Do You Need a Cholesterol Lowering Diet Plan or Program?
Recommended Cholesterol Levels
Below 5.2 mmol/L
LDL Cholesterol (bad)
HDL Cholesteral (good)
Above 1.5 mmol/L
What is a healthy cholesterol level?
I have been living in France for over a year now and have managed to get registered with the national health service here, reported to be one of, if not the, best health services in the world.
I had to get set up fairly quickly because I do have a couple of ongoing conditions I need to take care of which requires regular blood tests and monitoring of my blood conditions.
It was no real surprise to me that on a visit to the doctors in January it was suggested that I should have a few extra tests to see what condition I was in, particularly as I have also turned 51 years old recently. I thought I was looking pretty good personally but I guess in the eye of the beholder and all that, my doctor obviously didn't agree.
So off I went and got tested for amongst other things my cholesterol level. That's where I hit a bit of a problem because apparently there is good cholesterol and bad cholesterol and my good cholesterol (HDL) was a tad on the low side coming in at a level of 1.19mmol/L which is apparently not so good as the recommended level for good health is actually best at 1.5mmol/L or higher. Now add to that my bad cholesterol (LDL) was sitting at 4.69 mmol/l when it should actually be in the range of 2.6-3.3 mmol/L for a healthy individual and my total cholesterol level was 6.81mmol/L when it really should be no more than 5.2mmol/L, then you can see I had a bit of work to do.
The recommendation I got was that I should up my exercise level and change my diet to cut out or at least reduce the amount of saturated fat I was consuming. All I did in truth was to stop eating so much cheese and at the same time we had just rescued a dog so getting more exercise was a given as we had started to go out each day to walk man's best friend and now I knew why he was my best friend, typically we would go for about an hour a day.
So 6 months later and I was back at the laboratory having a 2nd round of extra blood tests, this time the results were (HDL)1.16, (LDL)3.99 and (Total) 5.86 respectively, which overall was an improvement but still not good enough. The doctors recommendation this time was that I continue to eat less of the food that can increase bad cholesterol levels and up my exercise so that I actually start to lose weight.
So far there has been no mention of drugs to control the condition and to be honest, if there was I would probably resist that option for the moment and you can see the reasons why below.
To make things a little easier to follow you can refer to the table above for an idea of what the acceptable cholesterol levels are for the 3 measurements taken, remembering of course this is for healthy people and you should always refer to your doctor to establish where you need to be exactly.
Symptoms of a stroke
Recognising when someone has had a stroke
A bystander can recognize a stroke by asking three simple questions:
S *Ask the individual to SMILE.
T *Ask the person to TALK and SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE (Coherently)
(i.e. It is sunny out today.)
R *Ask him or her to RAISE BOTH ARMS.
If he or she has trouble with ANY ONE of these tasks, call emergency number immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher.
New Sign of a Stroke -------- Stick out Your Tongue
Ask the person to 'stick' out his tongue.. If the tongue is 'crooked', if it goes to one side or the other, that is also an indication of a stroke
Side effects of Statins
First and foremost what I need to say is that for the majority of people, taking Statins to control cholesterol levels is a widely accepted and safe method of treatment. But as for all drugs there is a possibility of side effects, of course the first place to find out what the potential side affects of statins are is on the data sheet that comes with the drugs.
What got me thinking however was when I watched a recent television program on UK TV where they were doing a report on cholesterol and interviewed several people who had suffered from mainly muscular problems which they were pretty convinced was due to taking Statins.
The sorts of symptoms they reported were loss of strength in arms and legs, numbness, stiffness of limbs, joint pains and abdomen pains. Clearly for these people finding an alternative means for dealing with their cholesterol problems would be a priority.
One should not forget that where Statins are taken and used with little or no side effects they are a very effective way of reducing the risk of reducing cardiovascular disease and one thing is for certain if you have cholesterol problems they cannot be ignored.
Another benefit of using Statins is that the impact on lifestyle diet and exercise regimes is minimal, very little has to change, you simply take the drugs and carry on much as before. This was in fact the recommendation to me from one or two associates that were in a similar situation of having a cholesterol problem and who were successfully taking Statins to manage their condition.
So why have I resisted the temptation to take the easy option, well the reasons are two fold really. First of all I have not been offered them under the French regime I now reside in and secondly I have had little option in the past but to take some drugs that had pretty serious side effects for other conditions and quite frankly I am in no hurry to take any more drugs that may or may not cause me problems.
So where does that leave me, in a nutshell seeking alternative options.
How to lower your cholesterol naturally
Clearly taking Statins as a first option to address my cholesterol problem has not entered the head of my doctor and I for one am not about to put the suggestion there, even if I did know the French for Statins.
No, what I am being told is modify my diet slightly, take more exercise and lose weight.
These are actually lifestyle changes but if you think about it, they are lifestyle changes that should they work on the cholesterol problem, and there is already evidence to prove they do, have the added benefits of making me fitter, healthier and slimmer. All in all not a bad set of objectives, even for an old gent past his prime, but lets leave my brother out of this.
So there has to be a plan somewhere for lowering cholesterol naturally, there are plans for just about everything else. Well actually there is and its back to the UK TV program for the source, they actually mentioned a diet which is called the 'Portfolio eating plan' which in essence is a diet for seriously reducing the amount of saturated fats you eat. You can find out a lot more about the portfolio eating plan by clicking on the link.
In reading up about the the eating plan it was pointed out that this is not an option for anyone who has already had a heart attack or a stroke.
So a word of caution, each individual is different and each individual should consult their doctor before making any changes in medication already prescribed or embarking on a new program of treatment or an exercise regime, particularly if you suspect you have any kind of health problems or are not used to taking regular exercise. I wouldn't want to cause anyone unnecessary harm as what I am saying here is my opinion and that is very much a layman's opinion albeit based on my own experience.
Foods that lower cholesterol
Comments 17 comments
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