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SAHMWICH Posts: 2,505
12/1/12 4:26 P

I had a full work up done when I went into the doctor. They did an ekg, and blood tests for vitamin deficiencies, cholesterol, thyroid, and diabetes. Everything was normal except my cholesterol. I'm still pretty young (27), and have been in good health for a while now, aside for my weight gain with my recent pregnancy. BUT that is great advice, and I will mention those things to my doctor at my next check up. Thank you.

YACHTSMAN SparkPoints: (1,563)
Fitness Minutes: (0)
Posts: 521
12/1/12 4:03 P

Since heart disease runs in the family, you might test to see if you have high LpA. It is an easy blood test do. Cholesterol might be a risk factor for plaque formation, but there are many risk factors worth looking into - everything from poor dental health, low vitamin D3, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high LpA, etc. can lead to plaque forming.

Best test to do to find out if you are high risk for a cardiac is to have a heart scan done. This will give you a calcium/plaque score. If positive, that means you need to take prevent measures right away.

Thought this a helpful article about heart scans.

"Back to basics: Coronary calcium"


About the genetic condition of LpA, that runs in families and places him/her with it at higher risk of an early heart attack.

"Red flags for lipoprotein(a)"

JUSTDOIT011 Posts: 1,461
12/1/12 1:25 P

I'm glad you are trying to change your diet first, in order to bring your cholesterol down and improve your heart health, rather than relying on medications! I dropped my total cholesterol from 272 to 190 (and its probably still going down) by making a few changes:

1- Limiting red meat, egg yolks, and other sources of saturated fat/cholesterol. I don't put butter on my pancakes or toast or rolls. I eat mainly fish, chicken, and tuna, and I'll have beef maybe like a few times a month. I always have whole eggs and liquid egg whites around in my fridge, so when I make an omelette for b'fast, I'll use 1 whole egg, and the rest egg whites. When I bake or cook, I'll use egg whites or a mix of whole eggs and egg whites.

2- I lost about 40 pounds, and losing weight in general will lower your cholesterol, no matter what your diet is.

3- Excercising (cardio) 4-5 times a week, 30+ minutes each time.

4- Lots of fiber! Well, 25-40g/day. I make sure to get lots of fruits and vegetables in my diet as well as through whole grains. When I go to the grocery store to find bread, pita bread, cereals, oatmeal, etc... I will always look at the nutrition facts label and get the bread with the most fiber in it per serving. Some english muffins have 2g of fiber, and some have 8g of fiber! So it definitely helps to switch to whole grains and read labels before you buy any grain products.

Good luck! I hope you find what works for you!

SAHMWICH Posts: 2,505
11/30/12 7:43 P

Thank you for all this info, guys. Very helpful. I did get all my exact numbers but I can't remember them from the top of my head. I know pretty much all the numbers were right above (or below) where they needed to be except one, which that one I don't remember either. I'd have to find the paper she gave me and have a look at it again.

I was doing very well eating a very low carb low (animal) fat diet. Only eating lean meat, mostly chicken, breast, turkey, and fish. But the last few weeks I've been off it and trying to get it back together. I read the 17 day diet which inspired a lot of changes I made. I try to eat a lot of fresh raw freggies, sticking mostly to vegetables and limiting my fruit to two servings daily. I have 2 servings dairy daily, usually nonfat or lf cottage cheese or plain nf Greek yogurt/kefir. I drink almond milk in my coffee now and avoid sugars the best I can. The great thing about being a part of spark for 6 years is having really learned how to read my labels well.

Anyway I'm getting back into it, and your help is so very much appreciated!

JENSAWIP Posts: 172
11/29/12 1:52 P

I think the diet change that has the biggest impact is moving to a heavily plant based diet (I aim for 1 serving of dairy a day and 1 serving of meat/fish a week - you can easily get the nutrition you need with a balanced combination of produce, grains, & beans) and eliminating processed foods. You also have to get cardio workouts. Not only will that be better for your overall health, it will promote weight loss, which also would probably have a big impact on your cholesterol.
I have high cholesterol, but my levels are the best they've ever been by doing the above. So far, I've lost around 20 lbs, but mainly my HDL (good) has increased & LDL (bad) has decreased to both being in the preferred ranges.
Also, at my last doctor visit, she told me that they're finding that your combined total might not be as important an indicator as the balance between HDL & LDL.

I highly recommend reading The China Study.

Good Luck, I've been there.

ALGEBRAGIRL Posts: 1,925
11/29/12 1:20 P

You say your doctor recommends that changes in your diet will fix it. Ask him (or her) to either refer you to a registered dietician or else he can give you a sheet that explains the specific diet he would recommend.

REBECANOLA Posts: 3,285
11/29/12 12:38 P

I will say that it's important that you know exactly what your numbers. I've had doctors just tell me my overall cholesterol level; I've had to ask to make sure I got the information about triglycerides, HDL and LDL. If your total cholesterol is a *little* high, but your HDL and triglyceride numbers are good, you might not have much to worry about. My overall cholesterol level is now in the desirable category, but it was borderline high. I dropped my overall number by 30 points still eating an egg practically every day (thus going over the magic 300mg cholesterol limit). I haven't been doing that in the last six months and my overall cholesterol level has come down only by a couple points (and I have flax seed in my smoothie every morning). My HDL is 80 and my triglycerides are 50 (down from somewhere around 100). My LDL hovers around 100. I, like you, have heart disease in my family so I keep pretty good track of my numbers. If only the scale would budge a little more for me now.

