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Heart Attack Prevention - Lowering LDL Cholesterol — an article on the Smart Living Network
May 27, 2008 at 1:28 PMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Heart Attack Prevention - Lowering LDL Cholesterol

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The best form of prevention is knowledge.The more you know about heart attack prevention, heart attack risks, and LDL cholesterol, the more prepared you will be. Know the risks of heart attacks so you can avoid them.

Heart Attack Prevention

Here are the most common risk factors of heart attack:

  • Aging (more than 80% of deaths related to heart disease are people who are 65 years of age or older) (1)
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Diabetes
  • Family medical history
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol levels
  • Lack of exercise
  • Obesity
  • Race (Native Hawaiians, Native Americans, Mexican Americans, and African Americans are among the highest risks)
  • Sex (though more prevalent in males, it is the leading cause of death in American women)
  • Smoking
  • Stress

Lowering LDL cholesterol

There are some lifestyle-related suggestions to help lower LDL cholesterol naturally.

  1. Physical activity. Just 30 minutes of exercise on most days of the week is sufficient and is recommended for everyone, not just those wanting to lower their LDL cholesterol levels (2).  Physical activity literally lowers the LDL (bad) cholesterol level and raises the HDL (good) cholesterol level. Those with a high triglyceride level and a large waist would greatly benefit from physical activity (more on this listed below).  Examples of easy physical activity to start your new regimen includes walking, water aerobics, riding a bike, or flying a kite.  Increase your intensity and length of time as you become more comfortable. If you push yourself too hard too fast, you'll lose interest. So strive for your new goal with caution and great anticipation.
  2. A healthy diet.  For someone wishing to lower their LDL cholesterol level, a low-cholesterol, low-sodium, and low-saturated fat diet is recommended.  Look for foods that are low in saturated fats, like 1% and fat-free dairy products, fish, lean meats, whole grain foods, skinless poultry, fruits, and vegetables.  Look for margarine or butter that contain no trans fats.  Restrict foods that are high in cholesterol, like full-fat dairy products, organ meats, and egg yolks.  Include foods that are good sources of soluble fiber, like oranges, pears, oats, Brussels sprouts, carrots, beans, and dried peas.
  3. Weight management.  It's important to maintain a healthy weight if you want to lower your LDL cholesterol level. Again, those with a high triglyceride level or with a large waist (40 for men and 35 for women) would greatly benefit from this lifestyle modification (2).
  4. Control your blood pressure.  Elevated blood pressure increases your risk for heart attack.  You should check your blood pressure about the same time each day to verify accuracy.
  5. Stop smoking. Smoking is actually linked to lowering HDL (good) cholesterol levels. Smoking will narrow your arteries and will increase your risk for heart attack.

What else can be done to prevent heart attacks?

Of course, there are drugs made available to address high cholesterol levels, but they come with certain side effects and once you start taking them, you will probably continue to take them. Try these natural suggestions first.

Sources:

(1) http://familydoctor.org/online/famdocen/home/common/heartdisease/basics/291.html

(2) http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/chol/wyntk.htm#lifestyle

Photo Credit: spike55151

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