Common Myths About High Cholesterol
High cholesterol levels are a major risk factor for the development of cardiovascular disease. It is a poorly understood disease because there are usually no symptoms and treatment depends on the cause and severity. The rumors about high cholesterol levels may be true, but they are often false. Here are some common misconceptions about high cholesterol
If your total cholesterol is below 200, you don’t have to worry about heart disease.
Wrong, cholesterol is one of the leading causes of heart disease, but it is not the only cause. Also, even if your total cholesterol is fine, high LDL cholesterol and low HDL cholesterol can make you more likely to have heart disease.
High cholesterol only occurs in older adults
While it may be wrong to assume that older people have higher cholesterol levels, this can also happen in younger people. If you are healthy, the American Heart Association recommends that you control your cholesterol in your 20s. In the age of fast food and video games, children with high cholesterol levels are seen well before puberty. Therefore, it’s a good idea to have your blood lipid levels checked before you turn 20, especially if you have family members with high cholesterol.
There are many people who have diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol but are of a normal weight. A newly released study shows that cholesterol-lowering drugs can also help lower blood pressure. The researchers say this is the first study to show that statins work in this way in people. The researchers looked at 973 men and women in Southern California.
If your cholesterol is high, you may need to take medication
This is not always the case. Depending on your health history and cholesterol levels, there may be some lifestyle changes you can make before considering medication. This may include quitting smoking, eating a low-fat diet, and exercising in moderation. If this doesn’t help, it may be time to consider cholesterol-lowering medications.
If you’re uncomfortable, that’s okay
It doesn’t have to be that way. Heart disease is a potentially life-threatening condition, especially if you don’t see your doctor regularly. In fact, many people don’t even know they have heart disease until they have their first heart attack or stroke, which is why it’s so important to see your doctor regularly to make sure your heart is healthy. Generally, you won’t have the symptoms associated with high cholesterol, which is a silent condition that can lead to heart disease, such as high blood pressure or diabetes.
A home cholesterol test or fair medical exam is very accurate
Yes or no It depends on the type of cholesterol test and the correct use of the kit. For example, there are tests that simply measure the total cholesterol level in the blood. This method is effective in determining if a person has high cholesterol, but it does not break down the lipid subgroups that make up total cholesterol: HDL, LDL and triglycerides. Finding high can protect you from heart disease. Also, before you go to a health fair or home cholesterol test, make sure you haven’t eaten anything in the last 8 hours. Otherwise, some aspects of your lipid profile, especially triglycerides, may be higher than they really are.
If your test results are high or your numbers have changed significantly, ask your doctor to have your cholesterol tested by a reference lab. Testing at home or on the road is rarely done by a lab professional who understands what can cause errors. Medical laboratories are certified, tested and validated for accuracy.
Natural products are a good alternative to cholesterol medications
False: There are many natural products, such as herbs and vitamins, that have been shown to lower fat levels, but their effects are generally modest. On the other hand, some herbal supplements have not been shown to lower cholesterol levels. Therefore, if your doctor determines that you need to take cholesterol-lowering medication, do not substitute herbal remedies.
Taking statins can cause rhabdomyolysis and liver damage
Rare: Not a myth, but these are two rare side effects of taking statins, up to 1 in 10,000 people.7 Statins, also known as HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, work on all aspects of cholesterol, including LDL, HDL, and triglycerides. Therefore, they are commonly used to lower cholesterol levels. In addition, they have other beneficial effects, such as reducing inflammation.
Diet and exercise alone are supposed to be effective in lowering cholesterol
That’s not necessarily true. In some cases, a healthy diet and moderate exercise can help lower cholesterol levels. The American Heart Association recommends starting with exercise, whether you’re taking statins or not. However, there are some people for whom the amount of exercise or any healthy diet will help. In these people, high cholesterol may be genetic. Scientists are interested in this fact and have identified several genes that may contribute to high cholesterol. Exercise and diet may be otherwise healthy, but they don’t necessarily lower your cholesterol and triglyceride levels. If this is the case, your health care provider may prescribe cholesterol-lowering medications to help you lower your fats.
Treating high cholesterol and/or triglycerides is a lifelong process. Medications can lower levels quickly, but it often takes 6 to 12 months to feel the lifestyle changes. It is important to develop an effective treatment plan and to stick with it once you start to see results. Stopping treatment usually leads to an increase in blood lipid levels, which can increase the risk of cardiovascular problems such as heart attacks and strokes.
Many people who stop treatment do so because of side effects. However, with the wide variety of medications available today, most people should be able to find an option that works for them. Before you go to a health fair or take a home cholesterol test, make sure you haven’t eaten anything in the past eight hours. Otherwise, some aspects of your lipid profile, especially triglycerides, may be higher than they really are. If a medication is not right for you, talk to your health care provider who can recommend an alternative medication that fits your lifestyle and preferences.