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Cholesterol Readings

Hi all,

I have recently been eating oat bran everyday and exericsing 30 minutes (heavy cardio) every other day in order to keep my heart healthy overall.

I went back and looked at an insurance form from a couple of years ago that said I had an overall cholesterol of 214...but none of my other readings were elevated. At that point in my life I had gone from working out regularly to not working out and was a teacher who ate school lunch most days (can't be good for cholesterol). At any rate, I had a whole heart workup last year and they said my cholesterol was fine but that my triglycerides were a little hi and to avoid fast food too often. Since then I have been the healthiest I have been my whole life...running, eating well, watching fat and cholesterol intake.

I guess my questions are:

1. How long do you have to have high cholesterol before it starts to do damage to your arteries (ballpark...I know it's impossible to be precise)?

2. I don't have any family history of coronary heart disease...this is usually a good thing...correct?

3. What do I want my level to be at...150? 170?

Thanks all...
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61536_tn?1340701763
1. How long do you have to have high cholesterol before it starts to do damage to your arteries (ballpark...I know it's impossible to be precise)?

I don't know, I'm not a doctor, but I do know that anytime your cholesterol is out of the suggested range, it isn't doing your health any favors.  All people begin laying down cholesterol in their arteries to some degree in their 20s.


2. I don't have any family history of coronary heart disease...this is usually a good thing...correct?

Usually, yes, but it just removes one risk factor and there are many - most of which you can do something about, like the triglycerides.  AVOID TRANS FAT like the plague.


3. What do I want my level to be at...150? 170?

I believe the old guidelines said below 200, but the new guidelines say below 180 is ideal.

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Avatar_f_tn
I meant to say this Swedish doctor claims that HIGH cholesterol is not bad for you, no matter how high he says its all a myth.  I read his book, but until the rest of the doctors in the U.S. will say that I will take my statins for my high cholesterol.
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Avatar_f_tn
How long does it take before high cholesterol will damage your arteries?  This is a very interesting question. I was told it takes decades. I used to work in Neurosonology at a Teaching Hospital in the deep South where patients got their coratid arteries scanned for plaque.  This is what we found at times:

There was this old man who had a total cholesterol of 1000, he said he ate fat back and fried food all his life, he already had been checked out by the Cardiologist and he was fine.  His cartorid arteries were fine, no blockages.  The reason he came to us was because of dizzines, he was 85 yrs old.

Then there was this 39 year old woman with a total cholesterol of 150 and she was brought in because she had a stroke.  She said she never had high cholesterol.

Of course strokes and heart attacks can be caused by other things aside from high cholesterol.

But high cholesterol is not good and can contribute to a heart attack or strokes.  

The new guidlines are below 200 TC, the LDL is what they are really concerned about.  It should not be over 130 for people with NO heart problems and other risk factors as in high BP and diabetes.  If you have these illnesses then the LDL should be under 100.  The HDL should be over 50-60.

There is a book out by a Swedish doctor who claims cholesterol is not bad for you, but this so far is only one foreign doctor who claims that.

Common sense tells you that the to high cholesterol will go somewhere in your body, and will settle somewhere in your body as in your arteries.  Some people are lucky as the old man I described above and their high cholesterol will do them no harm, but it does harm to more people with high cholesterol than it does not.

With your low borderline number you can try to get it down with diet and exercise changes.  I'd start now if I were you because if it creeps up higher they will put you on a statin.

Sometimes diet and exercise does not help one bit as it was in my case.  I eat very healthy and exercise every day.  Mine either shut up from a side effect of a medication I'm taking (high cholesterol is listed as a side effect, but doctors deny it) or I come from a family history of high cholesterol.  

I could not get mine down for a solid year trying natural products etc. and finally had to give in and take Zocor after I got tired of hearing what a "walking time bomb" I was.  While I was trying all the natural products etc in that one year my total cholesterol shot up from 220-306, and my LDL shot to 231 in one year.  I know there is a lot of hype out there about statins.  I'm taking it now for 4 yrs and have absolutely no side effects.  And my total cholesterol is at 180.
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66068_tn?1365196781
A total cholesterol count of 214 is considered borderline.  You didn't say what your hdl was.  That number is important in interpreting your total reading. Take the ratio of total cholesterol (214) to hdl.  If the ratio is less than 5, you are not in much danger (though 3.5 or less is ideal). Check out this website for more info:

http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=183
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Avatar_n_tn
You could also try to raise your HDL.  The higher the better. Having an HDL below 40 for a male can increase your risk  of heart disease. I would ask your Dr about Niaspan. Niapsan can raise your HDL and lower your triglycerides and LDL.
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Avatar_m_tn
hey everyone,

thanks for your insights...I just called my cardio for the results from my test last March (3/06)....they were

Total: 171
Trig: 206
HDL: 26
LDL: 104

Comments?

Thanks
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Avatar_n_tn
    The question for your cardiologist might be, "How aggressive do I need to be to prevent heart disease?"
    If you chose to be aggressive, I would suggest there is still room for improvement, particularly LDL.

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Avatar_n_tn
    While the overall cholesterol number is important, the most important is your ratio between HDL (good) and LDL (bad).  Plaques in your arteries start developing early, so you are absolutely correct about mainting a healthy diet and lifestyle.  
   Arthur Agataston's book, "The South Beach Heart Program" promotes aggressive prevention of heart disease.  I would certainly recommend reading it, and most of your questions will be addressed in the book.  
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Avatar_f_tn
i recently was prescribed SIMVASTATIN 40mg. i got bad side effects swelled legs/ankles, constipation, dizziness. i stopped taking them.however my mind is in turmoil after reading your readers comments.should i take or not?
i am now 71 years 17 stone and take little exercise.my diet is healthy i have stopped drinking beer.i ask---what is considered to be healthy cholestrol levels in my case. i am awaiting a blood test report and do not wish OR i am skeptical about the statins. any help to assist my troubled mind. i would welcome and appreciate.in due course, i await hearing sensibly and thankyou..michael in liverpool uk
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