Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
How to lower cholesterol?
Old 10-29-2008, 12:19 AM   #1
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
DangerMouse's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Silicon Valley
Posts: 1,812
How to lower cholesterol?

The results of my bloodwork are in and I need to do something to lower my cholesterol. LDL is 124 and total cholesterol is 191. Obviously I want to do this without having to resort to medication.

What has worked for others to successfully lower their cholesterol numbers? I eat oatmeal for breakfast most days and I have started working out with a trainer 3 days a week in an effort to lose a few lbs.

I've done a net search and that has given me some other ideas but I would be interested to hear what did or didn't work for others.
__________________

__________________

I be a girl, he's a boy. Think I maybe FIRED since July 08. Mid 40s, no kidlets. Actually am totally clueless as to what is going on with DH.
DangerMouse is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 10-29-2008, 12:29 AM   #2
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
harley's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Following the nice weather
Posts: 6,439
I've got similar problems. My doctor's appointment isn't until next week, but I ran my own tests and I'm at 227/148. Worse, my HDL is only 25 (genetic condition) so I need to be under 100 LDL.

The research I've read is to cut out all saturated fats (red meats and dairy), as well as trans fats and tropical oils. Eat small portions of fatty fish (salmon, tuna), olive and canola oils, nuts. Lots of veggies and apples and pears. Lose weight. Exercise more. Fish oil and red yeast supplements can help, but check the counterindications, especially on the yeast.

Of course, I've been doing all that for 3 months, and I've still got lousy numbers. Not sure how high I was before, but this obviously not something you can change very fast. It's going to be a long haul. Good luck. I'll keep you and the others informed in the Wednesday Weigh Inthread.
__________________

__________________
"Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement." - Will Rogers, or maybe Sam Clemens
DW and I - FIREd at 50 (7/06), living off assets
harley is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-29-2008, 05:43 AM   #3
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by DangerMouse View Post
The results of my bloodwork are in and I need to do something to lower my cholesterol. LDL is 124 and total cholesterol is 191. Obviously I want to do this without having to resort to medication.

What has worked for others to successfully lower their cholesterol numbers? I eat oatmeal for breakfast most days and I have started working out with a trainer 3 days a week in an effort to lose a few lbs.

I've done a net search and that has given me some other ideas but I would be interested to hear what did or didn't work for others.
Really?? What is your HDL?? Your numbers that you show are well pretty good. I mean I have numbers at 210 total 130 LDL HDL 60 and triglycerides 60 and take nothing but exercise my rear off and eat a real good diet.
__________________
Yankees Rule is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-29-2008, 06:01 AM   #4
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Rambler's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 2,250
DangerMouse - I think 191 is under the upper limit, but only by 9pts, so I can understand you wanting to get it down, but may be more important to get HDL up if it is too low (you don't give that figure).

When I did Atkins my total went down and HDL went up, and I had also heard from other sources (can't remember where now) that reducing carbs or replacing high GI/GL carbs with lower GI/GL carbs can help. One way to do that is to stop drinking fruit juice, and eat the fruit instead (includes fiber, which lowers the GI). Another is to reduce simple carbs like white bread/flour and replace with whole grains (like you are doing with oatmeal...but don't eat it with white toast and butter like I did when I was a kid). IIRC, fish oil and flaxseed (ground and added to oatmeal) also help. And of course, exercise, plenty of it, is mandatory.

R
__________________
Find Joy in the Journey...
Rambler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-29-2008, 06:29 AM   #5
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 50
I have been on drugs for high cholesterol for 10 years. If it runs in your family it is about all you can do. I try to eat right, I am over weight by the standards but I can fit into a size 8 dress, I can move 3 tons of material a day (did this when building stone walls in the back yard), and I have good blood pressure 120/75. Any of us could drop dead, but I don't think the drugs can harm you if you are a basic healthy person; I am very high muscle and maybe that is my problem my ratio is good 3.4.
__________________
blessed is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-29-2008, 06:36 AM   #6
Moderator Emeritus
CuppaJoe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: At The Cafe
Posts: 6,866
The numbers my doctors recommended changed according to changed risk factors. The natural method did not work for me, not even Dean Ornish, with weight loss and lots of exercise. I came within two weeks of a major heart attack which moved me into the high risk level. Doc now recommends LDL under 70 which I do with a statin. I tried three statins and the one that works for me with minimal side effects is Lipitor.

