Being Heart Smart
- We all recognize that heart health is very important, but what does the jargon mean and what can you do to decrease your risk of heart disease?
- Here's a breakdown on cholesterol and your heart—and recommendations on ways to improve risks to your heart health.
- Cholesterol 101
What are you tested for when you get cholesterol tests?
- Your doctor looks at your HDL cholesterol and your LDL cholesterol.
- These are lipids and these two types of lipids, along with triglycerides and Lp(a) cholesterol, make up your cholesterol count, which can be determined through a blood test.
- The difference between good and bad cholesterol
HDL cholesterol is considered the "good" cholesterol.
- About one-fourth to one-third of blood cholesterol is carried by high-density lipoprotein (HDL). HDL cholesterol is known as "good" cholesterol, because high levels of HDL seem to protect against heart attack. Low levels of HDL (less than 40 mg/dL) also increase the risk of heart disease. Medical experts think that HDL tends to carry cholesterol away from the arteries and back to the liver, where it's passed from the body. Some experts believe that HDL removes excess cholesterol from arterial plaque, slowing its buildup.
- LDL is considered the "bad" cholesterol.
- When too much LDL (bad) cholesterol circulates in the blood, it can slowly build up in the inner walls of the arteries that feed the heart and brain. Together with other substances, it can form plaque, a thick, hard deposit that can narrow the arteries and make them less flexible. This condition is known as atherosclerosis. If a clot forms and blocks a narrowed artery, heart attack or stroke can result.
- Lp(a) is a genetic variation of LDL (bad) cholesterol. A high level of Lp(a) is a significant risk factor for the premature development of fatty deposits in arteries. Lp(a) isn't fully understood, but it may interact with substances found in artery walls and contribute to the buildup of fatty deposits.
Triglyceride is a form of fat made in the body. Elevated triglycerides can be due to overweight/obesity, physical inactivity, cigarette smoking, excess alcohol consumption and a diet very high in carbohydrates (60 percent of total calories or more). People with high triglycerides often have a high total cholesterol level, including a high LDL (bad) level and a low HDL (good) level. Many people with heart disease and/or diabetes also have high triglyceride levels.
- How to lower triglycerides?
Keep an active lifestyle
Eat a healthy diet low in saturated fats and trans fats
Use lower fat dairy or cheese instead of regular version
Trim visible fats from meats
Cook with canola, olive or peanut oils
Include high-fiber foods such as whole grains, oatmeal and fruits
Limit sugar intake like soda and other sweetened beverages
Limit alcohol to maximum 1 drink a day
Include Omega 3 -rich foods such as salmon, fish oils and flax seed
Do not over-eat; watch portion size when eating out
Maintain a healthy weight. Find out from your doctor what the ideal what is for your body type and height.