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Why Is My Cholesterol High

Watch Your Alcohol Consumption

Why High LDL Cholesterol on the Ketogenic Diet? Dr. Berg

Weve talked about nutrition and physical activity, but alcohol consumption can definitely impact your cholesterol levels, said Dr. Kirley, adding that alcohol can raise triglyceride and cholesterol levels in your blood.

If triglyceride levels become too high, they can contribute to health problems like heart disease and fatty liver disease, she added. I find that many patients dont realize that alcohol can affect cholesterol and triglycerides, and this is just another reason to minimize alcohol consumption.

High Cholesterol Runs In The Family

Oftentimes, one of the biggest factors that determines your cholesterol levels is your genes, said Dr. Kirley. How your genes affect your cholesterol is pretty complicated, but its safe to say that high cholesterol tends to run in families.

For most people, genetic testing isnt necessary or helpful unless they have very high cholesterol levels, she added. And because genes are something we cant change this is why medications are an important tool for treating high cholesterol.

How To Lower Cholesterol

If you have high cholesterol, your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes to help lower it. For instance, they may recommend changes to your diet, exercise habits, or other aspects of your daily routine. If you smoke, they will likely advise you to quit.

Your doctor may also prescribe medications or other treatments to help lower your cholesterol levels. In some cases, they may refer you to a specialist for more care.

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What Does The Term Total Cholesterol Mean

The term total cholesterol refers to the total amount of the different kinds of cholesterol in your blood. One kind of cholesterol is the LDL cholesterol. Another kind is the HDL cholesterol. LDL stands for low-density lipoprotein. LDL is the bad cholesterol. HDL stands for high-density lipoprotein. HDL is the good cholesterol.

What Happens When You Eat Too Much Dietary Cholesterol

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With high cholesterol, you can develop fatty deposits in your blood vessels. Eventually, these deposits grow, making it difficult for enough blood to flow through your arteries. Sometimes these deposits can suddenly rupture and form a clot that causes a heart attack or stroke.

How does your diet affect your cholesterol levels?

The biggest influence on blood cholesterol levels is the mix of fats and carbohydrates in your diet, not the amount of cholesterol you consume from food. While its still important to limit the amount of cholesterol you eat, especially if you have diabetes, for most people dietary cholesterol isnt as problematic as once believed.

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Taking Time To Stay Active

If a person is not at a moderate weight or has obesity, they may have an increased risk of high LDL cholesterol. If a person is not very active and has a high body mass index , they may need to increase their activity levels.

Adults should aim to complete 150 minutes of physical activity a week. A weekly routine may include 30 minutes of exercise over 5 days. A person could try cardio, for example, such as brisk walking or running. Muscle-strengthening activities such as hill walking or resistance weight training may also help with maintaining moderate weight levels.

Home Remedies To Lower Cholesterol Naturally

In some cases, you may be able to lower your cholesterol levels without taking medications. For example, it may be enough to eat a nutritious diet, exercise regularly, and avoid smoking tobacco products.

Some people also claim that certain herbal and nutritional supplements may help lower cholesterol levels. For instance, claims have been made about:

However, the level of evidence supporting these claims varies. Also, the Food and Drug Administration hasnt approved any of these products for treating high cholesterol. More research is needed to learn if they can help treat this condition.

Always talk with your doctor before taking any herbal or nutritional supplements. In some cases, they might interact with other medications youre taking.

You cant control the genetic risk factors for high cholesterol. However, lifestyle factors can be managed.

To lower your risk of developing high cholesterol:

  • Eat a nutritious diet thats low in cholesterol and animal fats, and high in fiber.
  • Avoid excessive alcohol consumption.
  • E.xercise regularly.
  • Avoid smoking.

Follow your doctors recommendations for routine cholesterol screening. If youre at risk of high cholesterol or coronary heart disease, they will likely encourage you to get your cholesterol levels tested on a regular basis.

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Neck Pain And Headaches

Because high cholesterol leads to the blocking of arteries, theres a good chance that the blood flow to and from your head can be disturbed. The result is a sore neck and sudden headaches on an occasional basis, and you might even deal with some pain in your shoulders as well. A nagging headache in the back is a very good indication of excessive cholesterol levels according to doctors.

How To Decrease Your Cholesterol Levels

High Cholesterol | What All Patients Need to Know

In most people, high HDL is not harmful, so it doesnt necessarily require treatment. The action plan depends largely on how high your levels are, as well as your overall medical history. Your doctor can help determine whether you need to actively lower HDL levels or not.

Your overall cholesterol levels may be decreased by:

  • not smoking
  • drinking alcohol in moderate amounts only
  • getting moderate exercise
  • reducing saturated fats in your diet
  • managing underlying health conditions, such as thyroid diseases

The American Heart Association recommends that everyone over the age of 20 gets a cholesterol test every four to six years. You may need to test more frequently if you have risk factors for high cholesterol, such as family history.

