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 High Cholesterol Running in the Family


You have probably heard plenty about high cholesterol. You know that it can attack your body and cause many medical problems. It is possible that you have struggled with lowering your cholesterol levels with a restricted diet and a strict exercise program. What you may not realize is that when it comes to high cholesterol, hereditary factors are often to blame. You may have had the inclination toward high cholesterol literally from birth. This will make an impact on how your cholesterol can be addressed and managed.


1. What is Hereditary High Cholesterol?


When your tendency to have high cholesterol readings is related to your genes, this is referred to as hereditary high cholesterol. Because your genes cause you to be more susceptible to high cholesterol, you may struggle with keeping your levels down regardless of your diet or exercise.


2. What Problems can Hereditary High Cholesterol Cause?


High cholesterol can lead to a variety of health problems, including heart attacks. Those with hereditary high cholesterol are often susceptible to heart attacks at an early age. This may be as a result of naturally higher levels of cholesterol from the time of birth.


Hereditary High Cholesterol


If your family has a history of high cholesterol make sure that you start getting your blood cholesterol checked when you are young. This will indicate any issues that may already be present so that they can be managed.


3. What Type of Dietary Restrictions can Help with High Cholesterol?


Diet can make a major difference in high cholesterol. Though it will not be as effective for hereditary high cholesterol, diet can help to control your levels and manage the symptoms of high cholesterol. Focus your diet on high fiber food choices as well as lowering saturated fat and staying away from trans fats, both of which are linked to higher cholesterol.


4. What Role Does Exercise Play in Cholesterol?


While diet can help you to control your HDL levels, only physical exercise can help you to decrease your LDL, which is considered bad cholesterol.


5. How Much Does Heredity Impact Cholesterol Levels?


Approximately 1 in 500 people will be born with the genes for hereditary high cholesterol. You only need one of your parents to pass along these genes for you to be impacted by them. While these genes play a major role in your development of high cholesterol, your own behavior is also a major factor. This means that even if you are born with high cholesterol levels, you can do a lot to control them.


High cholesterol is a very common medical concern, but it can be extremely serious. When it comes to high cholesterol heredity plays a major role. Through diet and exercise, high cholesterol can be managed, but genes will always make it more difficult to keep these symptoms under control. It is important to understand your family's role in the development of your high cholesterol so that you know how to manage it in the best way for you.


All plant foods are cholesterol-free. Therefore peanuts have zero cholesterol. All animal foods have varying degrees of cholesterol. Therefore Turkey contains cholesterol. Turkey is moderately high in cholesterol3oz. White meat, (wo skin) has 75mg cholesterol, about 25% daily rec. maximum.3oz. Dark meat, (wo skin) has 100mg cholesterol, about 33% daily rec. maximum. Eating the meat with the skin adds a trivial amount of cholesterol but adds a large amount of saturated fat, which has a much larger (negative) impact on heart health than cholesterol.


6. What can you do if you have high cholesterol?


There are medications that can lower cholesterol, but diet and exercise is the best way to lower it. You need a diet low in fat and cholesterol, as well as high in fiber. Fiber is one of nature's best remedies for many illnesses. You need at least 25 - 30 grams of fiber in your diet every day. When you have high cholesterol, it builds up plaque in your arteries, which can result in heart attack and stroke. Diets that are high in fiber reduce cholesterol levels by actually cleaning the build up of plaque from the arteries. But you have to make a committment to changing your way of eating to ensure you get plenty of fiber. Some foods that are high in fiber are vegetables, whole grain breads and dried beans. You also need to drink plenty of water every day to help 'flush out' your system. Answers Even with changes in diet, the body often needs help to eliminate the bad cholesterol. 


Hereditary High Cholesterol

Changes in diet are one of the first lines of defense against high cholesterol. Too many people eat a high fat diet, short on fruits, vegetables, and fiber. With education, individuals are learning to eat lean meats, cooking with low fat oils like canola and olive oil, and snacking on fruits and vegetables rather than baked goods and high fat dairy foods. Doctors may prescribe medication to combat high levels of cholesterol and bring the numbers down to a safe level. Statin drugs are common high cholesterol medicines, recommended to block the liver's ability to naturally create cholesterol. Another drug used to control cholesterol is bile acid binding drugs. People fail to realize high cholesterol and high blood pressure both contribute to heart attacks and strokes. Not adhering to a heart-healthy diet and taking the recommended medication is tantamount to playing Russian roulette with life.


