high cholesterol

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Lipitor (aka Atorvastatin) is prescribed for patients with high cholesterol. It functions to lower the levels of overall cholesterol, LDL, triglycerides and to increase levels of HDL. It is part of a group of drugs called statins

Side effects: The use of this drug has been reported to cause myopathy (the dysfunction of skeletal muscle cells) - resulting in weakness. Liver function labs (AST and ALT) should be monitored regularly because the drug cannot be processed by an unhealthy liver. There are contradicting reports of memory loss resulting from use of the drug - high cholesterol is often associated with dementia, however a depletion of cholesterol may have an effect on neuron function. Grapefruit juice should not be consumed while on Lipitor, it may lead to toxicity. 

Lipitor is a very popular, kind of expensive drug. In 2008 it was the top selling brand-name drug in the world and grossed over 12 billion USD. Pfizer totally had the monopoly on cardiac disease prevention, but all good things must come to an end. When Lipitor’s patent was up in June 2011, Pfizer managed to buy another 5 months (not quite sure who approved of this ethically questionable business deal). On November 30th, the generic version hits pharmacies.

Womp, womp. Sorry, pharmaceutical industry ;)  

Eat Your Way to Lower Cholesterol

According to the American Heart Association, if your cholesterol is high, you might be at an increased risk for heart disease and stroke,   America’s number one and number four killers, respectively.  Unhealthy eating habits and lack of exercise can contribute to high cholesterol, so it’s important to focus on making good choices. Here we’ll look at how cholesterol affects your body and give you some tasty ways to build a heart healthy diet.

First, what exactly is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a type of lipid or fat that is waxy in texture and is naturally produced by the liver. Cholesterol is also found in certain foods, particularly foods made from animal sources. While too much cholesterol can be bad for you, it is also important to remember that your body needs some cholesterol to carry out essential functions. Cholesterol is needed to regulate the body’s metabolism, produce vitamin D and help build and maintain cell walls. There are actually two kinds of cholesterol:

  • High-density lipoprotein (HDL), also known as “good” cholesterol, helps protect against heart attacks. If your levels of HDL are less than 40 mg/dL for men and less than 50 mg/dL for women, you may increase your risk of developing heart disease.

Medical experts believe HDL carries cholesterol away from the arteries and back to the liver. It is also believed that HDL removes excess cholesterol, slowing plaque buildup in the arteries.

  • Low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad” cholesterol, can slowly build up in the inner walls of the arteries that feed the heart and brain. It can turn into a thick, hard deposit of plaque which can narrow the arteries and make them less flexible. A clot can form, blocking the narrow artery, resulting in a heart attack or stroke.

If you have high cholesterol, you can lower your levels by eating a diet that consists of low saturated fat and low cholesterol foods. Here are a few of them:

  • Avocados contain oleic acid, which is a healthy monounsaturated fat that helps boost good cholesterol and lower bad. They are rich in fiber and beta-sitosterol, both of which help keep cholesterol down. Keep in mind that since avocados are high in calories and fat, they should be eaten in moderation.
  • Tomatoes can help keep your cholesterol in check because they are a great source of lycopene – a plant compound that reduces LDL levels. The body actually absorbs more of the lycopene in tomatoes if they are processed or cooked, so try drinking tomato juice or choosing tomato sauce over alfredo for your pasta dishes.
  • Nuts like pecans, walnuts and almonds contain healthy unsaturated fats, so they won’t clog your arteries. They are also high in plant sterols, substances that prevent the body from absorbing bad cholesterol. Nuts are an excellent addition to a heart-healthy diet, so go ahead, grab a handful.
  • Crisp, sweet and high in fiber, pears help lower LDL levels due to their high pectin content. Pectin binds with cholesterol and carries it out of the body before it becomes absorbed. If you’re not into pears, other pectin-rich fruits include: apples, oranges, bananas and peaches.
  • Fish or fish oil supplements are great for a heart healthy diet. They contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which help reduce blood pressure and lower the risk of developing blood clots. The American Heart Association recommends eating at least two servings of fish a week. So consider picking up some trout, albacore tuna, salmon or halibut.
  • Foods that are high in fiber like oatmeal and bran contain soluble fiber, which lowers “bad” cholesterol. Soluble fiber reduces the absorption of cholesterol in the bloodstream. In addition to oats and bran, other high fiber foods include: kidney beans, barley and prunes.

