- About Cholesterol:
- Health Risks of High Cholesterol:
- Risk Factors for High Cholesterol:
Statin Drugs Are Dangerous:
- Statin Drugs Can Cause Liver Damage:
- Statin Drugs Can Cause Nerve Damage:
- Statin Drugs Can Cause Muscle Damage:
- Statin Drugs Can Deplete CoQ10 Reserves:
- Statin Drugs and Cancer:
Why are Serum Cholesterol Levels Important?
Heart disease is the leading killer of both men and women after the age of 45. High cholesterol is responsible for 70% of heart disease. It leads to arterial blockage, heart attacks, hardening of the arteries, blood clots, clogged arteries, and stroke. Over 26 million Americans have high cholesterol. High cholesterol it is not just a disease which effects adults. More and more it is being discovered that our teenagers and even preteens are walking around with this potentially life threatening condition!
It is also important to distinguish between serum cholesterol and dietary cholesterol. Serum cholesterol is the cholesterol in the bloodstream. Dietary cholesterol is cholesterol that is present in food. While eating foods high in dietary cholesterol can raise serum cholesterol, it is not the only source of serum cholesterol. Indeed, you would have some amount of serum cholesterol even if you never ate any food containing dietary cholesterol because the body produces its own cholesterol.
The National Cholesterol Education Program has set the "safe" level of total serum cholesterol (including both LDL and HDL) at 200 milligrams per deciliter of blood 9mg/dl). A reading above 200 indicates an increased potential for developing heart disease. A level of 200 to 239 is borderline, and levels over 240 are considered to indicate high risk. The normal HDL level for adult men in the United States is 45 to 50 mg/dl, and that for women is 50 to 60 mg/dl.
It is suggested that higher HDL levels, such as 70 or 80 mg/dl, may protect against heart disease. An HDL level under 35 mg/dl is considered risky. So if you have a cholesterol reading of 200, with HDL at 80 and LDL at 120, you are considered at low risk for heart disease. On the other hand, even if you have a total cholesterol level well under 200, if your HDL level is under 35, you would still be considered at increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease. In other words, as your HDL decreases, your potential for heart problems intensifies, even if your total is on the low side.
Risk Factors for High Cholesterol
High cholesterol is responsible for 70% of heart disease and is the leading killer of both men and women after the age of 45. It leads to arterial blockage, heart attacks, hardening of the arteries, blood clots, clogged arteries, and stroke. There are a number of factors that influence a person's cholesterol levels. They include diet, age, weight, gender, genetics, diseases and lifestyle.
Most of us consume foods high in dietary fat. Foods which are fried or are high in animal fats will directly raise blood serum levels of "bad cholesterol"
Foods which are high in simple carbohydrates such as sugars, bread, pasta and sweets indirectly raise "bad cholesterol" levels as they are converted into "bad cholesterol" by the liver. This explains why some vegetarians have high cholesterol.
The blood levels of cholesterol tend to increase as we age--a factor doctors consider when deciding treatment options for patients with certain cholesterol levels.
People who are overweight are more likely to have high blood cholesterol levels. They also tend to have lower HDL levels. The location of the excess weight also seems to play a role in cholesterol levels. A greater risk of increased cholesterol levels occurs when that extra weight is centered in the abdominal region, as opposed to the legs or buttocks.
Men tend to have higher LDL levels and lower HDL levels than do women, especially before age 50. After age 50, when women are in their post-menopausal years, decreasing amounts of estrogen are thought to cause the LDL level to rise.
Some people are genetically predisposed to having high levels of cholesterol. A variety of minor genetic defects can lead to excessive production of LDLs or a decreased capacity for their removal. This tendency towards high cholesterol levels is often passed on from parents to their children. If your parents have high cholesterol, you need to be tested to see if your cholesterol levels are also elevated.
Diseases such as diabetes can lower HDL levels, increase triglycerides and accelerate the development of atherosclerosis. High blood pressure, or hypertension, can also hasten the development of atherosclerosis, and some medications used to treat it can increase LDL and triglycerides and decrease HDL levels.
Factors that negatively affect cholesterol levels also include high levels of stress, which can raise total cholesterol levels, and cigarette smoking, which can lower a person's HDL level as much as 15 percent. On the other hand, strenuous exercise can increase HDL levels and decrease LDL levels. Exercise also can help reduce body weight, which, in turn, can help reduce cholesterol. Recent research has shown that moderate alcohol use (one drink per day for women, two drinks a day for men) can raise HDL cholesterol and therefore reduce the risk of heart attack. Despite such research, it is difficult to recommend the habitual use of alcohol because there are also negative health consequences associated with alcohol use and a high potential for abuse
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