What Are The Best Ways To Lower Cholesterol?

People have the impression that cholesterol is a bad thing. That's not true. Cholesterol is important and is used by the body for many different things. The body uses it when creating cell membranes, hormones and bile acid. Unfortunatly, there are a few problems with cholesterol. The body makes enough on its own and any cholesterol that is taken in through the diet is superfluous. This means that the body has to deal with it in some fashion. Moreover, there are different kinds of cholesterol and not all of them are good in excess. LDL, is the chief villain. This is the cholesterol that forms plaque on the inner walls of arteries, which leads to cardiovascular disease. Unfortunately, it is the most common type of cholesterol, making up 70 percent of cholesterol in the body.

The “good” type of cholesterol is HDL. This kind cholesterol is sent to the liver via the bloodstream, where it is turned into bile acids then excreted. As it leaves the body it picks up some LDL cholesterol and takes it along. However, HDL cholesterol can only handle so much LDL at a time. Because of this, the higher the HDL levels are, the better it is for a person’s health. The following are some FAQ about cholesterol.

What Questions Should You Ask To Lower Cholesterol?

1. What are normal cholesterol levels?

Normal cholesterol levels differ by age, and people’s cholesterol levels tend to rise as they get older. This is especially true of men. Medical experts say that the best total cholesterol level for an adult is lower than 200 milligrams per deciliter. A high cholesterol level is anything above 240 mg/dL. Levels of LDL cholesterol should be less than 100 mg/dL, though 100 to 129 are fine if the person has no pre-existing conditions. Then:

  • Borderline: 130 to 159 mg/dL
  • High: 160 to 189 mg/dL
  • Extremely High: 190 mg/dL and above

Levels of HDL cholesterol should be 60 mg/dL or higher.

2. What foods are low in cholesterol?

Most plant-based foods have no cholesterol. If a person doesn’t want to be a strict vegetarian, there are animal-based foods that are low in cholesterol. Some are surprising. They include:

  • Plain vanilla ice cream, which has 59 milligrams of cholesterol per cup
  • Turkey breast, which has 59 mg of cholesterol per 3 ounce serving
  • Egg noodles, which have 53 mg per cup
  • Cod fish, which has 47 mg per 3 ounce serving
  • One homemade bran muffin, which has 41 mg of cholesterol
  • A cup of whole milk, which has 35 mg of cholesterol
  • Butter. Two teaspoons of butter have 21 mg of cholesterol.
  • A cup of buttermilk has 9 mg of cholesterol
  • One slice of a cream pie has 8 mg.

3. How does a person keep their total cholesterol levels healthy?

People should strive for healthy cholesterol levels while they are still young, since getting the levels under control in middle age is going to be that much harder. They should start by eating more plant foods, especially those that are rich in fiber such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes. They might want to substitute red meats for fish or poultry, dairy products that are high in fat with those that are low in fat and foods fried in animal fats for fresh salads with drizzles of extra virgin olive oil. They should have regular, aerobic exercise and never smoke.

4. What are statins?

Statins are medicines that are taken to lower cholesterol levels. These inhibit an enzyme called HMG-CoA reductase that helps the liver synthesize cholesterol. Most health professionals find statins to be safe. Few patients have very severe side effects from them, though some have headache, tingling, bloating, nausea and pain in the abdomen. Statins also seem to increase the risk of cataracts in some people. Doctors prescribe statins for people who are at risk of cardiovascular disease, who have diabetes or who have extremely high LDL cholesterol levels. Some people should not take statins, however. They include women who are pregnant anord nursing, people who are undergoing treatment for HIV and people who are taking drugs that have lower LDL cholesterol levels as a side effect.

5. Are there any symptoms of high cholesterol?

The problem with high cholesterol, or hypercholesterolemia is that there are no symptoms. People discover they have high LDL cholesterol levels after they take a blood test. some people have layers of a pinkish-yellow fat beneath the skin under their eyes, their knees and elbows and around their tendons, but these are admittedly hard to discover. Besides lifestyle and diet, some people are at risk for elevated cholesterol levels because of heredity. In familial hypercholesterolemia, or FH there is a problem with a receptor for LDL in the patient’s liver. Usually, when this receptor takes up the LDL the liver stops making cholesterol. But the liver doesn’t receive this message in FH. The efficacy of the LDL receptors tends to deteriorate with age and some conditions anyway, which is one reason why high cholesterol levels are so prevalent in older people.

It’s important that LDL cholesterol levels be low and HDL levels be high to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. The good news is that this can be done through diet, exercise and medical intervention.

Disclaimer: The articles on this website are not meant to encourage the self-management of any health or wellness issue. Nor are they meant to encourage any one type of medical treatment. Treatment or advice used by a reader may have varying results, as each individual is different. Any article reader with a health-related question, is encouraged to seek a proper consultation with a doctor or certified health provider. The articles on this website should not be used to disregard any medical or health-related advice, nor should they be the root cause for delay in seeing a doctor or a certified health provider.

The articles on this website should not be used to start the use of dietary supplements or vitamins, natural or herbal products, homeopathic medicine or other mentioned products prior to a proper consultation with a doctor or certified health provider.

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