can increase your risk of heart and blood vessel disease .
The excess LDL cholesterol leads to fatty deposits called plaque forming in the artery walls. Over time, the plaque causes narrowing and hardening of the arteries .
This can lead to:
- Angina when plaque builds up in the major arteries that supply your heart, known as the coronary arteries, they become narrower and are partially blocked, reducing blood flow and oxygen supply to the heart. This may cause shortness of breath and chest pain.
- Heart attack if a plaque in a coronary artery bursts , a clot may form and block the supply of blood to the heart, starving it of oxygen.
- Stroke if the blood vessels that supply the brain become narrower or blocked by plaque, blood supply to the brain can be severely reduced or cut off, causing a stroke. Strokes can also be caused when a clot from another part of the body travels through the blood and lodges in an artery in the brain.
- Peripheral vascular disease this usually affects the arteries that supply the legs and feet, causing leg pain when walking , and even pain when resting, when the circulation is more badly affected
A high level of HDL cholesterol is good because HDL cholesterol helps remove other forms of cholesterol from the blood, taking them back to the liver where they’re removed from the blood and passed out of the body.
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How To Lower High Ldl Cholesterol
If your LDL levels are found to be borderline high, high, or very high, youll need to manage the condition and lower them. While some approaches can be challenging to keep up with, theyre usually quite successful. Oftentimes, successfully lowering bad cholesterol will require mixing and matching methods. Whats most important is that you detect any abnormalities as soon as you can and remain proactive in taking them on.
Butter And Some Oils The Silent Cholesterol Attack
Butter is a high cholesterol food which is something of a silent killer many people never consider the health implications of eating butter because it seems like such a relatively minor part of their diet.
The reality is the butter you spread on your toast and use for cooking can make a huge contribution to your cholesterol levels.
The same applies to certain cooking oils which contain saturated fats like palm oil.
Now, be careful if you want to substitute butter with margarine though some margarine products contain trans fats rather than saturated fats, which actually stimulate the production of bad cholesterol inside your body.
Ideally you want to find spreads and cooking oil products which made from foods high in unsaturated fats.
Olive oil and olive oil based spreads are good examples.
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Steak Heavy High Cholesterol Meat
This is another big culprit behind high bad cholesterol levels in many Western countries.
In countries like the United States people love their steaks and tend to have diets which are heavy on high-cholesterol meats and relatively low on foods that promote good cholesterol.
Again, you can eat steak now and then depending on your own bad cholesterol levels, but when you do eat it, you should make an effort to cut off as much of the fat as possible.
Food Supplements That Do Not Help With Cholesterol
Many extracts and supplements have been promoted for their overall health benefits and lipid-lowering effects, but do they work?
We reviewed the available scientific research and found that the following supplements had no good evidence to support those claims:
Selenium: Supplements may help lower cholesterol in people with low levels of selenium, but not in people with normal levels of selenium. There is not enough scientific evidence to say that selenium protects against cardiovascular disease.
Calcium: Results here are mixed, but the bottom line is calcium supplementation does not improve cholesterol levels.
Garlic supplements: Raw, powdered, and aged garlic supplements had no effect on cholesterol levels.
Policosanol: This substance, which is extracted from sugar cane wax, did not improve cholesterol.
Coconut oil supplements: There is mixed evidence about the cardiovascular benefits or harm of coconut oil. It is not an evidence-based alternative treatment for high cholesterol levels.
Coconut water: There is no high-quality data about coconut water improving cholesterol levels.
Resveratrol supplements: There is no evidence that these improve cholesterol levels in humans.
Soy isoflavones supplements: Taking supplements of soy isoflavones does not improve cholesterol levels.
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Consider Swapping Saturated Fats For Unsaturated Fats
For some, making small changes like the ones listed above wont be enough to produce a meaningful change in LDL. Instead, they may need to reduce saturated fat from all sources and replace it with mono- and polyunsaturated fats. In practice, that means less beef, cheese, and cream and more fish, macadamia nuts, avocados, and olive oil.
