Archive for the ‘Lower Cholesterol’ Category.
On Tuesday, November 12th, the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology jointly published prevention guidelines. The guidelines focus on the treatment of blood cholesterol to reduce heart disease, lifestyle management to reduce heart disease, overweight/obesity management, and cardiovascular risk assessment. These new guidelines call for a focus on risk factors and not just cholesterol levels.
Up until now, the focus has been on “bad” cholesterol — LDL cholesterol — levels and the need to keep LDL cholesterol below 100 mg/dL. Instead of using LDL cholesterol levels to determine if cholesterol lowering statin drugs should be prescribed, the new guidelines look at risk factors.
Here are four questions used to assess risk:
- Do you have heart disease?
- Do you have diabetes (Type 1 or Type 2)?
- Do you have a bad cholesterol level greater than 190 mg/dl?
- Is your 10-year risk of a arteriosclerotic/atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) event greater than 7.5%?
Base on the new guidelines, if your answer was “yes”, to any of the above four questions, you should be prescribed a statin medication. If you answered “no” to all, then lifestyle and behavior modification should be adequate to manage high cholesterol.
How do you know if your 10-year risk of a ASCVD event is greater than 7.5%? Continue reading ‘New Cardiovascular Disease Guidelines Could Double Use of Statins’ »
It’s very easy to let media hype influence eating choices. A new study comes out telling you this or that food increases your risk of having a heart attack and that food is off the menu. It’s hard to remember that the media is trying to get your attention. They need you to keep reading or watching whatever information they share. So, they are going to take a study (whether it is a solid study or not) and sensationalize it to keep your interest. Doesn’t mean the whole story is going to be fully shared.
This puts you at a disadvantage because you may not have the background to determine if the information shared is valid or not. How do you know if the study was peer reviewed? How do you know if the results have a statistical significance? How do you know if the study was funded by a company with a conflict of interest that caused results to be skewed in the direction they wanted? There are many factors to consider when determining the validity of study results.
Yes, you need to be aware of new research being conducted, but don’t let the TV, newspaper, magazine, etc. be the final determinant on what is a healthy food choice and what is not.
Here are a few foods that have been impacted by such media hype:
Continue reading ‘Heart Disease: Does the Media Impact What You Eat?’ »
Consuming a low cholesterol diet is not necessarily the best treatment plan for lowering cholesterol levels and reducing your risk for heart disease.
Why? Well, it depends on which of your total cholesterol particles is elevated. For example, if LDL cholesterol is high, it’s best to focus on reducing your intake of saturated fat. If triglycerides are elevated you want to reduce your sugar and alcohol intake for the most impact. Knowing which of your cholesterol particles is elevated will allow you to implement a more effective treatment plan.
Then you also have the other component – inflammation. Cholesterol by itself does not necessarily lead to heart disease. It’s a process that begins with inflammation resulting in the oxidation of cholesterol particles. So, you also want to incorporate a diet rich in “anti-inflammatory foods”.
How to Follow an Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Continue reading ‘Anti-Inflammatory Diet to Promote Heart Health’ »
First of all, your cholesterol levels are not the final determinant of your heart attack or heart disease risk. Other factors besides cholesterol play a role, such as inflammation which causes cholesterol to oxidize and then lead to heart concerns. That being said, you don’t just want to ignore cholesterol levels. They are a good measure to assess risk and determine if further investigation is needed to determine appropriate treatment.
Norwegian researchers reported middle-age men with high cholesterol levels to be at increased risk for a first heart attack when compared to women with high cholesterol levels.
This study, published in the September issue of Epidemiology, included more than 40,000 participants under the age of 60 years-old. They found men with high cholesterol to have three times the risk for a heart attack versus women.
The reason for this increased wasn’t identified by the researchers, but speculation that it may be connected to the protective effects of hormones, such as estrogen. That is why this study had an age limit of 60 years-old. After the age of 60, the protective benefits women may receive from hormones is eliminated as menopause begins.
Continue reading ‘Are You Middle-Age with High Cholesterol?’ »
On July 11, 2013 research results from Brasky et al. were published online in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. The concluded that high blood concentrations of omega 3 fatty acids were linked to increase prostate cancer risk. Researchers state these results support their 2011 findings that omega 3 fatty acids play a role in prostate cancer.
In the few weeks since this study was published, many doctors and researchers have weighed in with their viewpoints on the study results. Let’s sift through all the information and focus on what you need to know so you can decide if you should continue supplementing omega 3 fatty acids or not.
