Friday, April 23, 2021

101 Ways to Lower Your Cholesterol

 In mid-March, I went to the emergency room after feeling tightness in my throat, jaw, and upper-chest. After a variety of tests and an overnight stay in the hospital, there was no indication of a heart attack which was good. However, there were some unusual things I learned about my aorta as well as that I had high cholesterol. 

Having been eating healthier since January 1st, I was surprised at the numbers as were the doctors. However, with a family history of high cholesterol on both sides, it is not surprising that this eventually would be passed along to me. 

So, I found a book at the library called 101 Ways to Lower Your Cholesterol

Some of the things I'd already been doing. However, there are some other good suggestions and general information:

- Plaque is composed of oxidized LDL's and calcium in the bloodstream, as well as other cellular debris, or litter, that gets caught in the fatty (lipd) deposits. As the deposit grows larger, it hardens from the increase in the amount of calcium. IT is living and growing....Eventually, the buildup of plaque can decrease or block blood flow to the hart or to the brain, starving these organs of essential oxygen and causing chest pains, a heart attack, or a stroke. 

- You should fast for at least 9-12 hours before you have a lipid profile test.

- Several factors affect the total cholesterol levels including:

- Your diet -foods that come from animals (such as meat and eggs) contain cholesterol. Foods high in saturated fats, such as meats and dairy products, are converted into cholesterol in your body. 

- Your weight - people who lose as little as 10% of their total body weight have seen improvements in cholesterol levels.

- Your level of physical activity - people who are physically active on a regular basis have higher levels of HDL or good cholesterol.

- Whether you effectively manage stress - mental and emotional stress can adversely affect heart health.

- Your family history - family hypercholesterolemia strikes one in 500 children. The strongest risk factor for heart disease is hereditary. 

- The circulatory system includes the heart, lungs, and all of the blood vessels. In the average person, these vessels would be 100,000 miles long if laid end-to-end. 

- Each day and night, the average heart beats approximately 100,000 times and pumps 2,000 gallons of blood. Over a normal lifespan, the heart will beat more than 2.5 billion times.

- Warning signs of a heart attack:

- Uncomfortable pressure, fullness, squeezing, or pain in the center of your chest that lasts for more than a few minutes, or that recurs.

- Pain that spreads from the chest to the shoulders, neck, jaw, or arms.

- Chest discomfort combined with lightheadedness, fainting, sweating, nausea, or shortness of breath. 

- Atypical chest, stomach, or abdominal pain.

- Nausea or dizziness.

 - Shortness of breath followed by difficult breathing.

- Unexplained anxiety, weakness, or fatigue.

- Heart palpitations, accompanied by a cold sweat or pale skin.

- Your blood pressure should be lower than 120 mmHg over 80 mmHg.

- Blood pressure can be managed by losing as little as 5-10 pounds of weight, exercising regularly, eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, and low-fat or nonfat dairy products, and reducing stress.

- Moderate-intensity exercise - at a minimum of 30 minutes a day on most days of the week - can have a powerful impact on improving your health.

-  LDL cholesterol level is considered high if it is greater than 160 mg/dL. LDL should be less than 100 mg/dL.

- A total cholesterol greater than 240 mg/dL is considered high risk. It should be less than 200 to be considered healthy.

- Behavioral change model shows that there are five stages. The fourth stage is "Action" and it is the first six-month period of starting up a new exercise program, following a new eating pattern or integrating new methods of relaxation into your day. Studies show that it typically takes two months to develop a habit and that as many as 50% of people who start a new program drop out within the first six months. 

- The fifth stage of the behavioral change model is "Maintenance." This is the ideal conclusion to an effort in making a change. This is when a person has been exercising regularly for at least six months, for example. The odds of giving up this new habit after that length of time are low. The behavior becomes self-motivating because it is easy to feel the benefits and rewards of the healthy activity. 

- Write down the top five things that are important to you (e.g., family, health, community, hobby, volunteer work). On the same piece of paper, list the top five activities that take up most of your time in an average day. Compare the two lists. Do you have a good match? Or have you realized that you are neglecting some things that are very important to you?