Liquid polyunsaturated fats, such as seed oils, remain a point of contention. This is because observational studies show a small cardiac benefit, but randomized, controlled trials show they can reduce LDL but may increase both cardiovascular events and risk of dying.8 Furthermore, mechanistic data suggest seed oils can increase oxidation and inflammation, although clinical trials havent shown this.9 See more in our evidence-based guide to vegetable oils.
Many people find that reducing or eliminating saturated fats while still remaining on a LCHF diet successfully lowers LDL cholesterol. The more pressing question is if this is a sustainable eating pattern. The answer is highly individualized and requires personal experimentation.
Measuring Ldl Cholesterol Levels
Given the severity of what it can lead to, its little wonder that screening LDL levels is an important and essential part of health evaluation. This is measured using a blood test called a lipoprotein profile. Heres a breakdown of how the assessment works:
- Fasting: You may have to fast for 9 to 12 hours before your appointment for an accurate LDL level. This means holding back from eating, having certain beverages, or taking some medications.
- Sampling: The lipoprotein test, like other blood tests, only requires a small sample of blood. Its usually drawn from a vein in the arm, and all youll feel is a pinprick.
- Multiple Measures: The amounts of four lipoproteins are measured: LDL, HDL, triglyceride, and total cholesterol levels. Other lipoproteins such as very low-density lipoprotein may be measured as well.
Recommendations as to how often you should have your cholesterol levels checked vary based on your age and health status. Typically, adults over the age of 20 should be screened once every five years, with the first test administered when children are 9 to 11. Men aged 45 to 65, and women 55 to 65 should be screened every one to two years.
However, more frequent assessment is needed for those who have certain risk-factors for heart disease, including:
Notably, in men over 40, LDL levels will be part of an equation used to determine risk of developing stroke or heart attack within 10 years.
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Eat To Lower Your Cholesterol
Cholesterol isnt all bad news. Follow these tips to lower your cholesterol, the natural way.
Chances are, youve heard a thing or two about cholesterol. Having high blood cholesterol is a risk factor for developing heart disease.
But did you know that you can reduce your cholesterol level by making smart food choices? Its true!
Before we get to the details, lets be clear on what were talking about. For years, cholesterol has had a bad rep that it doesnt really deserve. The truth is, we need cholesterol to function. Your body makes most of the cholesterol it needs. The rest comes from foods you eat.
Heres the important thing: Dietary cholesterol found in meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products has less impact on increasing your blood cholesterol level. Foods that contain lots of saturated fat are the true culprits.
Now heres how to make nutritious choices to lower your blood cholesterol.
Keep eating simple
In the last 20 years, the rules on healthy eating have shifted. Super restrictive diets arent sustainable or the healthiest choice. Rather than zeroing in on a single nutrient, nutrition research shows the quality of your diet matters more. A diet filled with the right portions of whole, unprocessed foods can help decrease heart disease and stroke. What does that look like? For a healthy, balanced eating plan:
Cook at home
Choose more fibre
Each of these options will provide you with two grams:
- ½ ripe avocado
How Much Is Too Much Saturated Fats
Most foods you choose should contain no more than 2 grams of saturated fat per serving. To help lower your LDL cholesterol, no more than 5 to 6 percent of your daily calorie intake should come from saturated fats. Use the list below to figure out the maximum amount of saturated fat you can have each day.
- Daily Calories:1,200
- Daily Saturated Fat Limit : 7-8g
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What Medications Are Used To Reduce Ldl Cholesterol
There are several classes of drugs prescribed for high LDL. These include:
- Statins: These drugs inhibit the activity of enzymes in the liver that produce cholesterol, lowering LDL, while raising HDL. The most commonly prescribed types include Lipitor , Lescol , and Advicor , among many others.
- Cholesterol absorption inhibitors: This type of drug, most commonly available as Zetia and Vytorin , prevents the intestines from absorbing cholesterol.
