When cholesterol starts creeping up past 200
When total cholesterol begins to creep up past 200 mg/dL, it’s time to change diet . If it reaches 240 mg/dL or higher, then the body is at high risk of coronary artery disease and cardiac death . The risk is only accentuated if LDL cholesterol is higher than 160 mg/dL and HDL cholesterol is lower than 40 mg/dL (50 for women) .
So, what can be done? Takng cholestyramine and colestipol will help promote excretion of bile . The “statins” atorvastatin, lovastatin and simvastatin can block key enzymes that synthesize cholesterol . Even niacin in the form of nicotinic acid can help through its effects on widening blood vessels . But the benefits of these drugs and the vitamin are extremely limited, because if treatment is stopped, cholesterol can and probably will go back up again unless there is a change of diet . The drugs can also have possible side effects such as liver damage, muscle pain and break down, and kidney problems .
A change in diet and lifestyle is most important. Regular exercise, particularly aerobic exercise, increases HDL cholesterol, which in turn helps to lower total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol . In addition, according to Mayo Clinic, the top five foods for lowering cholesterol are oat bran (soluble fiber), nuts, fish oil, olive oil, and plant sterols . Soluble fiber included with meals may reduce absorption of cholesterol, nuts like walntus and almonds can replace high-saturated fat and high-cholesterol foods because their lipid profile includes PUFAs, fish helps to lower TGs through its content of omega-3 oils, olive oil PUFAs and antioxidants help (avoid lite olive oil), and plant sterols block absorption of cholesterol .
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4. Mayo Clinic.Statins: Are these cholesterol-lowering drugs right for you? Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/statins/CL00010. Accessed on November 25, 2008.
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6. Mayo Clinic. Cholesterol: The top 5 foods to lower your numbers. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/cholesterol/CL00002. Accessed on November 25, 2008.