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All about cholesterol LDL cholesterol effects of LDL cholesterol HDL cholesterol HDL cholesterol benefits raising HDL Cholesterol level testing and measuring cholesterol cholesterol readings monitoring cholesterol causes of high cholesterol high cholesterol risk factors symptoms of high cholesterol triglycerides testing triglycerides therapy to lower cholesterol low cholesterol diet cholesterol recipes cholesterol medications nutritional supplements to reduce cholesterol low cholesterol food

How to lower LDL cholesterol levels?

In order to lower LDL cholesterol, the activity level of the low-density lipoprotein receptors must be increased. LDL receptor activities can be increased by diets that are low in cholesterol and saturated fats and by medications. Treatment of high cholesterol is aimed at lowering the low-density lipoproteins (LDL) or "bad cholesterol," lowering triglyceride levels, and increasing the high-density lipoproteins (HDL) or "good cholesterol." Decreasing total cholesterol by 10% can result in a 30% reduction in coronary heart disease incidence.

For every 1% decrease in low-density lipoprotein (bad cholesterol levels), heart disease rates drop 2%. On the other hand, for every 1% decrease in HDL, there is a 2-3% increase in the risk of heart disease.

Lowering low-density lipoprotein cholesterol involves losing excess weight, exercising regularly, and following a diet that is low in saturated fat and cholesterol. Medications are prescribed when diet and exercise cannot reduce the LDL cholesterol to acceptable levels. The most effective and widely used medications to lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol are called statins. Other medications used in lowering low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and in altering cholesterol profiles include nicotinic acid (niacin), fibrates such as gemfibrozil (Lopid), and resins such as cholestyramine (Questran).

The decision to start a patient with dietary therapy or drug therapy is usually based on a patient's LDL cholesterol levels, presence of heart disease, and risk factors. Your doctor should calculate your "10-year risk" for developing heart disease and use that risk estimation to decide if and when to start cholesterol-lowering therapy either through dietary modifications or medications.

More information on cholesterol

What is cholesterol? - Cholesterol is a steroid lipid, found in the cell membranes of all body tissues, and transported in the blood plasma, of all animals.
What is LDL cholesterol? - Low-density lipoprotein (or "bad") cholesterol carries the largest amount of cholesterol in the blood and is responsible for depositing cholesterol in the artery walls. An elevated LDL cholesterol level is associated with a greater risk of heart disease.
Why is LDL cholesterol considered "bad"? - When too much LDL cholesterol circulates in the blood, it can slowly build up in the inner walls of the arteries that feed the heart and brain.
What is HDL cholesterol? - High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol is one of several types of fats and is measured as 'Total Cholesterol'. HDL is thought to pick up cholesterol from body tissues and bring it back to the liver for reprocessing or excretion.
Why is HDL cholesterol considered "good"? - Because HDL clears cholesterol out of the system and high levels of it are associated with a decreased risk of heart disease, HDL is often called "good" cholesterol.
How to raise HDL Cholesterol (good cholesterol)? - Regular aerobic exercise, loss of excess weight (fat), and cessation of cigarette smoking cigarettes will increase HDL cholesterol levels.
How cholesterol is measured and tested? - Cholesterol is measured in units called millimoles per litre of blood, usually shortened to "mmol/litre" or "mmol/l".
What're the cholesterol readings? - Cholesterol readings you receive from your medical provider generally include total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and high density lipoproteins cholesterol levels.
How often should my cholesterol be checked? - According to a new set of national guidelines governing cholesterol measurement and treatment, it is recommended that the level be treated every 5 years.
What causes high cholesterol? - High cholesterol is caused by eating a diet that is high in saturated fats and cholesterol. Some people, however, have an inherited disorder in which the body cannot properly metabolize cholesterol.
What are the high cholesterol risk factors? - A diet high in certain types of fats is one factor. Medical problems such as poorly controlled diabetes, an underactive thyroid gland, an overactive pituitary gland, liver disease or kidney failure also may cause high cholesterol levels.
What're the symptoms of high cholesterol? - People with severely elevated cholesterol may have fat deposits in tendons and skin, liver and spleen enlargement, and abdominal pain if pancreatitis develops.
What are triglycerides? - Triglycerides are another type of fat that is associated with adverse health consequences. Many patients with high cholesterol also have high triglycerides.
How to test triglycerides? - For triglycerides testing, blood is drawn from a vein in the arm. A vein at the inside of the elbow or on the back of the hand is usually selected.
How can LDL cholesterol levels be lowered? - Lowering low-density lipoprotein cholesterol involves losing excess weight, exercising regularly, and following a diet that is low in saturated fat and cholesterol.
How to reduce cholesterol with dietary therapy? - A low-fat, low-cholesterol diet is desired to keep your total fat consumption--saturated, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated--to fewer than 30 percent of your daily intake of calories.
What about when I go out to eat? - Avoid fried foods. Entrees covered with sauces, as well as creamy dressing, thick soups and casseroles should be avoided because they are usually rich in fat. Look for items labeled "heart-healthy" on the menu.
What cholesterol medications are available to lower cholesterol? - Cholesterol-reducing drugs include cholestyramine (Questran), colestipol (Colestid), gemfibrozil (Lopid), lovastatin (Mevacor), pravastatin (Pravachol) and simvastatin (Zocor).
What nutritional supplements are available to reduce cholesterol? - Artichoke is particularly helpful in relieving gastrointestinal problems that result from an inability to adequately process fats. Garlic assists the heart for centuries and has been used in herbal medicines for all manner of conditions.
What cholesterol lowering food are there? - Eating more fiber-rich foods may help to lower your blood cholesterol level. Soy products are also linked to reduced cholesterol because of their isoflavone content.
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All information is intended for reference only. Please consult your physician for accurate medical advices and treatment. Copyright 2005, health-cares.net, all rights reserved. Last update: July 18, 2005