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Cholesterol In Review

Aug 17, 2007
As someone who is affected personally with the task of lowering my own cholesterol levels, I would like to share some of the steps you can take to decrease your bad cholesterol and raise your good cholesterol.

I have a B.S. in Biological Science with a minor in Human Physiology. Although I offer educated information and research, the information in this article should not be used in substitute for a doctor's recommendation, and is not intended to cure any disease.

Cholesterol travels through the blood attached to a protein. This cholesterol-protein package is called a lipoprotein. Lipoproteins are either high density or low density, depending on how much protein they have in relation to fat. Lipoproteins with more protein than fat are called high-density lipoproteins (HDL). Lipoproteins with more fat than protein are called low-density lipoproteins (LDL).

High-density lipoprotein cholesterol is sometimes called "good" cholesterol. HDL cholesterol helps remove LDL cholesterol from the body by binding with it in the bloodstream and carrying it back to the liver for disposal. A high level of HDL cholesterol appears to lower your risk of developing heart disease and stroke.
Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol is sometimes called "bad" cholesterol. LDL cholesterol collects inside the walls of the arteries and often contributes to the formation of plaque. LDL cholesterol is calculated from the total cholesterol, HDL, and triglyceride levels.

A high LDL cholesterol level is considered a risk factor for coronary artery disease (CAD) because, under certain conditions, it can cause hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis).Cholesterol is measured either in milligrams per deciliter of blood (mg/dL) or in millimoles per liter of blood (mmol/L).An LDL cholesterol level of less than 100 mg/dL (less than 2.6 mmol/L) is considered optimal.100 to 129 (2.6 to 3.35) is considered near optimal. 130 to 158 (3.35 to 4.10) is considered borderline high.160 to 189 (4.12 to 4.88) is considered high.190 and above (4.90 to 4.88) is considered very high.

With this in mind there are factors that work against lowering LDL "bad" cholesterol:
1. Your family history can play into your cholesterol equation (Asia Africa Intelligence Wire, June 11,2005). Since high cholesterol runs in my family I have genetics working against me as well.
2. Stress may lead to an increase in blood cholesterol (Pharma Marketletter, Dec 12, 2005)
3. Smoking may raise LDL cholesterol (http://www.indiana.edu, March 15, 2006)
4. Foods with Saturated fat can raise LDL cholesterol (http://www.indiana.edu, March 15, 2006)

Factors that can lower LDL "bad" cholesterol
1. Exercise raises HDL cholesterol and lowers LDL cholesterol
2. Reduce the stress in your life
3. Stop smoking
4. A high-fiber diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fish (but low in saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol) improves cholesterol levels

Most of what I have listed should be of no surprise to you. However, there are two more options to reducing your cholesterol levels. The first one is to take prescription drugs for lowering cholesterol. I have heard of good results with this method to drastically lower cholesterol. Although this method seems effective it is not without a price. For example, my brother and both of my parents have tried a couple of different prescription drugs for cholesterol discovering side effects. Their cholesterol was lowered significantly but they had unbearable muscle and joint pain while taking the medication. These side effects lead me to looking for alternative health products.

I found that there are a number of naturally based health products that significantly lower cholesterol. I have personally tried a couple of products and have not experienced any side effects like my family members. I can say that I have been able to successfully avoid the prescription drugs at this time, and I am hoping to maintain my current good status by eating right, exercising and supplementing with natural health products.

I am finding that I will either need to continue supplementing naturally or take prescription drugs for lowering cholesterol since my family history is playing a major factor in my high cholesterol levels.
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