What is cholesterol and what does it do?
Cholesterol is a fatty substance that naturally occurs in the blood. It assists in hormone and tissue production, helps protect your nerves and aids the digestive system.
High-density lipoprotein or HDL is often called “good” cholesterol because it helps bring the “bad” cholesterol back to the liver and cleanses the bloodstream. A level greater than 60 is optimal.
Low-density lipoprotein or LDL is often called “bad” cholesterol because the higher this number is, the greater your chances of a heart attack. The excess cholesterol clogs your arteries with a build-up of plaque which causes your arteries to harden and narrow. If the plaque breaks away from the artery walls it can cause the blood flow to become blocked in the heart or brain. In most cases, a level lower than 120 is optimal.
What are triglycerides?
Triglycerides are transfats found in the bloodstream. A fasting lipid panel measures this fat. The recommended levels follow (according to the National Cholesterol Education Program).
* Normal triglycerides means there are less than 150 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL).
* Borderline high triglycerides = 150 to 199 mg/dL.
* High triglycerides = 200 to 499 mg/dL.
* Very high triglycerides = 500 mg/dL or higher.
How is high cholesterol treated?
Treatment for high cholesterol varies based on many factors, such as genetics, weight, activity level and total cholesterol levels.
Most patients are recommended to exercise, eat a diet low in cholesterol and sometimes medication. Many times doctors prescribe statin drugs (Zocor, Lipitor, Crestor, etc,) to reduce LDL levels. These drugs may cause dangerous side effects.
Are there safe alternative therapies?
Yes, besides exercise and a healthy diet, supplementation can reduce LDL levels in many cases. Studies reveal Omega-3 fatty acids: essential fatty acids have a favorable effect on cholesterol, as do garlic, red rice yeast and other natural products.
I can help you understand what your total cholesterol means and help you reduce your risks of heart disease through supplementation, a healthy diet and exercise.