Womens Health

No Need to Know Your Cholesterol Level - If You Still Work to Lower it

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I was sitting at the hairdresser and the words were flying, alongside my locks! Too many friends of his have just had heart attacks, so of course the next part of the conversation was: what should his cholesterol be?

Yes, get your cholesterol down. In fact, if you never knew your number at all, not really important, as long as you do everything you can to lower the number. Scientific studies show that reduction is important with respect to protection against myocardial ischemia and infarction. Although we will graph and discuss exact norms, in fact there are no real treatment thresholds, but lower levels of lipids are healthier than higher levels for all individuals, regardless of their levels at the start of treatment.

Non-HDL (subtract HDL level from total cholesterol) is the best predictor that reflects the total atherogenic lipids - meaning the ones that will clog the bloodstream and deprive hearts and limbs of much-needed oxygen. Simple. No one with a cholesterol worry should not start with a diet. Diet strategies should include more whole-grain breads, fruits, vegetables, beans, and fish. Eat less meat. Eat more alpha-linolenic-acid-enriched canola-oil margarine. When you're discussing this in the color room, tell your girlfriends that this reduces cardiac events by about two-thirds.

Now, there are special classes of women, especially those with severe PCOS, that are overweight and have cardiac risk factors of diabetes and/or hypertension. These women are termed to have Metabolic Syndrome. Women with Metabolic Syndrome are 1 ½ times as likely to have a stroke. You are likely to have this syndrome if you have a large waist circumference, high blood sugar, high TG, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Statin therapy’s benefits include reduced new-onset atrial birillation, psychological improvement, decreased stroke, osteoporosis, reduced dementia, and macular degeneration.

And as the curls got carefully tucked back into place, my therapy - I mean cut and color - session was done. My stylist had to emphasize that he thinks that it's stress, more than cholesterol, that will do it to your heart all along.

As for not knowing your number, not realistic - as all of us know, we can't behave if we just don't have a really good reason to! I'm munching a an oatmeal granola bar while I eye some glittering boxes of gift chocolate. Just how to combat stress? What other tests, like the EKG we see being started in the picture above? Well, we'll debate that one next time!

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