Cholesterol Awareness

Cholesterol is a type of fat that is found in your blood. It is required for normal functioning but high levels can also be dangerous leading to heart attack or stroke.

High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL) or “good cholesterol” helps clear bad cholesterol from your blood so it does not clog your blood vessels leading to complications.

Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad cholesterol” can build up in your blood vessels causing restriction of blood flow and increasing the chance of a heart attack.

Total cholesterol of less than 200 is desirable, 200 -239 is borderline high risk and anything over 240 is considered high risk. HDL or good cholesterol is a concern when it gets too low. Above 60 is desirable, 40 to 60 is acceptable and less than 40 is actually high risk and raises your chance for heart disease.

There are many cholesterol lowering drugs such as Lipitor, Zocor, Crestor and Vytorin that are prescribed by doctors, but they have been known to have undesirable side effects. In fact earlier this year the Food and Drug Administration published new safety alerts to this class of drugs. Although high cholesterol has a role in heart disease, it is not necessarily the most important one. Hypertension, high triglycerides and inflammation are all factors of concern.

Often times, people ask if they need to be on medications for high cholesterol. Studies have shown that women taking such drugs were no less likely to have heart attacks or strokes or to die than women taking a placebo. In fact, the desired way to lower cholesterol which is much safer and without side effects is to adjust to eating healthier and exercising. Although many doctors will say that you can’t get people to exercise or eat right, case studies have shown that cholesterol lowering can be achieved with great success naturally.

New Horizon counselors and nutritionist provide custom diet menus and the personal trainer provides an applicable exercise program for each individual. Everyone’s plan is different. The key is consistency, focus and accountability, all of which are expected as patients go through the program. Positive changes in behavior regarding nutrition and exercise over time will become habit forming and a lifestyle. New Horizons patients not only improve their cholesterol readings, but lose weight and increase muscle mass as fat mass decreases.

Empowering the patient and providing an adequate education about fitness medicine is received positively. People want to know and understand how fitness medicine works and are willing to put in the effort once they understand the opportunity for getting to a healthier condition.

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