How Can You Prevent High Cholesterol Levels And Coronary Heart Disease
Prevention methods are very much the same as treatment methods. First, dont smoke. If you do smoke, make plans to quit now. Find ways to add physical activity to each of your days. Take steps to keep your weight in a healthy range. Eat well. Consider following the Mediterranean diet. It is the only diet proven to reduce the risk of heart disease. Take care of any other medical conditions you might have by following your healthcare providers advice and instructions. Learn to really relax and calm down.
Who Is At Risk Of Atherosclerosis
Key points of atherosclerosis Atherosclerosis is thickening or hardening of the arteries caused by a buildup of plaque in the inner lining of an artery. Risk factors may include high cholesterol and triglyceride levels, high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, obesity, physical activity, and eating saturated fats.
Plant Sterols Can Lower Cholesterol Levels
Plant sterols are found naturally in plant foods including sunflower and canola seeds, vegetable oils and in nuts, legumes, cereals, fruit and vegetables. Some margarine and milks have concentrated plant sterols added to them. Margarines enriched with plant sterolslower LDL cholesterol in most people if the correct amount is eaten .
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Substitute Healthy Oils In Place Of Butter And Margarine
Of course, its not always realistic to avoid fats when youre whipping up a tasty meal.
When you do need to add fat for cooking, baking or pan frying, use healthy oils instead of solid fats like butter, margarine, shortening and lard. Solid fats are high in saturated fats, but oils are high in unsaturated fats, which remember are better for you. The American Heart Association recommends using oils that have less than 4 grams of saturated fat per tablespoon .
Many times, its easy to swap a solid fat to a healthier one. Try using olive oil, sunflower oil or grapeseed oil in place of a solid fat.
For example, if youd rather use olive oil than butter, substitute ¾ the amount of butter in a recipe with olive oil. You might also bring out some new, surprising, subtle flavors, too.
When It Comes To Cholesterol Knowledge Is Power
The constant, regular flow of blood circulating throughout the body is a function most people take for granted even less noticeable than breathing. But just as you would quickly feel the ill effects of a lack of oxygen were your breathing suddenly compromised, the effects of a blockage in the arteries can yield equally devastating results, often with little warning.
The blockage of arteries, often caused by a build up of the waxy, fat-like substance known as cholesterol, is something most people have heard just enough about to know they probably dont want to hear anymore. But as with so many elements of physical health, when it comes to problems associated with cholesterol, knowledge and prevention;are key.
Most of the time cholesterol care is a process, said Dr. Arne Olsen. Once you recognize there are problems, youre past the point of prevention. Now youre in treatment mode.
As a vascular surgeon with Intermountain Healthcare, Dr. Olsen spends a lot of his time working with patients who have waited too long to worry about their cholesterol levels. And even though he enjoys doing surgery as a profession, he would much rather patients take preventative steps to avoid meeting with him in the operating room.
Its like the old GI Joe saying, knowing is half the battle, Dr. Olsen said.
Diet and exercise works for just about everything in life, Dr. Olsen said. Its not sexy. Its not a pill that will quickly make it better, but it is durable.
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Misconception: Diet And Physical Activity Dictate Your Cholesterol Level
Diet and physical activity do affect overall blood cholesterol levels, but so do other factors.
Being overweight or obese tends to increase bad cholesterol and lower good cholesterol . Getting older also causes LDL cholesterol to rise. For some, heredity may play a role.
So, a heart-healthy diet and regular physical activity are important to everyone for maintaining cardiovascular health.
Understand the sources of cholesterol.
Ways To Lower Cholesterol
Check your own cholesterol level and if it’s high, ask to have your kids’ levels checked.
Here are 5 ways to help keep your family’s cholesterol in control:
It’s important to make healthy living a family effort. The steps you take to improve your family’s lifestyle will have a positive effect on your family’s health now and far into the future.
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Work In Some More Movement To Your Daily Tasks
Do you need to start running every day? Do you need to join a gym or buy a bunch of home fitness equipment? If you want to, go ahead! But there are many other choices, and finding a routine that works for you is whats most important.
Ideally, you want to aim for at least 2.5 hours of moderate physical activity every week. You can break that up however you like. You might focus on doing something every day, or you could dedicate yourself to just a few days per week. The key is to just get started.