Not sure if you have high cholesterol? Ask your doctor to do a simple blood test. In the meantime, avoid saturated fats like butter, stick margarine, lard or shortening and increase your weekly amount of exercise. Eating right and making sure to exercise will make for one healthy heart!


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So although my dad has a very physically demanding job, he is about 20 kg overweight because he eats crap. I’ve been telling him that he needs to change his diet for a while, but he never listened. After visiting his doctor for a regular check up a few days ago and discovering he has a high cholesterol, he finally decided he wants to do something about it.

I was officially put in charge of his diet. As you can imagine, I’ve very excited to help him lose some weight and improve his health. I’m just not sure how I should go about it.

Acording to his doctor, his diet should be really low in fat and high in carbs (accordung to her plan, he is only allowed to eat 2 eggs a week, just chicken meat and lots of grains and stuff) to low his cholesterol level.  But my own experience based on lots of experimenting with different ways of eating taught me that most of the time fat isn’t the problem, sugar/rubbish carbs is. So I’m kinda torn between whether I should follow what the doctor says or just do what I think it’s the best.

What do you guys think is the best approach?

Got GREAT News, GOOD News & BUMMER News Today!

Went to my Dr. appt to follow up on the blood tests I had last week to check how well my Type 2 Diabetes is being managed & also to see if my scary high cholesterol #’s have come down due to the healthy lifestyle changes I’ve been making.  

The GREAT News: My A1C test (for the Diabetes) was great! I’m down to a very healthy 6.2%! Doing my happy dance! :-)
Here are the ranges, fyi: 
(<=6.9%)         Indicates good control
(7.0% - 7.9%)  Indicates fair control
(>=8.0%)         Indicates poor control

I used to take Metformin pills to help manage my Type 2 Diabetes, but my A1C had improved so much about 6 months ago, the Dr. took me off the pills! It’s heartening to see that I’m maintaining healthy blood levels (for Diabetes) by making healthy changes!

The GOOD News: My very high cholesterol levels have come down through diet changes via Weight Watchers & adding exercise! I’m making good progress…

The BUMMER News: Although my cholesterol levels have improved, they’re still too high.
She decided that it would be best for me to start taking pills to help get my numbers into a healthier range. We’ll recheck progress in 3 months & see how it’s going. 

Here’s how my current test compares to the last one in October:

Total Cholesterol: Healthy range/units = 100-199
Oct: 261
Now: 237

Triglycerides: Healthy range/units = <150
Oct: 245  (A really good change for the better here, but still too high)
Now: 190

HDL “The Good” Cholesterol: Healthy range/units = <40
Oct: 43
Now: 39  (YAY! This is in the healthy range) 
LDL “The Bad” Cholesterol: Healthy range/units = <131
Oct: 169
Now: 160

The last bit of BUMMER news is, because I’m 51, she said it’s time for me to schedule a colonoscopy. Oh joy. It’s just something that needs doing for a baseline & she said while it’s not fun…it’s really not that awful. No rush on this test, she said…so I’ll take a bit of time before I dive into that! The things we do for good health! LOL

I shared all the range info, as I thought it may be helpful to some of you who are also dealing with health-related things & heck, it’s just good for people to know what the healthy ranges are for those important tests!

It’s also really important for people to understand that you can have dangerously high readings for diabetes, cholesterol & also blood pressure without experiencing many symptoms simply due to your genetics. So, even if you’ve always lived a healthy lifestyle, ate right & exercised, there’s a chance that you could have serious issues going on without knowing it, so it’s always a good to get a check-up at your Dr. & make sure you’re OK. 

Wishing you all a happy, healthy rest of your day! 
Did you find this info TMI, somewhat interesting or helpful?


Here’s a morph between my before and after pictures.  

