By Charise Blacksher, Pharmacy Technician
Cholesterol is fatty substance produced in the liver that is integral to the creation of the cell membrane and a precursor to certain hormones. It is carried by three types of lipoproteins: HDL (high-density lipoprotein) or good cholesterol, LDL (low-density lipoprotein) or bad cholesterol, and VLDL (very low-density lipoprotein). Total cholesterol is the combination of all lipoproteins and is an important factor in determining coronary artery disease (CAD). Cholesterol is a numbers game and here are some important numbers to know.
- < 200mg/dl is acceptable
- ≥ 200mg/dl is a CAD risk
- <100mg/dl is optimal,
- ≥ 130mg/dl is a CAD risk
In lieu of genetics, we are capable of regulating our cholesterol in two distinct ways; you can decrease your LDL or increase your HDL. However, a combination of both results in a more favorable outcome and possibly greater adherence.
- Begin or increase physical activity/decrease body fat percentage (The American College of Sports Medicine recommends approximately 30 minutes of moderate to intense physical activity for five days a week to decrease the risk of CVD. Also, by incorporating exercise you can decrease your body fat percentage.)
- Cease/decrease alcohol and tobacco consumption
- Decrease saturated, hydrogenated, and partially hydrogenated fats (Avoid or minimize consumption of greasy, fatty, and processed foods because they are high in these types of fats.)
- Increase fiber, i.e., fruits and vegetables (plant stanols/sterols compete with the uptake of cholesterol effectively minimizing blood cholesterols.)
- Constructively manage stress
By employing these strategies, you can prolong the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. It is important to note that these are suggestions and guidelines by which you may lower your cholesterol naturally, but it is not medical advice. If you are currently on a regimen with your physician, follow up with them before making any changes. Your specific medical situation may require medication or other preventive measures not discussed in this blog. If you are unsure of your numbers, there is a simple testing the doctor can do to find out.
- Kones, R. (2011). Primary prevention of coronary heart disease: integration of new data, evolving views, revised goals, and role of rosuvastatin in management. A comprehensive survey. Drug Design, Development, and Therapy, 5, 325–380. http://doi.org/10.2147/DDDT.S14934
- Stoner, L., Stoner, K. R., Young, J. M., & Fryer, S. (2012). Preventing a cardiovascular disease epidemic among indigenous populations through lifestyle changes. International journal of preventive medicine, 3(4), 230.
- Rosenthal, R. L. (2000). The effectiveness of altering serum cholesterol levels without drugs. Proceedings (Baylor University. Medical Center), 13(4), 351.
- Castelli, W. P. (1988). Cholesterol and lipids in the risk of coronary artery disease–the Framingham Heart Study. The Canadian journal of cardiology, 4, 5A-10A.