Can Controlling Cholesterol Level Improve Your Heart Condition?

There are many different opinions shared by leading Cardio Vascular Consultants as to the main cause of Heart Attacks and Strokes. Lifestyle, Inherited, Hypertension, Cholesterol, Stress, I could go on but these were all cited by my surgeon pre triple bypass operation in 2005.

Below is an article by Wes Piontczak that I thought was worth sharing on my blog.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading killer of men and women in the United States claiming one million lives each year. Cardiovascular disease includes diseases of the heart, but it also includes stroke, and blockages in the other arteries in the body. It is important to know that almost a half of the deaths are due to coronary heart disease.

Coronary artery disease develops when cholesterol is deposited and absorbed into the wall of the vessel within the heart. Blood white cells trying to consume cholesterol molecules loose the battle, rupture and form plugs. Plugs lead to narrowing the vessel, and can cause intermediate chest pain known as angina. But if the plug ruptures, a clod is formed that can block the vessel and lead to heart attack.

Cholesterol is one of the most well established risk factors that we have for the heart disease. It has been proven without any shadow of the doubt that it is the major risk factor for the heart disease and by lowering it, you can prevent heart disease.

There are two major types of cholesterol. The first one in low density cholesterol (LDL), as it is sometimes called the “bad” cholesterol, and on the opposite side is high density cholesterol (HDL) – a “good” one.

Additional considerations are the triglycerides, which are another type of fat found in the blood. Triglycerides are also important. They are also contained in the plug buildup that leads to heart disease.

When doctors measure a person’s cholesterol levels the goal is to have the LDL level less than 100 miligrams (mg) per deciliter (dL). For HDL the higher, the better. Greater than 40 mg/dL for men and 50mg/dL for women. Triglycerides level should be less than 150 mg/dL.

Physicians agree that the closer the closer a patient’s levels are to the optimal levels, the less risk they face of a heart attack or stroke. They do not really talk about the total cholesterol anymore. It is not as predictive in terms of future heart decease risk  as knowing the specific levels of the “good” or “bad” cholesterol.

How someone can manage healthy cholesterol level? One way is to understand where the cholesterol comes from. Cholesterol comes from two sources: there is the cholesterol in food, and there is one found in your body. So it is very important when we think about methods to lower cholesterol, we have to think about reducing it in the diet. But we also, in some situations, need to reduce the amount that our bodies make.

There are many dietary steps an individual can take to manage their cholesterol levels. These include:

– limiting fat from the diet, particularly saturated fat (i.e. meat, milk, etc.) and trans fats (i.e. shortening, packaged food, margarine, etc.).
– limiting cholesterol rich food (i.e. eggs).
– increase fiber intake.

The result from dietary changes can be mixed. They vary from person to person.

A second way to manage cholesterol is through usage of cholesterol lowering drugs, the most common of which are “statins,” which lower LDL levels by inhibiting cholesterol production. There are classes of drugs that primarily work on improving the levels of “good” HDL cholesterol, and lowering triglyceride levels. They are called “Niacyn” and “Fibrate” therapy.

But drug treatment is not for everyone. Many people can control their cholesterol by changing their lifestyle: increasing physical activity, maintaining a healthy weight, and quitting smoking.

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