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High Cholesterol Message Board

High Cholesterol Board Index

[QUOTE=pmfred]For starters, what would be a good LDL level for me to reach? Seems like my doctor wanted to get me down to around 100, but this AHA page seems to imply that for people without other risk factors higher numbers might be OK. Thay also say, "In men less than 35 years of age and premenopausal women with LDL cholesterol levels of 190 to 219 mg/dL, drug therapy should be delayed except in high-risk patients such as those with diabetes." OK, so I'm 35 soon to be 36, but it really seems like this doctor was pushing me onto the drugs. Seems like even if I could get my LDL below 160, that would be good.
[url][/url][/QUOTE]Only you can decide how much risk you are willing to take. But both high cholesterol and drugs present some risks. In all probability your risk is low of having a cardiovascular event in the next few years. You might use the Heart Association chart where you plug in your numbers and see what they say your risk is in the next ten years. Then try some different numbers and see how that might affect it. Here is the link: [url][/url]

Remember, though, that if high cholesterol is actually a cause of heart disease (and I still think there is a possiblity it is only a marker, not a direct cause), it takes years of build up to make much difference. So the probability of having a problem that you wouldn't have had anyway in the next six months or year is very slim. So I'd take as much time as I wanted to learn about diet and other lifestyle changes, do what you think fits, and wait for it to have an effect on your cholesterol levels.

[QUOTE]I don't have diabetes, don't smoke, and I have low blood pressure. My aunts, uncles, grandparents have all lived into their 70's/80's without heart problems.[/QUOTE]All the more reason you shouldn't let the doctor rush you into a decision to take statins.

[QUOTE]I am going to replace my usual orange juice with this new Minute Maid Heart Wise that has plant sterols. It doesn't taste as good as the not-from-concentrate ones I usually drink, but I'll drink it. . . I bought some Benecol spread to use for baking, but I doubt I'll use it enough to get any actual benefit from it. [/QUOTE]Another alternative here: Plant sterols are available in pill form. What I do is to take a plant sterol pill before a meal in which I will have a substantial amount of dietary cholesterol, or two pills when I'm having a two-egg breakfast. As I understand it, the plant sterols and stanols have no effect on dietary fat, only on dietary cholesterol absorption. So it might help if one is eating meat, poultry, cheese, milk other than non-fat milk. As I see it, there is little point in taking a plant sterol with a meal that contains none of those.

[QUOTE] I think the main thing for me is to figure out where my saturated fats are coming from, and that may mean me keeping a log of what I eat for a week or two. Like I said before, I don't really eat that much meat, so I'm guessing they are coming more from snack-type foods. I also need to get a better feel for what hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated fats mean with respect to this as well.[/QUOTE]If you don't eat much meat, are choosing lower fat meats and cutting the visible fat from them, you might be getting your saturated fats from high-fat cheese. Or your saturated fats may actually be low and the problem is trans fats, which is just as dangerous as saturated fats. Commercial baked goods including crackers and the like, packaged mixes, and fried foods are usually high in them. Read labels. Trans fats don't have to be listed until some time in 2006, but some labels show them already. If not, just total the saturated fats, monounsaturated fats, and polyunsaturated fats, and subtract that from "total fats." The difference will be trans fats. Keep this number as close to zero as possible.

[QUOTE]Isn't Niacin just vitamin B3. Are we talking about higher than the normal USRDA of Niacin to get some kind of benefit? I wonder if making my own bread has messed up my niacin intake, since aren't most store bought breads niacin enriched?[/QUOTE]The amount of niacin necessary to lower cholesterol is WAY more than the RDA, often 70 to 150 times the RDA and occasionally even more. We are talking 1000-2000 mg as a common therapeutic dose. So it is a drug used in those amounts. And like any drug, it needs to be used with caution. (About 1% of people get elevated liver enzymes as a result. This could eventually lead to liver failure, so it is just as important to have liver enzymes tested regularly on it as on a statin. Realistically, if one does get tested regularly, though, problems would show up and one would quit the niacin before any serious damage was done.) Niacin has been used to lower cholesterol for decades. It is available both as a prescription (Niaspan) and over the counter. The latter is much, much cheaper, of course. The advantage of the prescription is that it is subject to FDA controls. The OTC products are available in different types, which have different possible side effects and results. You'll probably find out all about that in other threads here.

[QUOTE]I love fish, but certainly don't eat enough of it. I have to imagine there is some kind of trade-off here though. How much? Which fish kinds are better than others? I like salmon, but always got the impression that it is rather high-fat in comparison to some other kinds of fish.[/QUOTE]There are good fats and bad fats. Fish has good fats, the omega-3 fatty acids. Unlike meats, with fish you want to get the fatty ones. Salmon, mackeral. I can't remember the others. The only one I like and is readily available here is salmon. Other than that I take 3 mg. of fish oil capsules a day. That was recommended by my doctor.

[QUOTE]Is there a reason why the links I post auto-generate tags, but don't actually create a link?[/QUOTE]Beats me. That's just the way they do things here. :D

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