Hypothyroidism And High Cholesterol
The thyroid gland situated in the neck in front of the windpipe can become overactive or underactive.
Thyroid hormones help to produce cholesterol in the body and also to get rid of any excess of it in order to maintain normal levels.
An underactive thyroid means that lower levels of the thyroid hormones are circulating in the blood and subsequently, your body is unable to break down the LDL cholesterol as efficiently. This causes more cholesterol to float around in the blood.
An overactive thyroid has the opposite effect and can drop the levels to abnormally low values.
Managing Stress In Healthy Ways
Even if you cant find a way to reduce chronic stress, finding healthy coping mechanisms can help keep cortisol production and cholesterol levels under control. Some examples are meditating, getting a good nights sleep, and doing activities that make you happy. Some simple things, like petting a dog, can increase oxytocin production, which fights stress and lowers blood pressure. Professional counseling can help you develop healthy coping mechanisms for chronic stress.
Diet Rich In Saturated Fats And Trans Fats: Most Common Cause
An unhealthy diet is the most common cause of having high cholesterol readings. Foods that contain saturated fats and trans fat are the main culprits.
Trans fat foods not only raise your LDL but also lower your HDL, the good cholesterol. That makes it the worst food you can eat vis-à-vis cholesterol.
Saturated fats are found in :
- Dairy foods such as butter, cheese, sour cream, ghee, full-fat milk and ice cream
- Red Meat such as fatty cuts of beef, pork and lamb organ meat, processed meats like salami and sausages and the skin on chicken
- Certain cooking oils like palm oil
- Seafood like prawns and lobster
Trans fats are found in :
- Cakes, pies, and cookies
- Packed wafers
The American Heart Association recommends that you replace foods containing saturated fats and trans fats with foods that contain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
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What Other Medications Treat High Cholesterol
Bile acid sequestrants: These drugs bind with cholesterol-containing bile acids in the intestines and allow them to be eliminated in the stool. Bile acid sequestrants may lower LDL cholesterol by a significant amount. Bile acid sequestrants are sometimes prescribed with a statin to enhance cholesterol reduction.
- Cholestyramine , colestipol , and colesevelam are the three bile acid sequestrants currently available. These three drugs are available as powders or tablets and are not absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract.
- Bile acid sequestrant powders must be mixed with water or fruit juice and are taken once or twice daily with meals. Tablets must be taken with large amounts of fluids to avoid stomach and intestinal complaints including constipation, bloating, nausea, and gas.
Cholesterol absorption inhibitors: These drugs inhibit cholesterol absorption in the gut and has few, if any, side effects. Cholesterol absorption inhibitors may be rarely associated with tongue swelling . Ezetimibe reduces LDL cholesterol by a significant amount. It is probably most useful in people who cannot tolerate taking statins. When used in addition to a statin, ezetimibe is equivalent to doubling or tripling the statin dose.
Nicotinic acid or niacin: Nicotinic acid lowers total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglyceride levels while raising HDL cholesterol levels.
Fibrates: These cholesterol-lowering drugs are effective in lowering triglycerides.
What Kind Of Research Was This
This was a cross-sectional study that explored whether there is a link between job stress and abnormal levels of fats in the blood.
Some studies have found a link between job stress and an increased risk of coronary disease. There are various theories about how this link might come about for example, by stress increasing the likelihood of unhealthy habits such as smoking.
Some studies have also suggested that stress could directly influence levels of lipids in the blood by possibly adversely affecting the body’s metabolism. However, these studies have been small and in selected populations, and have had mixed results.
In the current study, researchers wanted to assess stress and lipid levels in a large representative sample of workers. As this study is cross-sectional, both stress and lipid levels were assessed at the same time. This means the study cannot establish whether participants’ lipid levels were directly influenced by their stress levels.
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Lessen The Intensity Of Your Reaction To Stress
A study conducted by University of College London researches found that âindividuals with larger initial stress responses had substantially greater rises in cholesterol than those with small stress responses.â In fact, those in the top third of stress responders were three times more likely to have high cholesterol. Based on this study, researchers concluded, âIt appears that a person’s reaction to stress is one mechanism through which higher lipid levels may develop.â
Clearly, decreasing your reaction to stress will increase your health. Because stress is a key factor affecting your health on multiple levels, it is essential to find ways to manage stress in the best way possible. This will help reduce your risk of high cholesterol, which leads to greater risk of heart disease.
