HDL Cholesterol - Add years to your life and save your heart for free
So now the attention is on HDL cholesterol, but what if you were told that you can add years to your life, get your cholesterol levels back to normal and protect yourself from heart disease, stroke and atherosclerosis, all for free would you believe it?
No need for the latest “fashionable” supplement or expensive “designer” drug. No need to worry about unwanted drug side-effects and expense. You don’t even have to be too concerned about your “bad” LDL cholesterol! Yes, you read correctly.
It sounds too good to be true, but it isn’t …
Every day the evidence is piling up that links an increased risk of heart disease and stroke more strongly to lower levels of the “good” HDL cholesterol, rather than to higher levels of the “bad” LDL. Studies have clearly shown that for every one-milligram rise in HDL, the risk for developing cardiovascular disease falls by 2 to 3 percent.
There is a really simple, zero cost way of increasing your HDL by up to 5mg – that means a 15% reduction in the possibility of suffering from heart disease!
For some time it has been known that HDL cholesterol is a so-called negative risk factor, meaning that high levels of it can actually cancel one of your other risk factors on your overall health profile. But this latest evidence takes the HDL issue one step further.
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Maybe the above concept is a little confusing for some. Simply put, your cardiologist will assess your risk factors and medical history in determining your overall risk for developing heart disease. As an example, assuming you have high blood pressure and high LDL cholesterol, your doctor will calculate 2 risk factors. However, if you also have high “good” HDL cholesterol levels in your blood stream, this will be taken into consideration and your doctor will re-calculate your risk as having one less risk factor.
For instance, using your medical history and number of risk factors your doctor can calculate your risk score for developing heart disease or having a heart attack. Below are the main risk factors for heart disease, and according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute a low HDL is considered a “major” risk factor:
High blood pressure (140/90 mmHg or higher, or taking BP medication)
Low HDL (less than 40 mg/dl)
Family history of early heart disease
Age (45 or older for men, 55 or older for women)
As mentioned all of the above will be used in assessing your overall risk, however, if your HDL is 60 mg or higher 1 point will be subtracted from the total. Being overweight, obese and physically inactive are also conditions that can increase your risk of heart disease and need to be corrected. If you have two or more of the above risk factors, your doctor will need to calculate your “risk score”. It is this score that will show your chances of having a heart attack within the next 10 years.
The good news is that it is quite easy to increase levels of HDL and while doing so people often witness levels of the so-called “bad” LDL decrease. So, you actually get twice your money’s worth.
In fact, the HDL actually cleans up potentially harmful cholesterol from your arteries and sends it off to the liver where it is eliminated. But it doesn’t end there, it also acts as an antioxidant that helps stop oxidation of the bad cholesterol.
Moreover, inflammation has also been receiving a lot of bad press coverage as being one of the culprits for heart disease, well guess what? HDL is also an anti-inflammatory agent, and can even help repair artery disease. It can also stop blood clots from blocking arteries, as it makes the blood less sticky.
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So now all the buzz is on the good guy, which unlike LDL should be a low as possible; the higher your level of HDL cholesterol the better for your health. So now you can give your health a natural, zero cost boost and reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke.
So, what should your HDL cholesterol levels be?
For some time it has been known that people who live into their 90's without evidence of heart disease, typically have very high levels of HDL. You should do your best to get your HDL levels up to at least 60 milligrams; levels below 40 mg for men and 46 mg for women (EU Guidelines on CVD prevention, 2004), according to the most important international health institutions, are associated with an increased risk of heart disease.
For part 2 of this article, please select the following link: hdl cholesterol – part 2
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