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Author Message
DianeHaught
Post subject: Think of your cardiovascular system as a river  PostPosted: Feb 20, 2009 - 09:44 AM





Sergeant
Think of your cardiovascular system as a river.

How To Lower Your Cholesterol



The river of health

]Think of your cardiovascular system as a river
60,000 miles of blood vessels. So long as this river runs freely, there are no problems.
But if a slowdown, blockage, or accidental detour occurs anywhere along the way, the story changes.
For your body to stay alive and remain in optimal health, each of its cells must receive a continuous supply of food and oxygen, which your blood delivers.
At the same time, carbon dioxide and other materials produced by the cells must be picked up for removal from your body.
When this doesn't happen - for whatever reason - illness is the likely result.
In general, as we age, our blood cholesterol levels tend to rise,
our arteries begin to show signs of hardening, narrowing, and thickening.
Plaque - or fatty deposits that tend to adhere to the inside walls of our arteries - may also start forming in our cardiovascular systems.
This doesn't mean an automatic 'death sentence' for us; it just means we should be mindful of making some adjustments in our behavior and health habits.

The cholesterol connection: improving your blood lipid profile

What exactly is 'cholesterol,' and what is its relationship to your cardiovascular health?

Cholesterol is a waxy, fatlike substance, classified as a lipid, that's found in all tissues in humans and other animals. Foods from animal sources (e.g., eggs, meat, poultry, fish, dairy products) contain cholesterol, but plant-derived foods do not.

So when you eat a big juicy steak or hamburger, you're consuming cholesterol.
When you chomp on a carrot or apple, you're not.

People sometimes get confused about the exact meaning of 'cholesterol'
because it's often used as a blanket term for the cholesterol content of foods we eat [/color[color=cyan]](e.g., "That cake is high in cholesterol") and also for the level of cholesterol in our blood (e.g.,"Your cholesterol is high.") These are not one and the same.

Interestingly, the majority of cholesterol in your blood is manufactured by your own body - mainly by your liver - and only about 20% of blood cholesterol comes from the food you eat. And despite all of the nasty things you've heard about cholesterol, you really need a certain amount of it to live: cholesterol is essential to your body's cell membranes, to the insulation of your nerves, and to the production of certain hormones. It's also used by your liver to make bile acids, which help to digest your food. After infancy, your body makes all of the cholesterol it needs; you don't need to consume any more to stay healthy.

The downside of cholesterol: its buildup in the walls of your arteries may cause bumps or plaques to form. This plaque can narrow or even block your arteries, resulting in heart attack, stroke, or other serious health problems. How much cholesterol you have in your blood is influenced primarily by diet, heredity, and metabolic diseases, such as diabetes. Smoking and lack of exercise can also cause, or contribute to, high blood cholesterol levels.


The "good" and the "bad" cholesterol

Today, doctors realize there's more to the blood cholesterol story than just "high cholesterol." They consider the relative blood levels of two different kinds of cholesterol:

The "good"

High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol is sometimes called the "good" cholesterol because it contains a relatively small amount of cholesterol itself and carries away harmful fatty deposits from cells and tissues to the liver for excretion from the body. This helps to prevent the buildup of cholesterol in the walls of your arteries. If your level of this HDL cholesterol is too low, your risk of heart disease actually increases.


The "bad"

Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol accounts for most of the cholesterol in the blood. It carries cholesterol to the tissues of the body including the arteries. For this reason, a high level of LDL cholesterol increases your risk of heart disease - it's the main source of dangerous buildup and blockage in the arteries.

You can't tell how much cholesterol you have in your blood without being tested. Your primary care physician can advise you how often you should be tested for your cholesterol. In general, every 5 -10 years if your last test was normal; two times a year if you are trying to lower your cholesterol.


How to interpret the numbers

Total blood cholesterol below 200 is desirable. Once your blood cholesterol hits 240, your risk for cardiovascular disease doubles. Also risky is "bad" LDL cholesterol over 130 and "good" HDL cholesterol below 35 (below 40 for women). High HDL cholesterol (60 or more) can actually reduce your chance of having a heart attack.


How to fight high cholesterol

Watch your dietary intake of dietary cholesterol carefully. The American Heart Association recommends that you limit your intake to an average of no more than 300 milligrams (mg) a day; the National Cholesterol Education Program says no more than 200 mg daily). Eat less red meats, especially ground beef and fatty processed meats like sausage and hot dogs, and full-fat dairy products like whole milk, regular cheese, ice cream, and butter. And remember: egg yolks are the biggest source of dietary cholesterol.

Exercise! Studies have shown that regular exercise helps to boost your "good" HDL cholesterol, in addition to all of its other health benefits.

Reduce the number of calories you consume to keep your body weight within a normal range for your age and height.

Limit your saturated fat intake. You should get no more than 30 percent of your daily calories from fat, and no more than 7 percent of the fat you eat should be saturated fat. Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated oils are healthier than saturated fats. Use them in place of saturated oils like coconut oil, palm and palm kernel oils, shortening and lard.

Limit consumption of butter and margarine - you are better off using olive or canola oils. If you use margarine, use liquid or "tub" forms. Hard "stick" margarine contains the most trans-fatty acids, which have also been linked to heart disease.


Fact: While everyone enjoys a good "treat" every now and again, rethinking your food choices to avoid excessive saturated fats should be part of your overall cholesterol-reduction strategy.


The good news

Studies show that it's possible to slow and even reverse the build-up of fatty deposits in artery walls. So the excuse, "I'm too far gone for it to do any good," doesn't hold water. People can indeed lower their cholesterol levels and actually widen their narrowed coronary arteries by way of dietary and lifestyle changes.



Make the best choice for you

To protect yourself against high cholesterol and its potentially harmful effects, your best bet is to establish an ongoing relationship with a good primary care physician.

The foregoing information provided as a public service, compliments of:

ROSE MEN'S HEALTH RESOURCE
Rose Medical Center
4567 E. Ninth Avenue, Suite 020
Denver, Colorado 80220 U.S.A.
(303) 320- ROSE (7673)



Medical Information
It is not the intention of Raptor-Pack to provide specific medical advice but rather to provide users with information to better understand their health and their diagnosed disorders. Specific medical advice will not be provided, and Raptor-Pack urges you to consult with a qualified physician for diagnosis and for answers to your personal questions and specific medical advice


Wave

Hug

Diane



"I'd rather regret something I did, than regret never doing it at all"
 
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