Why Reducing Stress Is Much More Important Than Lowering Cholesterol
Most people believe that heart attacks are due to fatty foods that elevate blood cholesterol, which somehow clogs up the coronary arteries and eventually obstructs blood flow. As a result, we are urged to restrict fat, and if necessary, lower cholesterol with statins, which block the production of cholesterol, and/or other drugs that inhibit its absorption. But cholesterol is a large, inert molecule, and since it is difficult to see how it could infiltrate the arterial wall, it is now claimed that coronary disease is caused by LDL bad cholesterol. However, consider the following dozen facts:
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Does Stress Cause High Cholesterol
The last place Nima Kelly wants to spend her time is in the doctors office, which is why she is now spending more time on the golf course.
“I think spending time outdoors makes a big difference in reducing stress,” she said. And for Kelly, reducing stress was a big step in reducing something else unwanted in her life — high cholesterol.
Dr. Bimal Padaliya with HonorHealth says stress itself is often an under-recognized cause of high cholesterol.
“Stress levels can increase your level of cortisol and adrenaline, that leads to high cholesterol,” he explained.
Cortisol is the primary street hormone.
Padaliya says stress can also contribute to other cholesterol-raising factors, as well — less activity, not exercising, poor diet.
Kelley remembers her first visit with Padaliya.
“The doctor was actually quite concerned about the stress level of my job,” she recalled.
She said she already had a family history of heart disease. Combined that with a stressful job as a corporate attorney, she knew some changes were needed.
“I knew at some point if I didn’t start taking some baby steps in different areas, that it very well was going to catch up to me,” she said.
It turns out they really were small steps.
“I have also now taken up some weight training and some hiking and some golfing, which just has a way of relaxing me,” she said,
Those changes were enough to ensure Kelly needed only a small dose of a statin drug to really bring her cholesterol down.
Diet Isnt The Only Factor
When people have high cholesterol, they tend to go on diets that reduce generally unhealthy ingredients like saturated fats, salt and processed sugar. This is often recommended by a doctor after a routine cholesterol check, which men and women should have regularly starting at ages 35 and 45, respectively.
The problem is that diet doesnt always fix high cholesterol. For a lot of people, elevated cholesterol levels arent just a result of what theyre eating. Theyre also a factor of what theyre doing and the amount of stress that they deal with on a day-to-day basis.
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Unexpected Signs You Have High Cholesterol
Your eyes, legs toenails and skin may indicate signs of high cholesterol. If you dont treat high cholesterol it leads to plaque build up in your artery walls, known as atherosclerosis, and limits blood flow. If you are diagnosed with high cholesterol your body has so much bad cholesterol that it doesnt even know what to do with it.
Getting A Cholesterol Test
A blood sample is taken that will be used to determine the amount of bad cholesterol , good cholesterol and other fatty substances in your blood.
You may be asked not to eat for 10-12 hours before the cholesterol test, usually including when you’re asleep at night. This ensures that all food is completely digested and won’t affect the outcome of the test.
Your GP or practice nurse can carry out the cholesterol test and will take a blood sample, either using a needle and a syringe or by pricking your finger.
A newer type of test that measures non-high-density lipoprotein is now sometimes used because it’s thought to be a more accurate way of estimating cardiovascular disease risk than LDL.
Non-HDL cholesterol is total cholesterol minus HDL cholesterol. It’s also not necessary to fast before the test, so it is more convenient.
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What Were The Basic Results
Job stress was reported by 8.7% of participants. Participants reporting job stress also had higher levels of anxiety and depression symptoms.
After the researchers took into account factors that could affect the results and adjusted them accordingly, people who reported job stress were found to have 10% higher odds of having abnormal lipid levels .
