SCRIPT NUMBER 93 HIGH CHOLESTEROL (ONE SPEAKER)

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1 SCRIPT NUMBER 93 HIGH CHOLESTEROL (ONE SPEAKER) PROGRAM NAME: HEALTH NUGGETS PROGRAM TITLE: HIGH CHOLESTEROL PROGRAM NUMBER: 93 SUBJECT: SOURCES, COMPLICATIONS, TREATMENT AND PREVENTION OF HIGH CHOLESTEROL KEY WORDS: CHOLESTEROL, FATTY DEPOSITS, OMEGA-3, CRASH DIET, LENTILS, SOYBEANS DATE OF SCRIPT: JANUARY 4, 2013 AUTHOR: RICHARD YUKL, MD, FACS Every year, more than 7 million people die of heart disease in countries both rich and poor, and strokes are the second most common cause of death, killing nearly another 6 million. One of the most common causes of both of these devastating diseases is a high level of cholesterol in the blood. Today, I want to talk about the problem of high cholesterol. Cholesterol is a waxy substance that your body manufactures and uses to make hormones and new cells. Even though it is normally found in blood, having too

2 much cholesterol will increase your risk of many serious diseases including heart disease and stroke. Excess cholesterol is stored as fatty deposits in your liver, causing significant liver damage. It is also deposited in your blood vessels, narrowing the insides of your arteries, making it difficult for blood to flow through them. If your heart doesn t get as much blood as it needs, you will suffer a heart attack. Decreased blood flow to your brain can cause a stroke. Some lifestyle factors are known to raise blood cholesterol levels, increasing your risk of its deadly complications. One such lifestyle factor is your level of exercise. A lack of exercise puts you at risk of developing high cholesterol. Also, cigarette smoking damages the walls of your blood vessels, allowing cholesterol to deposit more easily. Finally, obesity, along with its complications of high blood pressure and diabetes, damages the walls of your arteries, allowing fatty deposits to form. Aside from lifestyle factors, eating the wrong types of food can raise your blood cholesterol level. Some foods are naturally high in cholesterol. These foods come from animal sources and include foods such as eggs, beef, pork, butter, cheese and cream. As you digest these foods, they increase your blood cholesterol level directly. There are no symptoms to alert you to having a high cholesterol level. A blood

3 test is the only way for your doctor can detect it. Once the condition is discovered, a variety of medicines can be used to lower the level. There are medicines that help to prevent your intestine from absorbing cholesterol from the foods you have eaten. Other medicines can prevent your liver from changing body fat into cholesterol. Fish manufacture an oil called Omega-3, which can help lower cholesterol levels. You can buy this oil without a doctor s prescription, but get your doctor s approval if you are taking other cholesterol medicines, as Omega-3 can interfere with these other medicines. Because the complications of high cholesterol are potentially life-threatening, and because suffering one of its devastating outcomes is often the first time a person is even aware they have a problem, it is important to live a lifestyle that will prevent cholesterol from rising to excess levels in your body, or to make immediate lifestyle changes if your cholesterol levels are found to be high. The first line of defense in that effort is to lose any excess weight while eating a healthy diet, and to increase your physical activity. Let us first consider ways you can lose excess weight. Losing even 5 to 10 pounds can help lower your cholesterol level. Start by taking an honest look at your eating habits and daily routine, and set long-term goals that you can keep. You should not try to achieve a normal, healthy weight instantly. Although it is possible to lose weight quickly by starting a crash diet, a slow and steady weight loss of 1 to 2 pounds, that s ½ to 1 kilogram, a week is the best way to lose and keep the weight off permanently. Fruits and vegetables contain no cholesterol. They allow you to eat larger meals and reduce your hunger while taking in fewer

4 calories, so eat more of these plant-based foods. Also, limit the fatty foods you eat to cholesterol-free sources such as nuts, nut oils and olives, rather than highcholesterol foods that come from animal sources, foods such as beef, pork, butter and cream. Drink fat-free milk, and eat egg whites instead of the yolks, which contain high levels of cholesterol. For protein foods, eat foods such as beans, lentils and soybeans instead of meat. These plant-based protein foods contain no cholesterol and less fat than the meat-based protein foods most people eat. If you eat meat-based foods, eat fish rather than beef or pork, as fish oil contains the Omega-3 that helps lower your cholesterol level. Now, let s look at exercise, the other major component of defense against high cholesterol. Regular exercise can help lower your cholesterol level, so try to gradually increase your exercise to 30 to 60 minutes a day. You don't need to get all 30 to 60 minutes in one exercise session. Even if you can do three to six 10- minute sessions of exercise every day, you'll still get some cholesterol-lowering benefits. Take a brisk daily walk, or ride a bicycle. To maintain your motivation, keep it fun. Find a friend who will exercise with you, or join an exercise group. Consider one other lifestyle change that can significantly lower your risk of suffering the devastating complications of cholesterol. If you smoke, quit. Medical science has shown that just 20 minutes after your last cigarette, your blood pressure begins to lower. Within 24 hours, your risk of a heart attack decreases. Within one year, your risk of heart disease is half that of a smoker's. Within 15

5 years, your risk of heart disease is similar to that of someone who's never smoked. Our bodies were created with a complex chemical environment designed to allow them to function in perfect health. Taking reasonable precautions to avoid stressing them beyond their limit will help to keep us from suffering the complications of excessive living. Health Nuggets is written by Dr. Richard Yukl, a medical doctor working in the United States. The medical views expressed in this program are his and may differ for your particular health needs. If you need medical advice, please consult a medical professional in your area.

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