For example, do you usually take the elevator? Take the stairs instead. Do you walk your dog every day? Go a little farther than usual, or walk at a faster pace. Need to go shopping? Park farther away than you normally do. Catching up on your favorite TV series? Try stretching, dumbbells or kettlebells while youre watching rather than just sitting on the couch. Also look for chances to bring motion into your daily life, such as walking while you talk on the phone.
If youre feeling good, work up to more intense physical activity, like lap swimming, jogging or hot yoga. Dont overexert yourself, but remember that regular and consistent exercise has benefits beyond managing your cholesterol. It also helps reduce blood pressure and builds your overall physical, mental and emotional well-being.
Even if you just go a little farther or a little faster than you usually do, that extra activity will be a big step in the right direction for your health.
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.
Even though there is no clear-cut number about what LDL level is too low, levels under 40 mg/dL may be associated with certain health issues, including depression/anxiety, and hemorrhagic stroke.
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.
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You Can Begin Lowering Cholesterol Naturally Today
Sound like a lot to take on? Dont be intimidated. Bringing down your high cholesterol doesnt have to mean changing your life completely. Rather, start with changing your mindset. Instead of moving away from things, youre moving toward new habits that will help you create a healthier and more enjoyable future.
Now is always the right time to start taking care of your heart health. If you need a little support, lean on friends and family. And dont forget: Your doctor is always there for you with advice, motivation and encouragement so you can reach your goals and live healthier.
What Kind Of Test Measures Cholesterol
Everyone over the age of 20 should get their cholesterol levels measured at least once every five years. Your healthcare provider will order a blood test that will indicate how much cholesterol is carried in your bloodstream. This test will give your cholesterol levels. Your provider might also order what is called a lipid panel or a lipid profile. The panel gives you the following numbers:
- Total cholesterol.
- Non-HDL cholesterol.
- Ratio between cholesterol and HDL.
There are advanced tests that break down the size and shapes of LDL cholesterol levels, and also give the LDL particle number, but those are not normally ordered. Some test makers say that the more advanced tests are better at indicating who is at risk for heart disease, but most providers still feel that the usual tests are adequate.
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Misconception: Cholesterol Isnt A Concern For Children
High cholesterol can be inherited. This is referred to as familial hypercholesterolemia.
Children who have this genetic disorder are at very high risk of heart disease. This problem is underdiagnosed and undertreated worldwide. Once identified, children with this condition may require aggressive treatment with medications.
Cholesterol testing could be considered for children and adolescents with elevated risk. That includes children or adolescents with:
- Family history of early cardiovascular disease
- Family history of total cholesterol of 240 mg/dL or above
- Obesity or other metabolic risk factors
Regardless of their risk, all children benefit from a healthy diet and lifestyle. Establishing healthy eating and physical activity habits early can reduce the risk of cardiovascular problems over time.
Evidence shows that the atherosclerotic process begins in childhood and progresses slowly into adulthood. Later in life, this often leads to coronary heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States.
To reduce your childs risk, its important to:
- Discourage cigarette smoking.
- Identify and treat high blood pressure.
- Help your child maintain a healthy weight.
- Diagnose and treat diabetes.
- Encourage a healthy diet.
Children age 2 and older should eat a diet that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, fish, whole grains and limits sodium and sugar sweetened foods and drinks.
Why Is Cholesterol Important To Our Bodies
Every cell in the body needs cholesterol, which helps the cell membranes form the layers. These layers protect the contents of the cell by acting as the gatekeeper to what things can enter or leave the cell. It is made by the liver and is also used by the liver to make bile, which helps you digest foods. Cholesterol is also needed to make certain hormones and to produce vitamin D. Your liver makes enough cholesterol to meet your bodys needs for these important functions.
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Red Meat White Meat Or Non
The study examined whether cholesterol levels differed after consuming diets high in red meat compared with diets with similar amounts of protein from white meat or non-meat sources . It also studied whether the results were affected by the amount of saturated fat in each of the diets.
One hundred and thirteen healthy men and women, ages 21 to 65, participated in the study. Each study participant was randomly assigned to either a high- or low-saturated fat diet. Then, for four weeks each, and in varying orders, they consumed protein from either red meat, white meat, or non-meat sources.
All of the foods consumed during the study were provided by the researchers . To reduce the chances that other factors that would affect cholesterol levels, participants were asked to maintain their baseline activity level and abstain from alcohol. They were also advised to maintain their weight during the study period, and their calories were adjusted if their weight shifted.
