Thread: Cholesterol
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Old 06-16-2005, 05:26 PM   #6
White_Shield
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Exclamation High Cholesterol

Everyone needs fat for his or her body to run efficiently. Cholesterol is very important for your cells to perform properly. Without some fat in your body, you are depriving your body of essential building blocks. When a person gets too much fat it is known as high cholesterol. People with high cholesterol have plaque build up in the arteries which causes them to narrow and weaken. When your arteries narrow, they have a hard time getting blood to your vital organs which can lead to heart disease, hardening of the arteries and other serious conditions. It is estimated that one in five adults suffer from high cholesterol.

What is Normal Cholesterol?
According to The National Cholesterol Education Program, if your total number is above 240 you have high cholesterol. If you have a level between 200-239 you have borderline high cholesterol. Your physician may choose to treat it before it gets higher. Any reading above 200 increases your risk for heart disease. Your physician may decide to recommend diet and exercise first to see how much it decreases. If there isn’t a significant decrease, medication may be required. Cholesterol levels can only be measured through a blood test. If you feel you are at risk for this condition please ask your doctor to check your levels. It is recommended that everyone get his or her cholesterol levels checked every five years.

Good Cholesterol VS Bad Cholesterol
There are two numbers you have to be concerned with when evaluating your levels. In simple terms, one is good cholesterol and the other is bad cholesterol. The number that refers to your HDL is considered your good cholesterol. High-density lipoproteins (HDL) refer to the lipoprotein that carries some cholesterol into your bloodstream. HDL is considered good cholesterol because unlike the bad, it doesn’t stay in the body. HDL actually helps to prevent the build up of plaque in your arteries. Low-density lipoproteins (LDL) carry most of the cholesterol. These lipoproteins do not leave the body and can clog your arteries and lead to disease. Your desirable HDL would be 35 or above. Your desirable LDL would be less than 130. For a more detailed explanation check with your physician.
Risk Factors
Some people are more susceptible to high cholesterol. Genetics can play a significant role. If you have a family history of high cholesterol, heart attacks and diabetes, you may be more at risk than the average person. Another factor in reducing cholesterol is your weight. People that are obese are at greater risk. High fat intake significantly will increase your chances of high cholesterol. If you smoke at all or drink alcohol in excess, your chances are greater. If you suffer from Hyperlipidemia, a condition that is caused by excess fat in the blood, again you are in the high-risk category. Certain drugs such as estrogen, birth control pills and corticosteroids are risk factors also.

Prevention
Here are some simple tips that can aid in the reduction of high cholesterol.
• Reduce your fat intake. Try eating more fresh vegetables and decreasing foods such as egg yolks, beef, pork, organ meats, lamb, certain types of oil such as coconut and palm. Be sure to check food labels. Processed foods such as cookies, cakes etc., are usually loaded with bad oils. Look for foods that are low in saturated fats and low in
sodium and cholesterol.

• Exercise is also very important in the reduction of cholesterol levels. Try walking for a minimum of 30 minutes a day.

• Give up smoking and stay out of smoke filled environments. Second hand smoke can
increase your risk just as much as if you were the one smoking.

• Take your blood pressure on a regular basis.

Watch your alcohol intake. Anything over 2 drinks a day increases your risk.

• Mental stress can be a contributing factor. Learn to relax.

• A condition called Hyperlipidemia caused by excess fatty substances in the blood
will raise your risk for heart disease.

• Diabetic patients are more at risk. If diabetes runs in your family get tested so you can
take control early.


Treatment
High cholesterol is usually treated with diet, exercise and sometimes medication. Your doctor will want you to have your levels checked every three months to see if your cholesterol has improved. A simple blood test will be administered to check for liver complications due to some statin drugs.




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