BEFORE:  6’ 1", 290 pounds, 36% BF, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep apnea

AFTER:  212 pounds, 12% BF, no medical issues

Occurred between October 2013 and August 2014

I blogged about my journey here 

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I’m starting a vegan lifestyle today and I real don’t want to fail, I always fail when I try to change the way I eat and it makes me depressed! So this is a call to everyone out there to send me motivation every now and then and to help me find blogs and things like that for daily inspiration to stay on this healthy path. It’s very important for me to change because at 18 I already have high cholesterol so it’s imperative that I change, please help!

Beating Cholestrol…

Dear Reader

Do you recognize these symptoms …..

  • Feeling nauseous at times
  • Poor appetite
  • Eyesight that varies throughout the day
  • ‘Sick’ headaches (feeling down and out)
  • High cholesterol
  • Depression for no apparent reason
  • Sudden outbursts of irritability
  • Lack of motivation

Overweight, especially around the middle (apple shaped people with fat concentrated around the abdomen and a waist in excess of 40 inches)

Keep reading

Whole Grains: Nutrient-Rich Superfoods or Inflammatory Blood-Sugar-Busters?

by The Alternative Daily Whole grains are one of the most heavily marketed, medically recommended health foods out there. They are the largest category in the government food pyramid, with six to eight servings recommended per day for adults. But did you know that grains can cause blood sugar dysregulation, mineral malabsorption, chronic inflammation, leaky gut syndrome, and autoimmune disorders?…

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  • For healthy adults with no history of heart disease: The American Heart Association recommends eating fish at least 2 times per week.
  • For adults with coronary heart disease: The American Heart Association recommends an omega-3 fatty acid supplement (as fish oils), 1 gram daily of EPA and DHA. It may take 2 - 3 weeks for benefits of fish oil supplements to be seen.
  • For adults with high cholesterol levels: The American Heart Association recommends an omega-3 fatty acid supplement (as fish oils), 2 - 4 grams daily of EPA and DHA. It may take 2 - 3 weeks for benefits of fish oil supplements to be seen.
The addition of POMx to simvastatin therapy in hypercholesterolemic patients improved oxidative stress and lipid status in the patient's serum and in their HMDM.

PMID:  Atherosclerosis. 2014 Jan ;232(1):204-10. Epub 2013 Nov 19. PMID: 24401239 Abstract Title:  Pomegranate extract (POMx) decreases the atherogenicity of serum and of human monocyte-derived macrophages (HMDM) in simvastatin-treated hypercholesterolemic patients: a double-blinded, placebo-controlled, randomized, prospective pilot study. Abstract:  OBJECTIVE: To analyze pomegranate extract (POMx) effects on serum and on human HMDM atherogenicity in simvastatin - treated hypercholesterolemic patients.METHODS AND RESULTS: Patients were randomly assigned to receive either simvastatin (20 mg/day) + vegan placebo pill (n = 11), or simvastatin (20 mg/day) + POMx pill (1g/day, n = 12). Fasting blood samples were collected at baseline and after 1 and 2 months of therapy. HMDM were collected from 3 patients in each group at baseline and after 2 months of therapy, as well as from 3 healthy subjects. After 2 months of therapy, serum LDL-cholesterol levels significantly decreased, by 23%, in the simvastatin + placebo group, and by 26% in the simvastatin + POMx group. Simvastatin + POMx therapy increased serum thiols concentration by 6%. Patients’ HMDM reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels were significantly increased, by 69%, vs. healthy subjects HMDM. After 2 months of therapy, HMDM ROS levels decreased by 18% in the simvastatin + placebo group, whereas in the simvastatin + POMx group it decreased by up to 30%. A novel finding was the triglycerides levels in the patients’ HMDM at baseline which were significantly higher, by 71%, vs. healthy subjects HMDM. The simvastatin + POMx, but not the simvastatin + placebo therapy, significantly reduced macrophage triglycerides content by 48%, vs. baseline levels. In addition, whereas the simvastatin + placebo therapy significantly decreased the patients’ HMDM cholesterol biosynthesis rate by 33%, the simvastatin + POMx therapy further decreased it, by 44%.CONCLUSION: The addition of POMx to simvastatin therapy in hypercholesterolemic patients improved oxidative stress and lipid status in the patient’s serum and in their HMDM. These anti-atherogenic effects could reduce the risk for atherosclerosis development. http://j.mp/1Kn8OZB