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How Do I Lower My Cholesterol?

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Old 07-18-2006, 07:49 AM   #1
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Question How Do I Lower My Cholesterol?

I had bloodwork done last week and got the results back yesterday. I am a borderline diabetic with slightly elevated cholesterol. I've known about the pre-diabetes for some time now, though I have not done much to better that. But now I'm scared with the cholesterol thing. The lab guy kept trying to push meds on me to help lower it because that's what my doctor suggested. I do not want to start taking a bunch of medications if there is anything at all I can do that's within my power to change.

I think I've been in denial about the diabetes, but yesterday was like a wakeup call for me. I need to really do something about this. Yet I have no idea on how to lower my cholesterol. The lab guy said to eat lots of oatmeal, and to stay away from chocolate and eggs. But that can't be all that there is. Is it safe to say .. if I start eating foods that do not have a lot of cholesterol that my cholesterol level will go down? Or should I be doing more?
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Old 07-18-2006, 08:06 AM   #2
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Cholesterol is produced by the body as well as coming from foods. I'm a type II diabetic, now completely controlled, and did try to reduce my cholesterol levels with food - flax seed, Metamucil, garlic, fish. It worked a bit but I'm on medication now. It's worth a try to knock it down with food but you may not be able to lower it enough. Give it a try though and then get retested.

As to the pre-diabetes, I found that cutting carbs and completely eliminating sugar has normalized my blood sugar levels. Do not stay in denial - we buried a friend's mother last weekend who just ignored the problem!
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Old 07-18-2006, 08:09 AM   #3
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Lowering cholesterol is somewhat like lowering your blood sugar levels. Eat clean and exercise.

There is some controversy over the intake of dietary cholesterol raising your numbers. Each individual is different. Above all avoid trans-fat; avoid too much saturated fat; you should take in no more than 30% calories from fat (tops) and no more than 10% of that should be from saturated fat. Keep your daily intake of dietary cholesterol to less than 200 mg. Luckily, nutrition labels are required on foods.

Regular exercise helps reduce cholesterol numbers. Cardio in the 'fat burning zone' burns fatty acids in the bloodstream. Resistance exercises build muscle, which in turn revs up your metabolism, burning even more calories and fat.

Be aware, however, that high cholesterol may also be genetic, in which case it can only be controlled by medication. Make a lifestyle change first to see if both your blood sugar and cholesterol numbers go down, then decide with your doctor if medication is required.

Hope this helps...
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Old 07-18-2006, 09:29 AM   #4
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I know that soluble fiber is good for lowering cholesterol, as well as eating lots of veggies, and fish I think. The Omega 3's are good for the heart. But since I am no medical expert here I did a quick google search and found this site, seems to have a *lot* of info on cholesterol in general as well as how to lower it through diet. I hope it's okay to post the link.
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Old 07-18-2006, 12:01 PM   #5
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I know that exercise is a biggie when it comes to blood sugar and cholesterol. Definitely don't ignore it, because it will NOT just go away.
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Old 07-18-2006, 01:49 PM   #6
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Here is a link to the American Heart Association's website on lowering cholesterol: http://www.americanheart.org/present...dentifier=1516

They offer lots of useful information, hope it helps! Good luck!
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Old 07-18-2006, 02:19 PM   #7
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BTW, the advice about staying away from eggs is entirely wrong. Eggs are probably the perfect food (in moderation). They aren't going to do anything to your cholesterol - that is a long perpetuated myth. They are high in protein, low in carbs and not bad with fat. Eggs are good for you, don't avoid them.
If you want to get this stuff under control, then clean eating, exercise and getting the weight off have a pretty good potential to solve these problems. But of course, for some people their cholesterol must be controlled with meds no matter how well they eat or how much they exercise (or how much weight they lose). You won't know until you try. You don't have to be a diabetic - its up to you to change your eating habits. Check out www.glycemicindex.com
This gives alot of good information (for free - but there are books for sale as well) about good foods to eat to keep blood sugar stable - mainly it involves eating lean proteins, veggies, fruits, whole grains, and some dairy. Stay away from processed food as much as you can, those are the ones that truely hurt your body.
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Old 07-22-2006, 12:53 PM   #8
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One thing I have done is to take a fiber supplement every day. I also take Niacin. Beware of Niacin, though, and make sure you are taking "non-flushing" Niacin. I made the mistake of buying regular Niacin and the flushing freaked me out because I didn't know that happens! It is like having a really bad sunburn, to the point of your skin feeling like it is tearing...yikes! Taking non-flushing or Niacinamide, though, is okay and it helps to lower cholesterol, slightly.
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Old 07-22-2006, 01:03 PM   #9
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Hey you know what.. I have been taking non-flush Niacin for a couple of months. (my cholesterol is ok, I just take it because it's B vitamin) My right leg has been red and sore for the last month or so.. like a sunburn, like you describe. I went to the doc and they gave me anti-biotics in case it was some kind of infection but it didn't clear up. I forgot to take my niacin for a couple of days, and it seemed to be lessening.. I thought maybe it was the anti-biotics clearing it up..

