Cholesterol is an important building block for your body to produce many different components such as hormones, vitamins as well as membranes for your cells. Although Cholesterol gets a bad rap it has lots of important functions in our body.
The problem occurs when our cholesterol levels are too high. Specifically if our LDL cholesterol is too high it can lead to fatty deposits in our blood vessels. This can increase the risk of suffering a heart attack or a stroke.
There are three main types of cholesterol which include LDL cholesterol which is the Bad cholesterol, HDL Cholesterol which is the good cholesterol and lastly triglycerides. The goal with therapy with patients with high cholesterol is to decrease a patient's LDL cholesterol and triglycerides while increasing their HDL cholesterol. This can be managed through diet, exercise and with medication.
If you have high cholesterol you want to choose foods that are higher in fibres such as oatmeal as oat bran. We normally do not get enough fibre in our diet so it may be advisable to supplement with a fibre supplement. Having a diet higher in fibre decreases the absorption of cholesterol into your bloodstream.
Eating a diet that has more fish in it is helpful because it is a source of omega-3’s which can help to increase your HDL cholesterol which is your good cholesterol. You want to avoid foods that are high in saturated fats as well as trans fats as they can increase your production of LDL cholesterol or bad cholesterol. Sources of saturated fats include Palm oil, cooking margarine as well as coconut oil. It is better to have a diet that focuses more unsaturated fats. Examples of unsaturated fats include Fish, Flaxseed oil, Sunflower oil as well as Canola oil.
Exercise is important as it can increase your HDL levels which is your good cholesterol. Optimally you would want to do a moderate level of exercise in the form of cardio exercise for 30 minutes five days per week.
Sometimes diet and exercise alone are not enough to help manage your cholesterol and you need to add medication to help lower if further. It does not mean it is a passport to fast food and Big Macs! But it is taken in addition to lifestyle changes to help you further in the management of your cholesterol.
EStatins are medications that can be used to lower your LDL cholesterol or bad cholesterol as well as Triglycerides. They have a slight positive effects your HDL cholesterol which is your good cholesterol. Examples of medications that are statins are Lipitor (Atorvastatin), Lescol (Fluvastatin), Pravachol (Pravastatin), Crestor (Rosuvastatin) and Zocor (Simvastatin). Sometimes Statins can be associated with muscle soreness and some of the Statins should be avoided with grapefruit juice.
Bile Acid Binding Resins
This class of medications helps to decrease your LDL cholesterol which is your bad cholesterol and can result on some issues with constipation, bloating, nausea, gas and heartburn. Examples from this class include, Cholestyramine as well as Colestid.
Cholesterol absorption inhibitor
The only medication in this class of medication is Ezetimibe. It helps to decrease your LDL cholesterol which is your bad cholesterol as well as triglycerides and also slightly increases you HDL. It can be associated with some stomach pain as well as muscle soreness.
Fibrates are a class of medication that helps to decrease triglycerides as well as increase HDL. Examples of this class of medication include Fenofibrate and Lipidil Supra. They sometimes can be associated with some stomach pain and nausea as well as headaches and dizziness.
At iCare Pharmacy we can help to give you helpful advice in regards to dietary changes, how to adjust your lifestyle and which medication is best suited for the type of cholesterol profile you have. A patient for example who has high Triglycerides will need a different approach to therapy then a patient with high LDL cholesterol. It depends on your lipid profile as well as your medical history. Contact us today for a consult and let us help with the proper management of your cholesterol.