More research is needed to further understand how high HDL can be harmful in certain people. If you have a personal or family history of either high cholesterol levels or C-reactive proteins, talk to your doctor about steps you can take to regularly monitor your HDL levels.

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Causes Of High Cholesterol

Eating too many foods that are high in cholesterol, saturated fats, and trans fats may increase your risk of developing high cholesterol. Living with obesity can also increase your risk. Other lifestyle factors that can contribute to high cholesterol include inactivity and smoking.

Your genetics can also affect your chances of developing high cholesterol. Genes are passed down from parents to children. Certain genes instruct your body on how to process cholesterol and fats. If your parents have high cholesterol, you may be at a greater risk of having it too.

In rare cases, high cholesterol is caused by familial hypercholesterolemia. This genetic disorder prevents your body from removing LDL. According to the National Human Genome Research Institute , most adults with this condition have total cholesterol levels above 300 milligrams per deciliter and LDL levels above 200 milligrams per deciliter.

Other health conditions, such as diabetes and hypothyroidism, may also increase your risk of developing high cholesterol and related complications.

What Causes Hdl To Drop

Cholesterol statistics show several lifestyle factors can have a big effect on your bodys levels of HDL cholesterol, according to the Cleveland Clinic, including the following:

  • Diet. Eating a diet that is low infruits and vegetables and high in trans fats, processed meats and refinedcarbohydrates like sugar all negatively affect HDL levels.
  • Exercise. A sedentary lifestyle whereyou dont get enough exercise also has a negative effect.
  • Obesity. Having high body weight isanother factor that seems to negatively affect HDL levels.
  • Smoking. Smoking has also been shownto decrease HDL levels.
  • High blood sugar and blood pressure.Poor management of both of these cardiovascular issues can also pose problemsfor your HDL cholesterol levels.

The Mayo Clinic also notes that certain medications, such as those containing testosterone or anabolic steroids, can lower HDL levels.

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Can Heart Patients Eat Cake

It is rare to find cookies, cakes, and muffins. Sugar is typically added to them, which leads to weight gain as a result. As well as raising triglyceride levels, they can also lead to heart disease if consumed in large quantities. White flour is usually the main ingredient, which can spike your blood sugar and make you hungrier.

Stress And Cholesterol Link

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There is compelling evidence that your level of stress can cause an increase in bad cholesterol indirectly. For example, one study found that stress is positively linked to having less healthy dietary habits, a higher body weight, and a less healthy diet, all of which are known risk factors for high cholesterol. This was found to be especially true in men.

Another study that focused on over 90,000 people found that those who self-reported being more stressed at work had a greater chance of being diagnosed with high cholesterol. This may be because the body releases a hormone called cortisol in response to stress. High levels of cortisol from long-term stress may be the mechanism behind how stress can increase cholesterol. Adrenaline may also be released, and these hormones can trigger a fight or flight response to deal with the stress. This response will then trigger triglycerides, which can boost bad cholesterol.

Regardless of the physical reasons why stress can impact cholesterol, multiple studies show a positive correlation between high stress and high cholesterol. While there are other factors that can contribute to high cholesterol, it seems that stress can be one, too.

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Which Foods Increase Ldl Cholesterol Levels

Your diet plays a massive role in determining your cholesterol levels. Foods high in trans fats, saturated fats, and salts can be especially dangerous. These include:

  • Red meats
  • Donuts, cookies, crackers, and other baked goods
  • Fast foods
  • Chicken with the skin on
  • Cured or processed meats

Many food items you find in the store may have trans and saturated fats and high sodium, so make sure to carefully read the nutrition information before buying.

Complications Of High Cholesterol

Since high cholesterol alone typically doesnt cause any symptoms, people only experience complications when their high cholesterol contributes to the development of severe heart disease, often in the form of heart attack or stroke. Over the long term, high cholesterol can cause plaque to form in your arteries, which can then narrow and lead to a cardiovascular emergency.

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Natural Remedies And Lowering Cholesterol

Its very important to talk to your health professional before using any:

  • supplements
  • 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.

Prevention Of High Cholesterol

Why Did My Cholesterol Go Up on a Ketogenic Diet?

Regularly monitoring your cholesterol levels can also help prevent your numbers from getting too high or low. In general, healthy adults should check their cholesterol every four to six years, but your doctor may ask to check your cholesterol more often depending on your age, overall health, and other risk factors. There are other ways to prevent high cholesterol, too

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Why Should I Lower My Cholesterol

Evidence strongly indicates that high cholesterol can increase the risk of:

This is because cholesterol can build up in the artery wall, restricting the blood flow to your heart, brain and the rest of your body. It also increases the risk of a blood clot developing somewhere in your body.