Dietary Tips To Avoid Cholesterol
The most important thing you can do to reduce your cholesterol level is to maintain a healthy lifestyle. You should try to:
- Increase the amount and variety of fresh fruit, vegetables and wholegrain foods you have each day.
- Choose low or reduced-fat milk, yoghurt and other dairy products or have added calcium soy drinks.
- Choose lean meat .
- Limit fatty meats, including sausages and salami, and choose leaner sandwich meats like turkey breast or cooked lean chicken.
- Have fish at least twice a week.
- Replace butter and dairy blends with polyunsaturated margarines.
- Include foods in your diet that are rich in soluble fibre and healthy fats, such as nuts, legumes and seeds.
- Limit cheese and ice cream to twice a week.
Other storage fats that are transported in blood lipoproteins include triglycerides. When present in high concentrations in the blood, this fat is also a risk for heart attack. Some foods will affect the cholesterol level or the triglyceride level and some will affect both.
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Q&a ‘if Cholesterol Is So Bad Why Do We Have It’
Why do we need cholesterol if it can be so bad for our bodies?
Cholesterol is a fatty substance produced by the liver and used to build cell walls, create a protective glove around nerves and to make other chemicals such as hormones.
Cholesterol gets round our bodies; by combining with protein to form a protective coating around tiny balls of fat absorbed from our diet termed lipoproteins. The purpose of this coating is to hold fat together, so we dont have oil slicks of fat in our bloodstream.
The two lipoproteins usually measured are low-density lipoprotein and high-density lipoprotein . LDL is like a juggernaut big clumps of fat and protein that trundle along the arteries and can only be cleared from our system by the liver. As it travels, fat can break away and enter the artery walls, becoming embedded. This build-up called atherosclerosis causes artery walls to narrow so blood cannot get through, resulting in blood clots that can trigger a heart attack or stroke.
HDL is known as good cholesterol. It is much smaller in size and hoovers up fat deposits from the artery wall as it moves around the body. This is why its important to know how much LDL and HDL are in your blood, as the ratio between these two types of fat is what really matters when it comes to risk.
What causes levels to rise?
How is cholesterol measured?
Good news: You do not have to give up on steak, red wine and dessert to lower your cholesterol
How often do I need to get a test?
Are Statins Really Worth Taking For High Cholesterol
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Research has shown that statins are highly effective in reducing the risk of fatal heart attack and stroke. But some people are reluctant to take these life-saving drugs. They worry about taking medicine every day for the rest of their life or have heard that statins have undesirable side effects. What does science have to say about these concerns and others surrounding statins? We talked to UH interventional cardiologist Ian Neeland, MD, Director of the Center of Cardiovascular Prevention at University Hospitals, to learn more.
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What Factors Affect Cholesterol Levels
A variety of factors can affect your cholesterol levels. They include:
- Diet: Saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol in the food you eat increase cholesterol levels. Try to reduce the amount of saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol in your diet. This will help lower your blood cholesterol level. Saturated and trans fat have the most impact on blood cholesterol.
- Weight: In addition to being a risk factor for heart disease, being overweight can also increase your triglycerides. Losing weight may help lower your triglyceride levels and raise your HDL.
- Exercise: Regular exercise can lower total cholesterol levels. Exercise has the most effect on lowering triglycerides and raising HDL. You should try to be physically active for 30 minutes on most days of the week.
- Age and sex: As we get older,cholesterol levels rise. Before menopause, women tend to have lower total cholesterol levels than men of the same age. After menopause, however, womens LDL levels tend to rise and HDL can drop.
- Heredity: Your genes partly determine how much cholesterol your body makes. High blood cholesterol can run in families.
How Is High Cholesterol Diagnosed
All kids should have their cholesterol checked when they’re between 9 and 11 years old and again when they’re between 17 and 21.
Kids over 2 years old should be tested if they:
- have a parent or other close relative with a total cholesterol higher than 240 mg/dL
- have a family history of cardiovascular disease before age 55 in men and age 65 in women
- have some kinds of medical conditions
- are overweight or obese
- have diabetes, high blood pressure, or smoke cigarettes
Your doctor can order a blood test to check your child’s cholesterol. Your child may have to fast before the test.
According to the National Cholesterol Education Program guidelines, the ranges of total and LDL cholesterol for kids and teens 218 years old are:
mg/dL = milligrams per deciliter
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