Strategies for Lowering Cholesterol

Strategies for Lowering Cholesterol

Presented By: Sue Jordan, R.N., Founder and Director of liveitwell™

What is cholesterol?  Cholesterol is a waxy fat-like substance  that your liver produces naturally. It’s vital for the formation of cell membranes, vitamin D and certain hormones.

Two forms of cholesterol:

  1. LDL-Low density lipoprotein, “Lousy” Cholesterol”
  2. HDL-High density lipoprotein, “Healthy Cholesterol”
Test Desired Result Explanation
Total Cholesterol Less than 200 High cholesterol levels are associated with an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
HDL Cholesterol Men: Greater than 40
Women: Greater than 50
The “healthy” cholesterol
High HDL levels tend to protect against heart disease and stroke.
LDL Cholesterol Below 100 The “lousy” cholesterol
High LDL levels are associated with an increased risk of heart disease and stroke. High levels contribute to plaque build up.

What is the role of the liver with cholesterol? The liver produces the cholesterol and triglycerides.  The HDL helps to return the LDL back to the liver, which in turn lowers the LDL.  It is important to keep the liver clean as possible.

What is family hypercholesterolemia vs high cholesterol? Family hypercholesterolemia is largely due to the passing on of genes from parents to children that would tend to increase the levels of cholesterol in the blood.  Having a genetic risk, doesn’t guarantee you’ll have increased cholesterol, just means you are at an increased risk.

Obesity and large waist circumference: Some people are genetically predisposed toward obesity or a large waist circumference.  Both can increase your risk for high cholesterol.  Lifestyle factors also play a role in these 2 risk factors.  A large waist circumference 40” or more for men and 35” or more for females, increases the risk of elevated cholesterol and other cardiovascular complications.

Elevated Blood Sugar:  Can increase your LDL. High levels of sugar in your blood, can damage the lining of your arteries, which can increase the risk of fatty deposits building up in your arteries. Some people are genetically pre-disposed, but, lifestyle choices can contribute to high sugar.

Lifestyle factors: Some risk factors for high cholesterol can be completely controlled by lifestyle choices. These include:  diet, exercise and smoking.

  1. Diet: Eating a diet high in saturated and trans fat, can lead to high cholesterol.
  2. Exercise: Can decrease the LDL and increase the HDL
  3. Smoking: Can increase LDL, as plaque tends to increase on arterial walls.

Treatment and Prevention: 

  • Lifestyle changes: Changing unhealthy habits into healthy habits.  Try to make healthy choices, eating a diet rich in fiber, unsaturated fats.  Healthy choices that tend to lower LDL:  green veggies such as brussel sprouts, broccoli, lentils, beans, oatmeal, whole grain bread vs processed white bread.  Bake and broil protein choices vs frying them.  Eat lean protein choices such as chicken and turkey. Omega 3’s:  flax or fish oil, salmon, green beans. Identify stressors and choose healthy stress relievers
  • Regular exercise: At least 150 minutes/week of moderate to high intensity.  Consistency is important!
  • Stop smoking: talk to your Doctor
  • Maintain healthy weight
  • Limit alcohol and processed sweets

Categories: Wellness

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