High cholesterol: Nutritionist reveals top prevention tips
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High cholesterol means you have too much of the fatty substance cholesterol in your blood. Having high cholesterol can cause an obstruction in the arteries. Since these channels are responsible for transporting blood to vital organs, an obstruction increases risk of heart disease or stroke.
Unfortunately, this mechanism usually goes undetected until it is serious.
One of the gravest manifestations of high cholesterol is critical Limb Ischemia (CLI).
According to the Department of Surgery at the University of California, San Francisco, “CLI is a severe obstruction of the arteries which markedly reduces blood flow to the extremities (hands, adderall medication side effects feet, and legs) and has progressed to the point of severe pain and even skin ulcers or sores”.
As the health body explains, the pain caused by CLI can wake up an individual at night.
“This pain, also called “rest pain”, is often in the leg and can be relieved temporarily by hanging the leg over the bed or getting up to walk around”.
It adds: “CLI is a very severe condition of peripheral artery disease (PAD) and needs comprehensive treatment by a vascular surgeon or vascular specialist.”
However, to stave off the threat of high cholesterol complications, you must first get tested for high cholesterol.
There are two ways of having a cholesterol test:
- Taking blood from your arm
- Finger-prick test.
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How to lower high cholesterol
“If you have high cholesterol, a doctor or nurse will talk to you about how you can lower it,” explains the NHS.
“This might include things like changing your diet or taking medicine.”
In regards to the former, there are several foods which are not just part of a healthy diet, they can actively help to lower your cholesterol too.
What’s more, the more you add them to what you eat, the more they can help lower your cholesterol.
Cutting down on saturated fat and replacing some of it with unsaturated fats is a great way to lower your cholesterol, notes cholesterol charity Heart UK.
Foods high in saturated fats include fatty cuts of meat, butter, ghee and lard.
Unsaturated fats include:
- Vegetable oils such as olive, sunflower, corn, rapeseed, nut and seed oils
- Avocado, nuts and seeds
- Fat spreads made from vegetable oils, such as sunflower and olive oil
- Oily fish.
There are some dietary decisions that present hidden health risks too.
Coconut oils have an image of being a healthy option – some stories mention that they can raise your HDL cholesterol (“good cholesterol”).
However, as Heart UK points out, this is unlikely to be the case as they only contain a small amount of the type of fat that raises HDL, known as “MCTs”.
“More importantly, coconut oil is made up almost entirely of saturated fat. It contains even more saturated fat than butter, so is likely to cause the same health problems.”
What does it advise? “Coconut oil does have a lovely flavour and is excellent in Thai style curries but it is best to use it sparingly.”
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