Not a day goes by when we don’t hear something about high cholesterol. Advertising for cholesterol lowering medications dominates TV, magazines, and radio. We are all encouraged to “ask our doctor if (insert drug name here) is right for you.” These slick ads have made these medications household names, leading us to believe that we can’t live without them. But what exactly is the truth about high cholesterol?
When you get your cholesterol measured, three parameters are checked; Total Cholesterol (TC), High Density Lipoprotein (HDL), and Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL). Lipoproteins are molecules that carry cholesterol in the blood. LDL carries cholesterol from the liver and intestine to the rest of the body. HDL carries cholesterol back to the liver. Because high levels of LDL are linked to more atherosclerosis or fat deposition in the arteries, it has become known as “bad” cholesterol. HDL is considered “good” because it picks up excess cholesterol and takes it to the liver for processing.
Cholesterol comes from a variety of sources. A small amount is taken in by what we eat, especially if we eat a lot of animal products. Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains have little if any cholesterol. The rest of cholesterol is made mostly by the liver and small intestine. It is synthesized from glucose and triglycerides and is used to make cell membranes, hormones, and bile. Without cholesterol we could not make estrogen, progesterone, or testosterone. It is an extremely important compound.
There is little doubt that high cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease. It is not the only culprit however. A comprehensive cardiac panel must be run to look at every possible contributor. Make sure to ask about your homocysteine level, your CRP level, and your fasting blood glucose level, as all these contribute equally if not more to cardiovascular disease.
Contrary to what it may seem like by all the advertisements, there are many ways to treat high cholesterol. Don’t settle for the party line. Instead, seek out what will work for you. Seek the help of a qualified Naturopathic physician for many scientifically proven alternatives like nutritional supplements and Therapeutic lifestyle programs. These programs are very beneficial and are designed to reduce the risks for cardiovascular disease by stabilizing blood sugars, reducing cholesterol intake, and enhancing cholesterol clearance and utilization. Included in these programs are many very helpful supplements to address high cholesterol levels. So take control of your health and high cholesterol levels today!