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Posts Tagged ‘cholesterol’

Cholesterol is a natural wax-like substance circulating through our blood vessels that helps create healthy cells and hormones. A certain amount of cholesterol is definitely good for us, but an excess amount can cause fatty deposits in the lining of blood vessels. This makes it harder for blood to flow through the vessels carrying life-sustaining oxygen and may lead to either a heart attack or a stroke.

High cholesterol per se has no symptoms and can be detected only by a blood test. Men should have a baseline cholesterol blood test at age 35, women at age 45, and both sexes every five years thereafter — or sooner, if a doctor so determines because of risk factors. Even children should be tested if they are obese, have high blood pressure or diabetes, or have a strong family history of high cholesterol.

Most of the cholesterol in our bodies is manufactured right in the liver. A lesser amount comes from certain foods, such as fatty meats, dairy products and eggs. Therefore, a high cholesterol count can be due to either heredity or diet.

Cholesterol is carried through the blood attached to certain proteins. This combination of cholesterol and protein is called a lipoprotein, of which there are three types:

– Low-density lipoproteins (LDL). Referred to as “bad cholesterol,” these are what cause damage to blood vessels.

– Very low-density lipoproteins (VLDL). These carry another type of fat, called triglycerides, which can also damage blood vessels.

– High-density lipoproteins (HDL). Referred to as “good cholesterol,” these actually pick up excess cholesterol and take it back to the liver.

Risk factors for developing high levels of cholesterol are smoking, diabetes, obesity, poor diet, lack of exercise and family history of heart disease.

The first thing to do to control high cholesterol is to change one’s lifestyle with an emphasis on exercising and eating a healthy diet.

If your total cholesterol, particularly LDL cholesterol, remains high, your doctor will probably recommend medication. The choice of medication depends on several factors, such as your age, your state of health and possible side effects.

There are a variety of medications which help to lower cholesterol and triglycerides. They all do their work differently and have specific side effects. This is where your doctor will have to fine-tune the medications to your specific needs and set up regular visits to monitor your progress.

The bottom line is to have your cholesterol checked and, if it’s high, get it lowered to a more normal level. The results are in on this one: Lowering an elevated cholesterol level will help promote a longer and healthier life.

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Interesting facts from medical literature

Beginning today, I will occasionally share with you some interesting facts from articles I have read during my review of current medical literature.

Did you know:

  • Skin cancer on the head or neck is more deadly than on other parts of the body.
  • 30 minutes of aerobic exercise five days a week can reduce blood pressure between 5 and 8 points
  • Extensive use of flip-flop shoes can cause pain in the heel, ankle, lower leg and toes.
  • Pessimistic heart patients are almost twice as likely to die within six to 10 years as heart patients with an optimistic outlook.
  • Trans fats, found in many processed foods, not only increase the risk of heart disease but also increase the risk of breast cancer.
  • If you think you’re having a heart attack, call 9-1-1, then chew and swallow one 325 mg. aspirin
  • Exercising in water burns more calories than doing the same exercise on land.
  • People, who engage in vigorous cardiovascular activities regardless of their size, are healthier and live longer than their sedentary counterparts.
  • Fish oil may help to ease depression.
  • To halt a lower leg calf cramp, flex your foot by pointing it up toward your shin. You can grab and pull the toes and ball of your foot to help flex it.
  • Sixteen percent of people between the ages of 20 to 69 suffer significant hearing loss.
  • Memory loss is linked to low levels of “good” (HDL) cholesterol
  • The spread of flu is linked to airline travel. The fewer people who travel by airline over the Thanksgiving holiday, in particular, the slower the flu moves across the country.
  • Vitamin C may fight wrinkles.
  • Excessive drinking of alcohol leads to increased risk of pre-diabetes.
  • Eating or drinking food high in cocoa improves blood flow to the brain and may help prevent stroke and dementia.
  • People with type 2 adult onset diabetes are two to four times more likely to develop heart disease, mostly because of increasing cholesterol and blood pressure.
  • Those who receive the pneumococcal pneumonia vaccine may be at a lesser risk of heart attacks.
  • Adult muscle mass decreases by 1 percent a year after the age of 30.
  • Drinking up to three cups a day of black or green tea reduced stroke risk by 21 percent.
  • Symptoms of depression can be improved by eating less processed sugary foods and increasing foods such as grains and vegetables.
  • For acute low back pain, a day or two of bed rest may be helpful. For more rapid healing, it is best to get out of bed and move around as soon as possible.
  • Newer cooking recipes have larger portion sizes. Stay conscious of portion size when eating.
  • Drowsy driving is linked to 100,000 motor vehicle accidents causing 1,000 deaths and 40,000 injuries.
  • Accidents with dogs and cats cause 80,000 emergency room visits annually for their owners in the United States.

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