- Bile acid sequestrants: By spurring the intestine to shed more cholesterol, drugs like Colestid , Welchol , and Questran help lower LDL levels.
- PCSK9 inhibitors: This newer class of cholesterol-lowering drug, available as Repatha and Praluent , has shown great promise in lowering LDL. These monoclonal antibodies inhibit proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin 9 , a protein that regulates cholesterol levels.
- Adenosine triphosphate-citrate lyase inhibitors: In adults with genetic high cholesterol, or those with heart disease, ACL inhibitors like Nexletol and Nexlizet may be prescribed. These are combined with statins and lifestyle changes to improve LDL levels.
- Fibrates: Drugs of this type, such as Lopid andfenofibrate , primarily moderate triglyceride levels, though they can also lower LDL.
What Is Ldl Cholesterol
Where does your blood cholesterol come from? It’s produced by the body’s liver.
Although you can also get cholesterol from animal-based foods, like eggs and meat, dietary cholesterol doesn’t play as big a role in your heart health as once thought. Other food components, like saturated fat, are more likely to cause the liver to produce cholesterol .
Because cholesterol is a “waxy” fat and our blood is mostly water, they don’t mix. So our body shuttles it around with cholesterol-carrying molecules called lipoproteins.
The lipoprotein’s density helps determine the type of cholesterol. Considering fat is less dense than protein, the particles with a lot of fat are considered low-density lipoprotein, or “bad” cholesterol. On the flip side, high-density lipoprotein has more protein than fat and is considered “good” cholesterol.
Once our body extracts what it needs from these moleculeslike energy from triglycerides, another type of fatwhat remains is leftover cholesterol floating around in our blood.
“They’re supposed to be cleared by our liver,” says cardiologist Donald Lloyd-Jones, MD, chair of preventive medicine at Northwestern University and the president of the American Heart Association.
But some of us are less efficient at clearing those particles from the bloodstream, and at higher levels, the LDL particles carrying cholesterol can start getting into our artery walls.
“That’s when they can cause trouble,” says Dr. Lloyd-Jones.
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How Do I Know If I Have High Cholesterol
Many Australians don’t 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.
How Is Cholesterol Measured
Most people with high cholesterol feel perfectly well and often have no symptoms. The best way to find out if your cholesterol is high is to have a blood test .
Visit your GP to determine whether you need to lower your cholesterol level and what action to take.
GPs can also do a heart health check, that calculates your heart disease and stroke risk.
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Know Your Carbohydrate Threshold
One more option to consider, which may be the most effective, is increasing the amount of carbohydrates you eat. Sometimes it pays to ask, do you need to be in ketosis? Or would a low-carb diet of 50 or even 100 grams of carbs suffice for your health goals?
If you have controlled your diabetes and want to make sure it remains controlled, or if you are treating another medical condition with ketosis, then you might need to remain in ketosis make sure you consult with your healthcare provider before making any dietary changes.
If, however, you tried a ketogenic diet primarily to reduce your cravings and lose a little weight, you may find you can safely increase your carb intake without undoing most of the benefits you experienced.14
One group of authors published a study including five case reports of patients who saw a dramatic rise in their LDL levels while eating a strict low-carb diet.15 By increasing their daily carb intake to 50-100 grams per day, these individuals reduced their LDL from between 100 mg/dL to 480 mg/dL . While these are extreme examples, they highlight the ability of moderate carbohydrate intake to reduce LDL in low-carb hyper-responders.
See our detailed guide on carbohydrate intake for more information.
Lamb High In Cholesterol But Not As High As Beef
While it doesnt contain as much saturated fat as some other red meats such as beef, lamb does have a high cholesterol content.
For every 3-ounce serving of lamb you eat youre taking in about 75 milligrams of cholesterol.
Thats about a third of the ideal daily cholesterol intake recommended by many doctors .
In other words, a bit of lamb here and there is okay, but you need to be careful to balance it with the rest of the food youre eating throughout the day.
As long as the rest of your meals are low in cholesterol then you can get away with eating lamb and other red meats in moderation.
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