Tags: Heart Disease | High Cholesterol | cholesterol | natural | remedy | statin | drug

7 Drug-Free Ways To Lower Your Cholesterol

7 Drug-Free Ways To Lower Your Cholesterol
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By    |   Sunday, 22 October 2017 01:10 PM

High cholesterol is one of the biggest contributors to heart disease and stroke — the leading cause of death in the U.S. — but many Americans are still unsure what they should be doing to maintain healthy cholesterol levels.

In a recent nationwide survey conducted by the American Heart Association, 47 percent of people who had a history of cardiovascular disease said they had not had their cholesterol checked in the last year.

Almost half said they weren’t confident in their ability to control their cholesterol.

Millions of Americans take statins to lower their colesterol and reduce their risk for heart disease. But dietary changes and lifestyle modifications can also cut cholesterol, experts note.

“There was a major disconnect between perceptions about cholesterol and the significance of its health impact,” says Dr. Mary Ann Bauman, a member of the American Heart Association's cholesterol advisory group, in response to the new study.

She adds that knowing the basics about cholesterol could save your life. Here’s what she and other experts suggest.

Know your numbers. The American Heart Association recommends that adults over the age of 20 have their cholesterol tested every four to six years. But you should know that the threshold for high cholesterol can vary from person to person so it's important to know what your numbers mean for you specifically. Doctors are moving away from the traditional one-size-fits-all idea that cholesterol must fall within a certain range to be considered healthy for everyone.

"For somebody who has already had a heart attack or stroke, or has high blood pressure or is diabetic, we as physicians may want their cholesterol much lower than somebody who has no other risk factors," says Dr. Susan Smyth, medical director of the Gill Heart Institute at the University of Kentucky.

In fact, a "normal" cholesterol reading may not mean you're entirely in the clear, she says. Most major heart attacks occur in people with normal LDL cholesterol, according to a recent study in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Eat well. Eating well can go a long way in lowering high cholesterol. Research shows that reducing your red meat and processed food intake — while increasing your consumption of fruits, vegetables and whole grains — can have a positive impact on cholesterol levels. Opt for unsaturated fats, like olive oil, and avoid trans fats where you can. Doctors recommend eating fatty fish, like salmon or tuna, once a week to lower cholesterol.

"Paying attention to a healthy diet doesn't mean you have to deprive yourself of the things you love that aren't healthy," says Bauman says. "It just means you have to do the right thing most of the time, and occasionally have those things as treats instead of on a regular basis."

Exercise more. Exercise helps keep your heart and blood vessels healthy, which can keep your cholesterol levels in a safe range. Experts recommend at least 30 minutes of exercise at least five days a week for overall heart healthy.

Avoid smoking. If you still need a reason to give up smoking, you should know that tobacco smoke lowers HDL (“good)” cholesterol and raises the risk for atherosclerosis, which can lead to heart attack, heart failure and stroke.

Manage stress. Stress levels can boost your cholesterol levels and heart risk, so make sure to do something — meditation, yoga, listening to quiet music — to manage them. It’s also important to get enough sleep; aim for seven to nine hours each night.

Increase soluble fiber intake. Both types of fiber, soluble and insoluble, have heart-healthy benefits. Soluble fiber packs a greater punch by helping lower your LDL levels. Oats, fruits, beans, lentils, and vegetables are all sources of soluble fiber.

Add whey. Whey protein, along with casein, are both found in dairy products. Studies have shown that whey protein can lower both LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and total cholesterol. Try your local health food store or grocery store for a whey protein powder.

It’s also critically important to start paying attention to your diet and lifestyle now, before high cholesterol leads to larger health problems.

"We need young people to start paying attention now," Bauman says. "We are seeing risk factors popping up in younger and younger children."

Bauman says everyone should know their cholesterol numbers starting at age 20.

"People think they don't need to worry if they're young and have no family history," says Bauman. "But you can overcome your good genes if you make the wrong decisions, and the consequences can happen sooner than you think."

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Millions of Americans take cholesterol-lowering statins to reduce their risk for heart disease. But dietary changes and lifestyle modifications can also cut cholesterol. Here’s a primer, whether you take statins or not.
cholesterol, natural, remedy, statin, drug, heart, disease
Sunday, 22 October 2017 01:10 PM
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