Now that you mention it.. I wonder if it could be the Niacin even tho it is the non-flush type. I'm going to stop the Niacin for a week and see if it clears my skin redness up. Thanks for the lightbulb, that might just be what it is!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Eldubu
One thing I have done is to take a fiber supplement every day. I also take Niacin. Beware of Niacin, though, and make sure you are taking "non-flushing" Niacin. I made the mistake of buying regular Niacin and the flushing freaked me out because I didn't know that happens! It is like having a really bad sunburn, to the point of your skin feeling like it is tearing...yikes! Taking non-flushing or Niacinamide, though, is okay and it helps to lower cholesterol, slightly.
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Old 07-22-2006, 01:11 PM   #10
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To be quite honest, I'm rather mixed with the whole cholesterol thing.

Everyone in my family has high cholesterol and at one point in their lives, all had to take medication to lower it. Medication usually worked well for them, lowering it to 200, which is the base level for high cholesterol. I tend to stay away from most cholesterol foods only because I'm not a big fan of animal products.

THey say that high fiber will lower cholesterol, decreasing your intake of animal products (yes, lean meat has a lot of cholesterol as well.. etc) will help . But I wouldn;t stay away from them all together. I believe that you can significantly lower your cholesterol just by watching what you eat, not excluding things altogether. Some products with plant sterols (plant synethsize a steroid hormone that is their version of cholesterol) help to lower your VDLs and LDLs and up your HDLs. You might want to try those (I believe some yogurts have it these days) if you want to try new things. But then again, it's never a complete yes or no regarding whether or not they work. Exercise, I believe, is the best remedy up to date, and will always be.
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Old 07-22-2006, 04:55 PM   #11
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To lower your cholesterol safely:

1) Eat foods that are lower in fats, especially the less-processed kind. In other words, veggies/fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy and meats.
2) Eat foods with more fiber in them -- again, veggies/fruits, whole grains. If you can manage oatmeal most days for breakfast (the kind you cook for 5 minutes, not the little sugary microwaveable packets), it's supposed to just ferry the cholesterol right out of your body. They say 30 days will show a significant difference.
3) Walk or do some kind of sustained (longer than 10 minutes) exercise. This changes the balance of your HDL-LDL cholesterol. High cholesterol is less of a problem if your HDL cholesterol is higher than the LDL.
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Old 07-22-2006, 05:42 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buckettgirl
BTW, the advice about staying away from eggs is entirely wrong. Eggs are probably the perfect food (in moderation). They aren't going to do anything to your cholesterol - that is a long perpetuated myth. They are high in protein, low in carbs and not bad with fat. Eggs are good for you, don't avoid them.
If you want to get this stuff under control, then clean eating, exercise and getting the weight off have a pretty good potential to solve these problems. But of course, for some people their cholesterol must be controlled with meds no matter how well they eat or how much they exercise (or how much weight they lose). You won't know until you try. You don't have to be a diabetic - its up to you to change your eating habits. Check out www.glycemicindex.com
This gives alot of good information (for free - but there are books for sale as well) about good foods to eat to keep blood sugar stable - mainly it involves eating lean proteins, veggies, fruits, whole grains, and some dairy. Stay away from processed food as much as you can, those are the ones that truely hurt your body.
As a matter of fact, it is not entirely wrong. Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health have found that consumption of eggs puts diabetics at an increased risk for heart disease. The OP did say she is dealing with borderline diabetes. Eggs may not be so good for her after all. Although researchers feel that more research is needed about the diabetes/heart disease connection, it is best to be careful.
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Old 07-22-2006, 07:40 PM   #13
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High fiber and low fat is a good way to do it. Saturated fat affects blood cholesterol levels even moreso than a cholesterol-containing food, such as eggs and shrimp. You can eat foods with zero cholesterol, but if you eat foods that are high in saturated fat, your cholesterol levels will still shoot up there.

If you like eggs, you don't have to stay completely away from them, just eat them, like anything else, in moderation. Buy Eggland's Best (or any other egg from vegetarian-fed hens) because these eggs are higher in omega-3 fatty acids and lower in cholesterol than regular type eggs.

The main thing to cut drastically back on is saturated fat. 2 years ago, before my lifestyle change, I had high cholesterol, including triglyceride (blood fats) levels that were off the charts. My cholesterol is now normal and my trigs are at a healthy level. I did it by eating very little saturated fat, trying to get more fiber in my diet, and taking fish oil every day. Whether or not the fish oil played a part, I don't know. But I heard that fish oil was especially good for lowering triglycerides and my trigs are now 120 where they used to be over 800. I still take the fish oil every day.

I decided to do this on my own. My doctor wanted to put me on cholesterol-lowering drugs, but I refused to take them. So I've done this without the drugs.
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Old 07-22-2006, 08:50 PM   #14
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All good advice. And I've done all of it - and my cholesterol didn't go down significantly. So, yes, I take medication. But, everyone in my family has high cholesterol, some worse than mine, so it's definitely a genetic thing. My advice is to talk to your doctor - the lab tech should not be giving you medical advice, btw - and let her/him know that you'd like to try to lower it using diet and exercise. But if that doesn't work after x weeks/months, be prepared to use meds. It's not a big deal. I take one tiny pill each morning - smaller than an aspirin - and my levels are in the normal range.
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Old 07-22-2006, 10:22 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WaterRat
All good advice. And I've done all of it - and my cholesterol didn't go down significantly.
Yep, diet and exercise alone doesn't work for everybody. Thankfully it worked for me because, frankly, I was terrified of taking the statins.
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