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How to Keep Your Cholesterol in Check
30 Dec. 2013

Keep Your Cholesterol in CheckWatching and keeping your cholesterol level in check is essential for the health benefits and it is not so difficult.

Keeping cholesterol in check is vital for heart disease prevention. Some people can do this through a healthy diet and daily physical exercises that keep the majority of illnesses away. Someone may not like the idea of refusing from hamburgers and whatever junk food, but for those who want to live a healthy life it is a sacrifice worth making.

Cholesterol 101

Cholesterol is a waxy fat-like substance that is naturally present in the bloodstream and in all parts of the body for it to work properly. The body needs cholesterol to produce hormones, vitamin D and for other functions.  Cholesterol our body needs is produced in liver and other body cells, making about 75% of our blood cholesterol. The other 25% come from food.

If there is too much cholesterol in the blood, it causes health problems. It combines with other blood substances and stick to the artery walls forming plaques. Plaques in their turn narrow arteries and can even block them. All this makes your heart work harder to pump blood and may lead to heart attacks and strokes.

High cholesterol has been the cause for concern in heath maintenance for a long time. According to statistics, women have a slightly higher total cholesterol level than men. But due to the fact that men are at a greater risk of heart attack than women and suffer strokes earlier in life than women do, keeping cholesterol level in check is of paramount importance for preventing strokes and heart attacks in men.

Cholesterol: A Numbers Pool

Physicians measure cholesterol by drawing a blood sample after the patient has gone through a 9-hour fast without liquid, food and medication. They consider the three issues:

• Total cholesterol level
• LDL (low density lipoprotein) or bad cholesterol level – the type of cholesterol, which forms atherosclerotic plaques
• HDL (high density lipoprotein) or good cholesterol level – the type of cholesterol, which aids in sweeping the bloodstream of LDL and return it to the liver. The higher the HDL level is, the better are the chances to escape from heart diseases.

At risk of cardiac disease are those who have:imagesmedical consultation

• Total cholesterol level over 239
• LDL level over 190
• HDL level below 35

At borderline risk of cardiac disease are those whose:

• Total cholesterol level is in between 200 and 239
• LDL level is in between 130 and 159
• HDL level is in between 35 and 60

More than 98 million Americans have total cholesterol blood level that raises the risk of ischemic heart disease. Among those 98 millions more than 34 millions are at high risk. It is recommended to have your cholesterol checked every other year to avoid health problems.

Cholesterol: How to Lower the LDL Level

The LDL level rises when people are engaged in overconsumption of rich or junk food. But this is not the only reason. Such health disorders as obesity, diabetes, thyroid dysfunction, hereditary or generic conditions can increase the cholesterol level.

Dietary and lifestyle changes are the first steps on the road of lowering cholesterol levels. Reduce the saturated fats intake – fats that are solid at room temperature like butter, lard or white fat. Research suggests that saturated fat consumption increases the LDL levels. At the same time, unsaturated fat consumption – fats that are liquid at room temperature like vegetable oil – lowers LDL if unsaturated fats are used instead of saturated ones.

The American Heart Association recommends the following diet guidelines for health promotion:

• Watch the calorie intake. The total daily calorie intake from fat shouldn’t exceed 35%
• Up to 7% of total daily calorie intake should be from saturated fats and just 1% from trans fats.
• Do not consume more than 300 milligrams of cholesterol daily. For example, one chicken egg contains 300 mg of cholesterol. So, do not eat other cholesterol containing food the day you eat an egg. In case your cholesterol level is already high, the daily cholesterol intake should be reduced to 200 mg.
• Sodium intake should be reduced to 2,300 mg a day for normal blood pressure and overall cardiovascular health.
• Eat a lot of fruit and vegetables as well as whole grains and high-fiber food, for example, lean meats, poultry and fish. Opt for low-fat or fat-free milk products for the vitamin D and calcium benefits without saturated fats.

Do physical jerks for at least 30 minutes every day. Some people find that regular exercises help increasing their HDL cholesterol level. Exercising also helps control weight, high blood pressure and diabetes – the three risk factors for cardiac diseases. Aerobics in particular is good for heart and lungs.

If the problem of lowering cholesterol level persists, there exist a number of medications for slowing down the rate at which the LDL is produced or for improving the liver ability for the LDL destruction. Consult with your physician about when to consider these drugs administration. Your consulting physician will also help you to shape your diet plan, will elaborate the set of exercises right for you, will find the accommodation of choice and assign you the lifestyle must-dos even if you are on cholesterol lowering medication.

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