IMO, it's not really the numbers that matter but a combo of ways to mitigate risk factors, the hardest one for me was/is stress reduction.
__________________
CuppaJoe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-29-2008, 07:21 AM   #7
Full time employment: Posting here.
Delawaredave5's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 606
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rambler View Post
DangerMouse - I think 191 is under the upper limit, but only by 9pts, R
Some recommendations on the "upper limit" were lowered in last couple years to 180 . Just when you get below 200, they lower the bar....

I eat a lot of oatmeal, nuts, and dried fruits. When you reduce meat and dairy and there's only so much frigging veggies you can eat - you're left with carbs.

I try to stay with complex carbs with "calories to carb (grams)" ratios of 4 to 1 - so that's dried fruits, veggies, oatmeal -- and not breads, etc.

Food sources high in carbohydrates - Time-to-Run Nutrition section - nutritional information for athletes
__________________
Delawaredave5 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-29-2008, 07:32 AM   #8
Administrator
W2R's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: New Orleans
Posts: 38,934
My doctor suggested both meds and lifestyle changes so that has been my approach.

I find that regular intense workouts at the gym help a lot. I am talking about an hour of serious working out (not socializing), at the level at which I, uh, perspire freely, grunt, feel I am pushing myself, do not rest, chat, or walk slowly between machines, and pretty much don't notice others, 3-4 days a week. I do mostly weight machines but also some cardio; I think either would work. My doctor originally suggested 30 minutes of walking 5 days a week but I don't always do what he says.

Surprisingly, what I eat doesn't seem to have as much effect as advertised in my case. I can't see any effect at all. Daily Quaker oldfashioned oatmeal doesn't seem to lower my cholesterol levels. Also, a low fat diet doesn't seem to help my cholesterol, either. I stick to weight watchers anyway, since overweight is a constant battle for me. Even though they are low in calories, I try not to pig out on whole eggs or shrimp, for cholesterol reasons. Hard to avoid shrimp completely in Louisiana, but there aren't that many in a cup of gumbo a couple of times a month.

Exercise is the key, for me, rather than what I eat. Perhaps that is because I work in a cubicle and otherwise lead a very sedentary life. Of course, meds help the most (but they don't really do as much good unless I stay active). My doctor is very happy with my total cholesterol, HDL, LDL, and triglycerides now.
__________________
Already we are boldly launched upon the deep; but soon we shall be lost in its unshored, harbourless immensities.

- - H. Melville, 1851
W2R is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-29-2008, 07:46 AM   #9
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Rambler's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 2,250
Quote:
Originally Posted by Delawaredave5 View Post
Some recommendations on the "upper limit" were lowered in last couple years to 180 . Just when you get below 200, they lower the bar....
Thanks, didn't realize that...it is still 220 in my asian country...180 back home means I may have to exercise a bit harder to make sure I get that ER health insurance.

R
__________________
Find Joy in the Journey...
Rambler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-29-2008, 09:54 AM   #10
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Kansas City
Posts: 7,409
Hmmm - 240, age 65.

Last night homemade smoked chicken Gumbo/Tiger sauce//saltine crackers and a Classic Coke, no exercise - but with a Wal Mart mutivitamin.

Let's hope when the time comes - I croak in my sleep with a smile.

heh heh heh - yeah,yeah I know - bad to the bone - get off my butt and do the right thing. My blood pressure is a tad high also.
__________________
unclemick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-29-2008, 01:11 PM   #11
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
DangerMouse's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Silicon Valley
Posts: 1,812
Thanks everyone for their input. I'm not sure what my HDL is, will have to wait until I get a copy of the full report from my Dr. I know that overall my numbers aren't bad, however I don't like the thought of being so close to being in the bad column. I want to improve my numbers to the stage where I can make the occasional slip up and not have to worry about what that is doing to my cholesterol.

I don't want to resort to a pill at this time, as for me that would be a slippery slope that I see family members relying upon. I would prefer to try to fix this through other methods, give it a good try for 3 months and if it doesn't work resort to medication. I have family members who take a pill for everything, blood pressure, cholesterol etc. and as I have been so vocal I feel I should at least say I tried. There is a strong history of diabetes in my family so would like to avoid that as well.

I don't eat a lot of red meat, eggs not that often either, even when we have pasta I buy the wholewheat kind with the egg yolks omitted.

