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March 28, 2009 at 10:52 AMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Lower Cholesterol Naturally Without the Side Effects of Statins

By Smarty More Blogs by This Author

Dangers and Causes of High Cholesterol

There are two types of cholesterol: HDL, or high density lipoprotein and LDL, or low-density lipoprotein. HDL is good cholesterol, and LDL is bad cholesterol. The human body needs some of both types of cholesterol in order to function properly, but health problems can occur if there is too much LDL. Elevated levels of LDL cholesterol can be caused by many things, including poor diet, being overweight weight, lack of exercise, heredity, and aging. LDL can be harmful to your health because if present in excessive quantities, it can build up on the inside walls of the arteries. This buildup is called plaque. Sometimes chunks of plaque can break off and cause an obstruction in the blood vessel, leading to heart attack or stroke. Plaque buildup also contributes to atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, which can lead to heart disease.

The Dangers of Cholesterol Lowering Drugs (Statins)

If a patient has tried to lower their cholesterol levels through diet and exercise and has failed, often a doctor will prescribe drugs called statins, like Lipitor to help lower cholesterol. These drugs work by inhibiting the production of cholesterol in the liver. Unfortunately, statins often have extremely negative side effects. These include:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Fever
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Memory loss
  • Personality changes
  • Irritability
  • Extreme muscle pain
  • Muscle disease, or statin induced myopathy
  • Muscle breakdown
  • Serious liver problems
  • Acute renal failure
  • In rare cases, death

Natural Methods of Lowering LDL

Fortunately, there are many effective ways to lower cholesterol levels that do not have harmful side effects. Many of these treatments are more effective than harmful drugs. They also have the added benefit of having no dangerous side effects and are available for a fraction of the cost of pharmaceuticals. These include:

  • Healthy diet and exercise:
    • It is important to eat a diet that is low in fat and cholesterol, especially if you are prone to high LDL levels. The American Heart Association recommends less than 300 milligrams of cholesterol per day, or 200 milligrams or less per day if you have heart disease.
    • Exercise can increase HDL. Regular exercise can also help control weight, diabetes, and high blood pressure, which all contribute to heart disease.
  • Natural plant-based foods that lower cholesterol:
    • There are certain natural foods that can be added to a healthy, balanced diet that assist in the reduction of cholesterol. These foods include oats, soy products, red yeast rice, certain types of nuts like walnuts and almonds, and foods fortified with plant sterols and stanols.
  • Quit smoking:
    • Smoking reduces HDL, or good cholesterol levels. Quitting smoking will allow your HDL levels to increase. There is also evidence that the particles in cigarette smoke can cause cellular inflammation, leading to atherosclerosis.
  • Natural products:
    • There are also products on the market which naturally, safely, and effectively reduce cholesterol levels.

Conclusion

There are many ways to reduce levels of bad cholesterol without drugs or harmful side effects. Talk to your doctor to find out which ones may be right for you.

Sources:

http://www.americanheart.org

http://www.healthy-heart-guide.com/statin-side-effects.html

http://www.webmd.com/solutions/hs/cholesterol/cholesterol-basics

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