7. What is high cholesterol?


Firstly, let us determine what cholesterol is. Cholesterol is a waxy substance that occurs naturally in the human body. You need some levels of cholesterol for your body to function. High cholesterol is the buildup of unhealthy amounts of cholesterol. This could lead to the clogging of arteries and other heart related diseases. Make sure you go to your doctor and get a blood test, to check for high cholesterol. If you have a family history or are overweight, these factors increase your risk of heart diseases. These tests can save your life; if you detect high cholesterol and change your lifestyle, it will reduce your risk of having heart disease.


8. How do you get high cholesterol?


While some people are genetically pre-disposed to high cholesterol, most people develop high cholesterol by consuming foods that are high in saturated fats and bad cholesterols. These bad cholesterol foods are mostly fatty animal products -- various cuts of beef, pork and lamb, as well as egg yolks or chicken skin. Animal products like fish are high in unsaturated fats which provide good cholesterols. To lower your cholesterol, lower your intake of high-cholesterol, saturated fat animal products and foods.


9. What to do when your cholesterol is high?


High cholesterol can put you at much higher risk for many problems, including heart attack and stroke (the two leading causes of death in the United States). The problem with high cholesterol is that there are no symptoms, you will feel completely normal. Remember that cholesterol comes from 2 sources- 1) you eat it in your diet and 2) your body makes its own. There are many things you can do to lower cholesterol. Here, I will list some of the easiest (and cheapest) ways to do so. Stop Smoking- this can be the single most important thing you do to lower your cholesterol. Drink in Moderation- excessive alcohol can be bad for your cholesterol, however, studies show that one glass of red wine a day can be very beneficial to your cholesterol. (more than 2 glasses, and the beneficial effect goes away) Exercise more- Increase your daily physical activity, and you can decrease your cholesterol (and risk of cardiovascular problems) dramatically Cut down on foods high in cholesterol- Read the nutrition facts, try and decrease your daily intake. For example, try using egg whites instead of whole eggs. A bowl of Cheerios for breakfast every morning can actually help do the trick too! 


If these lifestyle changes don't give you the results you want, there are many drugs that can lower your cholesterol. Some stop cholesterol absorption, while others stop your body from making its own cholesterol. Some drugs can even stop both (Vytorin)! Nicotinic Acid- this is an over the counter product that is very cheap and can be just as effective as prescription drugs like Lipitor! It can decrease your BAD cholesterol and increase your GOOD cholesterol (Yes, there are good and bad cholesterols). (So, you ask, why do people spend all their money on prescription drugs when they can just use this It is really just as effective) The answer is that yes, it is very effective. But, there can be a few side effects, like skin flushing and stomach upset. However, these side effects go away soon after starting the regimen. It is VERY IMPORTANT to consult a doctor before starting nicotinic acid, as they should monitor your liver function while you are on it. But, you can still be dollars ahead, and get the same effects as a big brand name drug. 


Hereditary High Cholesterol

DO NOT try and start taking this on your own without a doctor monitoring you. Other pharmaceutical products- Statin drugs (Lipitor, Crestor, Zocor, etc.) are very popular and very effective. These can only be prescribed by your doctor. Final Word If you have high cholesterol, it is important to take care of it. It may be the most important choice you will ever make. There are not always second chances, so it is best to take care of it as soon as possible, or you may end up with much bigger problems.


10. Why do you have high cholesterol?


Actually, your body needs cholesterol to function. It helps create hormones, Vitamin D and bile acids. A problem arises when you have too much of the bad cholesterol in your system. When your doctor does a cholesterol panel, it looks at HDLs (good cholesterols) and LDLs (bad cholesterols). LDLs adhere to arterial walls and can lead to blockages. The end result is an increased risk for stroke or heart attack. While high cholesterol can run in families, most people's cholesterol is high because they consume too many animal products that are high in this bad cholesterol. Think beef, lamb and pork products. Fish is also high in cholesterol, but the fats tend to be unsaturated, and the cholesterol is considered good.

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