Your risk of developing coronary heart disease also rises as your blood’s cholesterol level increases. This can cause pain in your chest or arm during stress or physical activity .

What Happens If You Have High Cholesterol

What does high cholesterol mean?

High cholesterol means there is too much cholesterol in your blood. This can clog up your arteries the large blood vessels that carry blood around your body. Over time, this can lead to serious problems.

How does cholesterol clog up your arteries?

Excess cholesterol can be laid down in the walls of your arteries. Fatty areas known as plaques can form, and these become harder with time, making the arteries stiffer and narrower. This process is called atherosclerosis.

  • Narrowed arteries

    When the arteries become narrower, its harder for blood to flow through them. This puts a strain on your heart because it has to work harder to pump blood around your body. Eventually, the heart can become weak and cant work as well as it should.

  • Blood clots

    Blood clots can form over the fatty, hardened parts of the arteries. The blood clots can block the artery completely, cutting off the blood flow. Bits of the blood clots can break away and become lodged in an artery or vein in another part of the body, which can cause a heart attack or stroke.

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What To Do If A Low

Low-carb and ketogenic diets are incredibly healthy.

They have clear, potentially life-saving benefits for some of the worlds most serious diseases.

This includes obesity, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, epilepsy and numerous others.

The most common heart disease risk factors tend to improve greatly, for most people .

According to these improvements, low-carb dietsshould reduce the risk of heart disease.

But even if these risk factors improve on average, there can be individuals within those averages that experience improvements, and others who see negative effects.

There appears to be a small subset of people who experience increased cholesterol levels on a low-carb diet, especially a ketogenic diet or a very high fat version of paleo.

This includes increases in Total and LDL cholesterol as well as increases in advanced markers like LDL particle number.

Of course, most of these risk factors were established in the context of a high-carb, high-calorie Western diet and we dont know if they have the same effects on a healthy low-carb diet that reduces inflammation and oxidative stress.

However it is better to be safe than sorry and I think that these individuals should take some measures to get their levels down, especially those who have a family history of heart disease.

Fortunately, you dont need to go on a low-fat diet, eat veggie oils or take statins to get your levels down.

How Can I Lower My Cholesterol

#lowcholesteroldiet do you have high level of cholesterol?

Talk with your healthcare provider about the best way to lower your cholesterol. Some people only need some simple lifestyle changes like eating less saturated fat. Others need lifestyle changes plus medication. People with medical conditions that affect their cholesterol may need a more complex approach. Talk with your provider about your medical history, family history and lifestyle factors. Together, youll come up with a plan for lowering your cholesterol numbers.

Remember that even the best plans take time to work. And we all have setbacks. Its OK to struggle, and its also OK to tell your provider when a plan isnt working. Sometimes even the strictest lifestyle changes dont lower your cholesterol numbers enough. Thats because most of your bodys cholesterol is produced by your liver. So, many other factors come into play that are out of your control and have nothing to do with whats on your dinner plate.

Take things one step at a time, and remember that having high cholesterol isnt a personal failure. Its a result of many small changes quietly happening inside your body. Take control of what you can, but know that medications and other medical interventions are there to fill in the gaps.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 05/24/2022.

References

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Sneaky Causes Of High Cholesterol

If youre doing all you can to lower your cholesterol, but your numbers are still high, know that youre not alone. Here are some of the most common reasons.

1. You have a genetic risk of high cholesterol. If youre someone who has a relatively healthy lifestyle and your cholesterol levels are high if you have an LDL greater than 160 you probably have some genetic component that leads to high cholesterol, says Raj Khandwalla, MD, cardiologist and director of digital therapeutics at Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles. Familial hypercholesterolemia is an inherited condition that leads to cholesterol accumulating in the bloodstream, according to the FH Foundation.

Once you receive a diagnosis of high cholesterol, your doctor may prescribe a statin, a type of medication that blocks a substance your body uses to make cholesterol. Statins help lower LDL cholesterol, which reduces the risk of stroke or death from a heart attack, Dr. Khandwalla says.

2. Youre following a trendy diet. Khandwalla emphasizes that people who have high cholesterol should avoid the keto diet, a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet touted for weight loss. The most effective diets to lower cholesterol are a plant-based diet or vegan diet in which you decrease your dietary intake of cholesterol, says Khandwalla. If you still want to include meat in your diet, stick to lean proteins, such as chicken, turkey, and fish.

Treatment For High Cholesterol

Lifestyle changes are one of the first things your doctor will recommend for managing high cholesterol. All medications can cause side effects, including medications to lower your cholesterol, and many people can successfully lower their cholesterol without them. Your doctor will determine which treatment approach is best for you.

Lifestyle changes that can help lower your cholesterol include:

  • Adenosine triphosphate-citrate lyase inhibitors

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