I don't know if this is directly related to dietary changes, but the things I do are : exercise, of course, avoid processed foods as much as I can, avoid sugar as much as possible (read labels!), watch saturated fat intake, eat good fats (eat nuts and seeds, and I use olive oil and coconut oil mostly), no white foods (flour, pasta, etc) and eat very little grains. I limit dairy and use almond or coconut milk in smoothies and such, but I do have cheese maybe once a week. Doing all that, my total cholesterol dropped, my HDL went up and my triglycerides decreased. I don't know if that would work for you, but it has for me. Most of my fiber comes from fruit and vegetables (and I do eat a decent amount of meat, poultry and fish, sometimes red meat and pork, though I do limit very fatty meats). I've been quite inspired by the tenets of the Paleo diet, though I don't follow the rules to a T.

RUSSELL_40 Posts: 16,826
11/29/12 10:43 A

I had high cholesterol and an HDL of 22. Reading the article by the coach, I just have to disagree wholeheartedly.

I started low carb because I was diagnosed with CHF, and diabetes. I tried the diabetic diet for 7 years, and then 3.5 years ago I started low carb. Within 1 year I was off diabetes meds, and recently, after losing a lot of weight, and starting to exercise a lot, my HDL got up high enough, and I was taken off my Lovastatin.

I eat 4-6 eggs a day with butter, plus 1.5-2.5 lbs of meat, along with nuts, cheese, and vegetables. Sometimes I go very low carb, and get no fiber at all, and I know my cholesterol is way over 300 mg. Still my overall cholesterol is 109, my LDL is 54, my HDL is 39, and my triglycerides are 136.

I'm not saying that the way I eat now will work for you. I am just stating that when I was following the advice from that article my total cholesterol was 197, my LDL was over 110, my LDL was 22, and my triglycerides were way over 300.

If this advice works, why do we have so many people with high cholesterol/ low HDL? I really think that we are clueless on how to manage cholesterol, just making guesses, based on preconceived ideas that fat, and cholesterol are bad. That is why the word " may " is in all those rules.

SCTK519 Posts: 2,086
11/29/12 8:50 A

If your LDL is high, you need to take a look at your diet. If your HDL is low, then you need to be working out more. Your total cholesterol is the combination of both so it's ideal if your LDL is low & HDL is high, but if your HDL is high & that's what's increasing your cholesterol, it's not as bad as if your LDL is high and HDL is low.

Edited by: SCTK519 at: 11/29/2012 (12:50)
TONKA14 Posts: 4,947
11/29/12 8:39 A

You can find many helpful articles in our High Cholesterol Healthy Condition Center on the site
and this article can help you get started.

The Keys to Conquering Cholesterol
Do's and Don'ts for a Healthy Heart

Coach Tanya

SUNSHINE6442 Posts: 2,291
11/29/12 6:50 A

More cholesterol is produced from eating sugar than from eating fat.

Seeds can provide cholesterol-lowering properties...because of the fiber content, sunflower seeds, pistachios, almonds, sesame seeds and pecans are the top five for lowering cholesterol.
Avoiding all fats can lower your LDL, but it also lowers your HDL. but your body needs good fats like olive oils, and certain nuts like walnuts, brazil nuts and avocados. stay away from fatty cuts of meat, butter, coconut oil, cocoa butter, palm oil, bacon, sausage, pork, and poultry with the skin on, Excess carbohydrates. Avoid concentrated sweets like cakes, candies, pies.

Pistachios block absorption of dietary cholesterol so they can lower cholesterol levels and so can cashews. Pumpkin seeds which are rich in phytosterols can also help lower cholesterol.
Sesame seeds are high in nutrition and can increase HDL or "good cholesterol" in the blood.

Cannellini beansare loaded with nutrients your body needs. They help reduce cholesterol.

Green beans can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol and is low in calorie and sodium. Other are romaine lettuce, garlic, mushrooms, basil.

Fenugreek which I take as a supplement also ....available at Walmart

Pine nuts, asparagus, acorn squash and celery are a few more that will help lower cholesterol.

Hope this helps

Edited by: SUNSHINE6442 at: 11/29/2012 (06:52)
SLIMMERKIWI SparkPoints: (250,201)
Fitness Minutes: (41,449)
Posts: 26,963
11/29/12 4:58 A

Below is a link to The Mayo Clinic re lifestyle changes etc for cholesterol problems:

I USED to have bad cholesterol, even tho' I was/am on statins for it. all the lipids were very high except the HDL which was very low. I was also borderline pre-diabetic. I ALSO always ate a really healthy diet of between 1650-1850 calories, and got some regular exercise in. There are a lot of factors involved - your age, your sex, genetics, diet, and smoking. I had genetics against me, BUT I also had overweight against me.

After I had lost about 50lb, ALL my blood results came back perfectly normal - I didn't have to change WHAT I ate, but my Dietitian did put me on 8mg of Omega-3 Fish Oil (titrated up to get to that level) (Be aware that supplements CAN affect certain medications or health conditions, so check with your Dr first if you haven't already.) I just reduced the calories so I could lose the weight. It took time - 16 months to lose that 50lb.

Because I am dairy food intolerant I use soy milk. Just ensure that your milk substitute is a good source of protein and calcium because some of the alternatives aren't (in NZ anyway.)

I hope that you have a good outcome.
Take care,

SAHMWICH Posts: 2,505
11/28/12 9:38 P

so much contradicting information out there

I recently found out my cholesterol is high. its not that bad, my doctor reccommends changes in diet will fix it.

I've read so many things recently of young women dying of heart attacks. Heart disease runs in my family, I don't want to leave my children without a mommy.

So I've been having egg whites only, swithched to almond milk, oatmeal for breakfast, and taking a fish oil pill daily. Trying to get a handle on my calorie intake and emotional binging and stuff too.

Anyway- any suggestions out there for diet changes/additions?

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