Prevention of high cholesterol

Prevention of high cholesterol

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In the first part of this piece, I mentioned the dangers that may be associated with high cholesterol and the need to have blood cholesterol checked periodically. Today’s piece is simply on solution to high cholesterol. I will like to say that eating food containing fat or cholesterol does not lead to high cholesterol (hypercholesterolemia) since the body needs it for normal body metabolism. However, evidenced-based medicine shows that reducing the amount of food containing cholesterol is healthy and beneficial to all, especially those with hypercholesterolemia, hypertension and other heart-related disorders.

High blood cholesterol is treated with lifestyle changes and medicines. The main goal of treatment is to lower the low-density lipoprotein cholesterol level enough to reduce the risk for coronary heart disease, heart attack, and other related health problems. I once saw a patient with high cholesterol, after due explanation, I wrote in his case note TLC for three months. The patient asked the nurse about the cost of TLC. The nurse explained to him that TLC was an abbreviation for Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes and that it was a do-it-yourself treatment and with no fee charged for it.

Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes: TLC helps in lowering the LDL cholesterol. TLC is a three-part programme that includes a healthy diet, weight management, and physical activity. It is for anyone whose LDL cholesterol level is high

Healthy diet: A dietician once said this “your diet is a bank account; good food choices are good investments.” With the TLC diet, less than seven per cent of the daily calories should come from saturated fat. This kind of fat is found in some meats, dairy products, chocolate, baked goods, and deep-fried and processed foods.

Not more than a quarter of our daily calories should come from all fats, including saturated, trans, mono-unsaturated, and poly-unsaturated fats. Mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated fats are healthier and cholesterol free examples include olive oil, groundnut oil and soybean oil. Foods high in soluble fibre also are part of the TLC diet.

These foods include whole-grain cereals such as oatmeal and oat bran. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables can increase important cholesterol-lowering compounds in your diet. Such fruits are apples, bananas, oranges, pears.

Legumes include kidney beans, lentils, and cowpeas. A healthy diet also includes some types of fish, such as salmon, tuna (canned or fresh), and mackerel. These fish are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids.

These acids may help protect the heart from blood clots and inflammation and reduce the risk of heart attack. Red meat, (beef), goat meat, and porks, among others, have high cholesterol and may be avoided while Skinless poultry can be substituted for meats. Avoid fried meat. You can grill, roast or boil your meat. Frying with the oil increases the amount of cholesterol in the meat. You also should try to limit the amount of refined sugar or sodium (salt) that you eat. Try limiting alcohol intake.

Too much alcohol will raise the blood pressure, cause weight gain and raise triglyceride level. (Triglycerides are a type of fat found in the blood.) Kindly visit my BlogSpot: to have an abridged dietary list for hypercholesterolemia and diabetes.

Weight management: If you are overweight or obese, losing weight can help lower LDL cholesterol. Maintaining a healthy weight is especially important if you are at risk for heart disease and other health problems, such as diabetes and stroke. Obesity is associated with metabolic risk factors, which are a large waistline (abdominal obesity), a high triglyceride level, a low HDL cholesterol level, high blood pressure and high blood sugar.

Physical activity: Routine physical activity can lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides and raise your HDL cholesterol level. People gain health benefits from as little as 60 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week. It is advisable to do moderate exercise 30 minutes a day five days in a week or one can register in a gym. The more active you are, the more you will benefit.

Cholesterol-lowering medicines: In addition to lifestyle changes, medicines can help control high blood cholesterol, but they do not cure it. Thus, you must continue taking your medicine to keep your cholesterol level in the recommended range. Cholesterol-lowering medicines are statins. These medicines are safe for most people. They are strictly prescription drugs and cannot be got over the counter. In conclusion, while managing your cholesterol, take steps to manage other heart disease risk factors too. For example, if you have high blood pressure, work with your doctor to lower it.

Ask the doctor

Question:  Dear Doc, I had an implant insertion done about a year ago but I discovered that I started putting on weight. I want to go back to the hospital to remove it. Please, I need your advice.

Mrs. Ikoh from Port Harcourt

Answer: I advise you to try measures to reduce your weight through exercise and diet control. But if these fail, it may be remove it and opt for other means of contraception. Weight gain is one of the side effects of implant but not everyone experiences it.



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