This study, released by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, analyzed participant data from the Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial (SELECT). SELECT was a large randomized, placebo-controlled trial to test whether selenium and vitamin E reduced prostate cancer risk. SELECT was not a double-blind placebo controlled trial focused on omega 3’s and prostate cancer. Participants in SELECT had their omega 3 levels measured. It was the plasma phospholipid omega 3 levels of 834 men who developed prostate cancer and 1393 men who did not develop prostate cancer that was analyzed for this most recent research linking omega 3’s to prostate cancer.
Cardiologist Dr. Stephen Sinatra points out valid concerns regarding vitamin E and its pro-oxidative effect on cholesterol. Oxidation causes the production of free radicals, which increases health concerns (ie cancer, heart disease, etc.). In SELECT, participants received 400 IU of dl-alpha tocopherol (one form of vitamin E). Many would argue that supplementing high levels of one form of vitamin E is associated with its own negative health consequences. Sharing this to show that the data analyzed from SELECT may have been ‘contaminated’ by the vitamin E supplementation which can impact results. Also, keep in mind that some participants were on prescription medications, were smokers, regularly drank alcohol, were overweight/obese, and/or had a first-degree relative with prostate cancer…all of which impact prostate cancer risk.
Omega 3 Levels
Here are the plasma omega 3 levels and the cancer risk found in this research:
Continue reading ‘Omega 3′s: Should You Stop Taking Fish Oil Supplements?’ »
Rice is frequently consumed in combination with other foods, such as vegetables, beans, and meat. It is a low cost food, so it allows you to stretch your food budget.
There are many varieties of rice, many of which you are probably not familiar with, such as Arborio, black, red, jasmine, basmati, and then the more common wild, brown, and white.
All rice provides a variety of nutrients, including carbohydrates and protein. Plus, rice is gluten free. A one cup serving of wild rice even contains 156 mg of omega 3 fatty acids to help promote heart health and lower cholesterol.
The two most common include white rice and brow rice, so let’s by compare these two options.
White Rice vs. Brown Rice
Continue reading ‘The Best Type of Rice to Promote Heart Health’ »
Guest post provided by Rebecca S. Reeves, DrPH, RD, FADA
2013 is shaping up to be a year of prevention, which should have you thinking about how well you are treating your own heart. If you are trying to maintain healthy cholesterol levels, or your doctor has said that you need to lower your cholesterol, you are probably trying to keep a close eye on your diet.
This does not mean that you must avoid all your favorite foods. What it might take is substituting different ingredients in a recipe or stir-frying a food rather than deep fat frying it.
Learning the difference in the types of fat that we eat and where these fats are found in our food is also important to controlling the cholesterol levels in our blood. Taking precautions today could prevent a heart condition tomorrow.
Here are some of the most common myths and facts that you should know.
Continue reading ‘Common myths about cholesterol, foods and fats’ »
At the American College of Cardiology Scientific Session in March of 2012, information was presented from the University of Michigan Systems showing that children understand the effect of healthy behaviors on overall health.
Project Health Schools, which is a community-University of Michigan System project, measured risk factors for heart disease in middle school children. Measured risk factors included lipid profiles and physical activity before and after receiving education on healthy behaviors. They found that after receiving education the middle school students showed positive behaviors towards improving lipid profiles, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides. This indicates middle school children are not too young to understand the impact of healthy behaviors and they have the ability to implement changes.
This implementation of healthy behaviors at an early age is critical to lifelong health and reduced risk for heart disease, heart attacks and strokes. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 17% of children and teens are overweight or obese. This is triple the rate one generation ago and puts children at increased risk for health complications just as excess weight impacts adults.
Continue reading ‘Educate Children on Healthy Behaviors to Reduce Heart Disease Risk’ »
Do you take statin medication? If so, when did your doctor recommend you being statins? Was it when your lab results found your LDL cholesterol levels to be elevated?
LDL cholesterol has been the measure used to determine when lipid lowering therapy is needed…and statins are often the therapy started.
Research is beginning to question if LDL is the best measure for knowing if cholesterol treatment is warranted to reduce heart disease risk.
Continue reading ‘Heart Disease Risk and Cholesterol Levels’ »
There are some very interesting questions coming out regarding the benefits of HDL cholesterol.
High HDL cholesterol has always been encouraged because people with higher HDL cholesterol levels have a reduced risk for heart disease. If you have low HDL cholesterol levels it’s likely that your doctor recommended you to boost levels through diet and exercise or by taking niacin supplements. This is due to the long held belief that HDL cholesterol reduces heart disease risk by “picking up” artery clogging cholesterol from circulation.
A new study utilizing modern genetic testing is challenging this theory, finding that there may not be a direct cause-and-effect relationship between reduced heart disease risk and high HDL cholesterol levels. Study findings indicate the high HDL levels themselves may not be protective on their own. These high HDL levels may be an indicator of something else reducing heart disease risk.
Continue reading ‘Why is HDL Cholesterol Considered to be ‘Good’?’ »