The Cholesterol Facts that Will Keep You on Track
Cholesterol is a complex and controversial subject, but these key points will help you make goal-oriented decisions.
- Choices concerning how to lower cholesterol always need to be verified by testing, but the numbers that count are never total cholesterol and just LDL cholesterol. The most meaningful cholesterol numbers are apo-A and apo-B, which give much better insights into the state of your cardiovascular health.
- Total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and HDL cholesterol are best treated as estimates of your progress, not absolute diagnostic tools. "Normal" cholesterol levels are not necessarily a marker of good health, and "high" cholesterol levels almost never mean you will have a heart attack right away.
- For most people, a low-cholesterol diet has limited effects on cholesterol levels, because the body only gets about 15 per cent of its cholesterol from food. It makes the other 85 per cent from triglycerides.
- Prescription cholesterol medications, especially the statin drugs for lowering cholesterol, get dramatic changes fast - just not in the cholesterol numbers that really count.
- Making your choices among the methods that tell you how to lower cholesterol depends on many factors including triglycerides, homocysteine, and inflammation. Cholesterol is only part of the cardiovascular picture.
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