June 8, 2023

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Chances are you or someone you know has high cholesterol. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 94 million adults in the United States have levels over 200 mg/dL and 28 million Americans have cholesterol over 240 mg/dL, which can cause serious health complications and even death. The World Health Organization states, “Overall, raised cholesterol is estimated to cause 2.6 million deaths (4.5% of total) and 29.7 million DALYS, or 2% of total DALYS. Raised total cholesterol is a major cause of disease burden in both the developed and developing world as a risk factor for ischemic heart disease and stroke.” Many aren’t aware they have high cholesterol since oftentimes there’s no signs, but a simple blood test can indicate if you need to reduce your levels and Eat This, Not That! Heath spoke with Dr. Tomi Mitchell, a Board-Certified Family Physician with Holistic Wellness Strategies who shares five ways to get normal cholesterol fast. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had COVID.
Dr. Mitchell explains, “Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that is found in all cells of the body. It is essential for many biological processes, including the production of cell membranes and the synthesis of hormones. However, too much cholesterol can build up the blood vessels, increasing the risk of heart disease. Cholesterol is produced by the liver and is also found in certain foods, such as eggs and dairy products. The body needs cholesterol to function correctly, but when there is too much cholesterol in the blood, it can build up on the walls of the arteries. This buildup can narrow the arteries and restrict blood flow, leading to heart disease.
Many believe that healthy lifestyle changes will immediately lower their cholesterol levels. However, it is essential to understand that cholesterol levels change over time, and there is no set period in which they are guaranteed to drop. While cholesterol-lowering drugs can produce a change within 6 to 8 weeks, lifestyle changes may take longer to impact. Usually, it takes about three months for cholesterol levels to start changing in response to healthier habits. However, some people may see results sooner, while others may not change for several months. It is essential to be patient and consistent with lifestyle changes to see a meaningful impact on cholesterol levels. There are a number of lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your cholesterol levels. Here are five of the most effective.”
“Lack of sleep has been linked with higher cholesterol levels,” Dr. Mitchell shares. “Getting enough sleep is essential for maintaining a healthy cholesterol level. Sleep helps the body to regulate metabolism and decrease inflammation. When we don’t get enough sleep, our bodies produce more stress hormone cortisol, which can increase inflammation and lead to higher cholesterol levels. In addition, when we’re sleep-deprived, we’re more likely to make unhealthy food choices and eat foods high in saturated fats, which can also contribute to higher cholesterol levels. So if you want to maintain a healthy cholesterol level, ensure you get enough sleep.”
Dr. Mitchell says, “Quitting smoking has many benefits, including reducing cholesterol levels. After a person smokes a cigarette, the levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or ‘bad’ cholesterol, in their blood increase. This can lead to a buildup of plaque in the arteries, restricting blood flow and increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke. However, quitting smoking can help to lower LDL levels and reduce the risk of these cardiovascular problems. Smoking can also raise HDL levels or ‘good’ cholesterol. This type of cholesterol helps to remove LDL from the bloodstream and prevent it from building up in the arteries. As a result, quitting smoking is not only good for your heart health, but it can also help to lower your cholesterol levels.”
Dr. Mitchell reminds us, “Eating a healthy diet is one of the most important things you can do to lower your cholesterol. Cholesterol is a type of fat that is found in your blood. Too much cholesterol can lead to heart disease. Eating a diet low in saturated and trans fats can help lower cholesterol levels. Examples of foods that are high in saturated and trans fats include:
Replacing these foods with ones that are low in saturated and trans fats, such as:
“It’s no secret that exercise is good for your health,” Dr. Mitchell states. “It can help you lose weight, improve your cardiovascular health, and reduce your risk of developing chronic diseases. Exercise can also have a positive impact on your cholesterol levels.  Too much cholesterol can lead to plaque buildup in the arteries, increasing the risk of heart disease. However, regular exercise can help to lower cholesterol levels by increasing the amount of HDL (good) cholesterol and reducing the amount of LDL (bad) cholesterol in the blood. In addition, exercise helps improve the endothelium’s function, which is the layer of cells that line the blood vessels. A healthy endothelium helps to prevent cholesterol from sticking to the walls of the arteries. As a result, exercising regularly is a meaningful way to maintain healthy cholesterol levels and reduce your risk of heart disease. Even moderate exercise can help to lower cholesterol levels.”
According to Dr. Mitchell, “There are a few key reasons why losing weight can help lower cholesterol levels. For one, carrying excess weight can lead to inflammation, which in turn can increase cholesterol levels. Losing weight can help to reduce inflammation and promote a healthy balance of cholesterol in the body. In addition, fat cells produce hormones that can raise cholesterol levels. When you lose weight, you reduce the fat cells in your body, which can help lower cholesterol levels. Finally, losing weight can improve your insulin sensitivity, which helps to keep cholesterol levels in check. By improving your insulin sensitivity, you can help to prevent the build-up of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol in the blood. Consequently, losing weight is an important step in managing cholesterol levels and promoting heart health.”
Dr. Mitchell says this “doesn’t constitute medical advice and by no means are these answers meant to be comprehensive. Rather, it’s to encourage discussions about health choices.”
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