- Remember to reward yourself for your good behavior. If you have stuck to your eating plan or exercise schedule for four weeks, reward yourself with a massage or buy yourself some new exercise clothing. 

- The American Heart Association guidelines recommend the following foods: 

- 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day

- 6 servings of grains a day

-2 servings of fatty fish per week

- Fat-free and low-fat dairy products

- Legumes (beans)

- Poultry

- Lean meats


- Steaks, chops, hamburger, sausage, processed meats (lunchmeat, hot dogs, salami) and fatty cuts of meat are all common sources of saturated fats. Dairy products are rich in saturated fat (cheese, butter, whole milk, 2% milk, ice cream, whole-milk yougurt). Reduce or eliminate these to lower your LDL cholesterol levels.

- Trans fats are more harmful to your health than saturated fats. They are found in commercially-processed foods such as pies, doughnuts, cookies, chips, candy, pastries, shortening, and fried fast food. Also found in cereals, crackers, stick margarine, and lard. 


- Eating one egg per day by a person who does not have known CVD or elevated lipid levels did not contribute to elevated blood cholesterol levels.

- Look for "whole," "whole wheat," or "Whole grain" products.

- Increase soluble fiber by 5-10 grams per day to reduce LDL cholesterol by as much as 5%. Whole wheat, whole oats, barley, rye, oat brain, rice bran, corn bran, and psyllium seeds all contain soluable fiber.

- Fish is a good source of protein that does not contain harmful saturated animal fats. Salmon, tuna, herring, and mackerel are good dietary sources of medga-3 fatty acids. 

- Monounsaturated fats reduce total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels. Some foods include nuts, avocados, and plant oils such as olive, canola, and peanut.

- Enjoy fruit-based desserts (e.g., poached pears, baked apples, fresh-fruit sorbets).

- Include a grain-based food at every meal.

- Prepare desserts with fruit and whole grains (e.g., apple crisp).

- Use whole-grain tortillas or pita breads to make healthy chips for dips or salsa.

- Try sandwiches on hearty whole-grain breads with fresh tomatoes, lettuce, avocados, and sprouts. Use bean dips such as hummus on the sandwich for protein. 

- Meat from grass-fed cattle has about one-half to one-third the fat as meat from grain-fed cattle. Grass-fed beef is lower in calories and higher in vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids.

- Avoid completely, if you can, processed meats (e.g., lunchmeat, salami, bologna, pepperoni, sausage).

- Choose products from dairy cows that have been fed grass diets. 

- Vetables such as broccoli, chard, greens, and artichokes are all great sources of dietary calcium as well as calcium-fortified orange juice and some whole-grain cereals. 

- Regular physical activity lowers bad cholesterol and triglycerides and increases good cholesterol. It also reduces risk of death from all causes, reduces feelings of depression and anxiety, and helps build and maintain healthy bones, muscles, and joints.

- Exercise should be moderate intensity, such as brisk walking.

- More activity and a higher intensity will provide greater health and fitness benefits.

- Take the time to find a comfortable, sturdy shoe and provides good arch support.

- Get sportswear that breathes, such as cotton or polyester blends. 

- Get a pedometer to measure your progress. If you take 12,000 to 15,000 steps per day, it can help you accomplish your weight-loss goals.

- Long-term stress is associated with elevated blood cholesterol levels. 

- When you feel overwhelmed, ask yourself:

- Am I overcommitted?

- Am I taking care of others and neglecting my own self-care?

- Am I trying to accomplish everything on my own without asking for any support from anyone else?

- Are my expectations unrealistic?

- What is going on in my life right now that gives me a sense of struggle?

- Make time for self-care.

- Satins such as Crestor (rosuvastatin) impact cholesterol levels within 4-6 weeks. After about 6-8 weeks, your health care provider will retest your cholesterol levels to determine the effectiveness of the statin therapy and whether the dose requires adjustment. 

1 comment:

Rita said...

Oh, so sorry to hear that! Had to be scary. So I guess a new food adventure is before you. I hope it helps change things soon. Best of luck!! *hugs* :) :)