I think the biggest key for me might be the exercise. I plan on sticking with working with my trainer for 3 times a week until the end of the year and hopefully that will help my weight. I'll get my numbers retested in the new year and see if it has helped.
__________________

I be a girl, he's a boy. Think I maybe FIRED since July 08. Mid 40s, no kidlets. Actually am totally clueless as to what is going on with DH.
DangerMouse is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-29-2008, 02:10 PM   #12
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
FIRE'd@51's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 2,322
Quote:
Originally Posted by DangerMouse View Post
I'm not sure what my HDL is
You didn't mention it, but if you know what your Triglycerides are, you can calculate the HDL from the Friedwald Equation:

Total Cholesterol = LDL + HDL + 0.2 x Triglycerides

My understanding, from talking to a lab technician a few years ago, is that they measure the total cholesterol, HDL, and Triglycerides directly, then use the Friedwald Equation to calculate LDL.
__________________
FIRE'd@51 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-29-2008, 02:29 PM   #13
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
harley's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Following the nice weather
Posts: 6,439
Quote:
Originally Posted by FIRE'd@51 View Post
You didn't mention it, but if you know what your Triglycerides are, you can calculate the HDL from the Friedwald Equation:

Total Cholesterol = LDL + HDL + 0.2 x Triglycerides

My understanding, from talking to a lab technician a few years ago, is that they measure the total cholesterol, HDL, and Triglycerides directly, then use the Friedwald Equation to calculate LDL.
That is what I was told too.

DM, from everything I've read, and I've read a lot, your HDL level is the most critical factor. If it is high, like 70 or more, your LDL will be cleaned out of the blood vessels just fine. I read one article that stated that an HDL level above 100 would pretty much guarantee that something beside heart disease would have to take you out.

However, from everything else I've read HDL levels are very hard to change. They don't have meds that work very well for it, and the eating/exercise routes usually only take it up maybe 10%. Not much good when you're at 25 or so like me. That's why they focus so hard on lowering LDL. Diet and exercise can make a big difference there, and the meds even more so.

So find out what your HDL is, and make your decisions from there. I support your decision to try to manage it without meds if you can. I hate drugs that have been prescribed to me, which makes no sense based on my fondness for the unprescribed ones earlier in my life. However, I would recommend a 3-6 month trial, not just 3 months. Cholesterol takes more time to change than some things, and your numbers don't indicate that you're in any immediate danger, mouse.
__________________
"Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement." - Will Rogers, or maybe Sam Clemens
DW and I - FIREd at 50 (7/06), living off assets
harley is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-29-2008, 02:41 PM   #14
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
FinanceDude's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 12,484
Eat the oatmeal you have to COOK for breakfast everyday you can.

Take a high grade fish oil supplement

Cut down on processed food, dairy, and red meat.

Add flaxseed to your meals if possible.

Consider a low flush Niacin supplement

Exercise regularly

Rich will be along shortly to tell me I am crazy......
__________________
Consult with your own advisor or representative. My thoughts should not be construed as investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results (love that one).......:)


This Thread is USELESS without pics.........:)
FinanceDude is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-29-2008, 03:05 PM   #15
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
calmloki's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Independence
Posts: 5,459
We do oatmeal pretty much every day - not the little paper pouch stuff - also eat butter, not much red meat but lots of frozen prepared foods. We do 30 min. exercise about 5 times/week. I'm a tall skinny 58YO male. Doc put me on a baby aspirin/day and 40mg (?) of Lipitor - wasn't jazzed about taking Lipitor, a statin, and cut my dose in half with his knowledge. My fasting numbers from July '08 are 129 total, 59 triglycerides, 59 HDL, 58 LDL.

BTW, for Lipitor users: the cost of Lipitor is only $10 or so more for twice the dose - you can split the pills and save some $$. I quarter my 80s, perhaps not medically optimal, but i'm a thrrrrifty coot.
__________________
calmloki is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-29-2008, 03:44 PM   #16
Full time employment: Posting here.
toofrugalformycat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Anchorage
Posts: 731
DH had high cholesterol, my total was ok but HDL was way low (genetic problem). His doc wanted to put him on niacin.
We both have relatives with cholesterol problems.
We were already exercising vigorously already, but in order to avoid drugs we radically changed our diet and increased the exercise.
We are both now well inside the good range now, all done with diet and exercise. I acknowledge that there are some people who cannot achieve this with just diet and exercise, but it's definitely worth a try, because neither DH or myself are particularly athletic.
Suggestions by others are good, but there is one thing I didn't see mentioned yet. Alcohol. I drink 1/2 glass of wine at dinner, DH drinks one glass. We were pretty much teetotalers before.
Medical studies on cholesterol and diet have to control for alcohol, because the alcohol effect is so powerful (the French paradox).
But doctors are reluctant to encourage people to drink, because of the latent alcoholics out there. It's healthier to have high cholesterol than to be an alcoholic.
So be careful about that.
BTW when I cut out all animal fats, although my LDL came down, my HDL was still too low. So now I have an egg yolk a day (along with my two egg whites for protein). My HDL is cool now.
I'll bet you will enjoy your new lifestyle, and make friends at the gym. I know we have.
__________________
toofrugalformycat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-29-2008, 03:56 PM   #17
Moderator Emeritus
Rich_by_the_Bay's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 8,827
Quote:
Originally Posted by FinanceDude View Post
Rich will be along shortly to tell me I am crazy......
You're crazy.

