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Beyond How to Lower Your Cholesterol

Are you wondering how to lower your cholesterol after learning your lipid panel results?  Is your doctor suggesting you take statins?

If you are like me and a few others, you much rather not take pharmaceutical drugs if you can help it. Of course, some of you may need them.

This post is about encouraging you to dig a little deeper and understand that there is more to this subject that meets the eye.

You will get some tips on how to reduce your cholesterol. Plus, you will learn a few things to help make informed decisions.

Each of us needs to be the captain of our health. No one needs to be more involved in your health and wellness than you do. If you get sick, you are the one who feels the pain. Right?

My first test showed total cholesterol of 249 mg/dL. I was in my twenties and my doctor sent me to a dietitian.

The dietitian was puzzled because she could not find anything to remove from my diet. I ate healthy, clean and was exercising about 8-10 hours a week.

Thankfully, the dietitian didn’t suggest any medication but I was intrigued with what just happened. Then, my detective and curious personality went to work.

There are some gender differences with cholesterol. Female sex hormones release HDL while male sex hormones lower HDL. Meaning, women usually have higher levels of HDL than men.

At menopause, though, estrogen production drops, and so does HDL. This is a good incentive for menopausal age women to find ways to raise their HDL.

Last year my total cholesterol was 258 mg/dL. It has remained about the same in a couple of decades.

There are a few things to be aware of when it comes to cholesterol.

What is Cholesterol Ratio?

Doctors use the numbers you see on your lipid blood test to learn your risk of heart disease. They seem to focus primarily on your total. Meaning, if it is over 200.

Cardiologists look at ratios. They look at LDL to HDL ratio and at total cholesterol to HDL ratio. The latter seems to be the most predictive of heart disease.

An ideal ratio is 3.5 or less. 

HDL is a predictor of heart disease according to cardiologists. A study showed that men with a total cholesterol below 200 mg/dL and with an HDL under 35, had a 38 percent higher risk of heart disease.  So, if possible, shoot to increase your HDL.

Let’s see how the ratios work with my September 2020 total of 258. Remember, doctors advised a total of 200 mg/dL or less.

The breakdown was LDL 154 mg/dL and HDL 87 mg/dL.  Looking at ratios, the LDL to HDL ratio is 1.77 (154/87) and the total cholesterol to HDL ratio is 2.97 (258/87). Those are the ratios a cardiologist would look at according to the classes I took at Dr. Sears Wellness Institute. My ratios are under 3.5.

Interestingly enough, half of the people who have heart attacks have a total cholesterol under 200. Harvard Publishing (Harvard Medical School) shared the information in “Heart attack despite low cholesterol?”

Some of you may find this CNN article on one cardiologist’s mission quite interesting.

How to Lower Your Cholesterol

There are many ways to help you reduce your cholesterol. Below are three to consider.

  1. Exercising, having fun and eating healthy everyday foods, are some ways to control high cholesterol.
  2. Increasing your HDL is another way. How? Research has shown that the Mediterranean way of eating is ideal for better cholesterol and overall health. Talk about how to reduce cholesterol with diet!
  3. Consulting a complementary and alternative medicine (CAM)doctor.

Dr. Michael Woodworth, from Makari Wellness, is someone I have known for years. He is an Acupuncturist/Chinese Medicine doctor in Oceanside, CA.

He told me that Chinese medicine does not measure cholesterol. The reason is because it cannot be felt in the pulse ( taken at your wrists) or seen in the tongue. He shared that it is not a truly classical disease.

What he treats is the person’s pattern. He uses blood circulation herbs as well as other Chinese herbs to help people.

Do I Really Need Cholesterol Medication?

This is definitely a discussion between you and your doctor. As a matter of fact, I remember panicking over the years with my cholesterol results.

My intention is to bring you a broader perspective that you may not get from your doctor. It is up to you to investigate further and make your own decision.

You may want to ask your doctor to order a C-Reactive Protein (CRP) blood test along with your cholesterol.

Dr. Andrew Weil, as well as many physicians, believe that adults should have an hs-CRP test anytime their cholesterol is tested. CRP is a protein in the blood that signals inflammation.

“Your level of C-reactive protein can be an indicator of how at risk you are for developing cardiovascular problems. This is because the development of atherosclerosis (laying down of cholesterol inside the blood vessel walls) is associated with inflammation within the vessel walls.” Hopkins Medicine.

I will write an update and will share more in depth upcoming cholesterol details. It is my belief that every body’s body is unique and you need to be the captain of your health.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. Hopefully, it was informative and helpful.

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