But your advice is sound .

It's all worth trying. Most of the time people fall off the wagon or it doesn't work. Statin are not the best first choice, but when indicated they are effective and usually very safe (unless you are one of the few to get side-effects).
__________________
Rich
San Francisco Area
ESR'd March 2010. FIRE'd January 2011.

As if you didn't know..If the above message contains medical content, it's NOT intended as advice, and may not be accurate, applicable or sufficient. Don't rely on it for any purpose. Consult your own doctor for all medical advice.
Rich_by_the_Bay is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-29-2008, 06:27 PM   #18
Recycles dryer sheets
IBWino's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 423
Quote:
Originally Posted by toofrugalformycat View Post
Suggestions by others are good, but there is one thing I didn't see mentioned yet. Alcohol. I drink 1/2 glass of wine at dinner, DH drinks one glass. We were pretty much teetotalers before.

Medical studies on cholesterol and diet have to control for alcohol, because the alcohol effect is so powerful (the French paradox).
But doctors are reluctant to encourage people to drink, because of the latent alcoholics out there. It's healthier to have high cholesterol than to be an alcoholic.

So be careful about that.
Yeah, I've read this many times and my doctor concurs; moderate alcohol consumption tends to raise HDL levels.
__________________
IBWino is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-29-2008, 08:00 PM   #19
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
harley's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Following the nice weather
Posts: 6,439
Then I'm really in trouble. I try to remember to have a drink or 2 every day. Usually remember at least half the time. And I'm still below 25. I think this is one of those things I'm just not going to be able to do much about.
__________________
"Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement." - Will Rogers, or maybe Sam Clemens
DW and I - FIREd at 50 (7/06), living off assets
harley is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-29-2008, 09:38 PM   #20
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
JPatrick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,494
If you take/or would take a multivitamin, you might consider "Centrum Cardio."
It's a multivitamin with phytosterols which have been proven to have some impact on cholesterol.

A little info on phytosterols below--much more at google..
As a food ingredient or additive, phytosterols have cholesterol-lowering properties (reducing cholesterol absorption in intestines).[1] Phytosterols occur naturally in small quantities in vegetable oils, especially sea buckthorn oil (1640mg/100g oil),[2] corn oil (968mg/100g),[3] and soybean oil (327mg/100g oil).[4] One such phytosterol complex, isolated from vegetable oil, is cholestatin, composed of campesterol, stigmasterol, and brassicasterol, and is marketed as a dietary supplement. Sterols can reduce cholesterol in human subjects by 10% to 15%.[5]
The mechanism behind phytosterols and the lowering of cholesterol occurs as follows: the incorporation of cholesterol into micelles in the gastrointestinal tract is inhibited, decreasing the overall amount of cholesterol absorbed. This may in turn help to control body total cholesterol levels, as well as modify HDL, LDL and TAG levels. Many margarines, butters, breakfast cereals and spreads are now enriched with phytosterols and marketed towards people wishing to lower their cholesterol levels.

I'm a believer in a daily multivitamin, so my thinking is that adding some phytosterol can only help.
__________________

__________________
JPatrick is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
cholesterol 73ss454 Health and Early Retirement 59 07-24-2008 04:18 PM
home cholesterol testing simple girl Health and Early Retirement 12 06-16-2008 07:36 PM
Cholesterol Levels and Carbs Buckeye Health and Early Retirement 67 10-09-2007 06:32 PM
Cholesterol drugs in the elderly ferco Health and Early Retirement 36 06-07-2007 10:56 AM
Diversifying Doesn't Lower Risk, But It Does Lower Potential Gain justin FIRE and Money 44 11-05-2005 05:16 PM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 04:28 AM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.