They also had increased odds of:
- high levels of “bad” cholesterol
- low levels of “good” cholesterol
- a high total cholesterol to “good” cholesterol ratio
- a high “bad” cholesterol to “good” cholesterol ratio
Tips To Manage Your Stress
Fight the urge to overeat, binge on junk food or alcohol, or smoke when youâre stressed. All of these may seem to help you relax, but theyâre short-term fixes that have long-term effects on your health.
These unhealthy habits can also raise cholesterol. Lifestyle changes like exercise, healthy eating, and not smoking can help you manage your cholesterol and stress at the same time.
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Is High Cholesterol Dangerous
High cholesterol is just one of several risk factors for coronary heart disease. A health-care professional will consider a person’s overall risk when assessing their cholesterol levels and discussing treatment options.
Risk factors are conditions that increase a person’s risk for developing heart disease. Some risk factors can be changed and others cannot. In general, the more risk factors a person has, the greater the chance of developing coronary heart disease. Some risk factors can be controlled however, some cannot be controlled.
Risk factors that cannot be controlled include:
- Family history of early heart disease
Risk factors that can be controlled include:
- High blood cholesterol
- Low HDL cholesterol
You Experience Leg Pain While Exercising
If you experience a burning pain or feel like your legs are tired or heavy it may indicate poor blood flow to your legs, which could be related to high cholesterol. Pain may impact one or both legs, as well as any part of the leg from the calf to your buttocks. Most of the time the pain subsides with rest but then reoccurs when you do the same level of activity again, such as walking two blocks.
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Stress And Cholesterol: Does Stress Cause High Cholesterol
Everyone goes through periods of stress, especially these days. Stress is a natural part of life, brought on by problems great and small. It can come from a traumatic event, like the loss of a loved one, everyday worries about work, finances, and friends, from fear of illness, anxiety or depression, or even just from having an irregular sleep schedule. Your body is hardwired to respond to stress with a series of protective chemical reactions. But suffering from constant stress can be bad for your health. One of the dangers is the correlation between chronic stress and high cholesterol.
Where Did The Story Come From
The study was carried out by researchers from Ibermutuamur a mutual insurance company dealing with work-related accidents and occupational illnesses and two universities in Spain. There were no external sources of funding for the study.
It was published in the peer-reviewed Scandinavian Journal of Public Health.
The Mail Online’s headline over-interprets the research, as the study did not assess whether people in stressful jobs were more likely to die. The body of the story was reasonably accurate, but it did not highlight that this type of study cannot prove that one factor is definitely causing another.
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Medical Causes That Raise Your Cholesterol Levels
Certain drugs and hormonal therapies are known to cause hyperlipidemia. They are classified as medical causes and include:
- Estrogen and corticosteroids can raise the levels of triglycerides and HDL.
- Oral contraceptives
- Beta blockers prescribed for hypertension and glaucoma
- Diuretics prescribed for hypertension and to get rid of extra accumulated fluid in the body.
Stress Changes Your Behavior
Experiencing too much stress over a long period of time can wreak havoc on your body and put you at an elevated risk for heart disease and having a heart attack as you age. Theres more to how stress impacts your heart and your general health, though.
When youre stressed out, youre not nearly as likely to get up and exercise in the morning. Youre going to hit the snooze button and try to catch a few more winks instead. The same goes for trying to hit the gym at the end of a 15-hour day or after a fight with your partner.
The amount of stress youre under also plays a major role in lifestyle choices. People who are under a great deal of stress tend to choose comfort foods to eat instead of picking healthy options. Isnt it more likely that you could binge on ice cream when youre stressed out than when youre happy and in a great mood?
Adults who consume alcohol are also susceptible to drinking more when theyre under a lot of stress. Those extra calories can impact your weight, not to mention the damage too much alcohol can do to other parts of your body like your liver.
Individuals who smoke or who have recently quit are also more likely to light up when under stress.
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What Is Considered Dangerously High Cholesterol
Total cholesterol levels less than 200 milligrams per deciliter are considered desirable for adults. A reading between 200 and 239 mg/dL is considered borderline high and a reading of 240 mg/dL and above is considered high. A reading of less than 40 mg/dL is considered a major risk factor for heart disease.
Sample Collection & Processing
The study protocol involved collecting fasting blood sample from each participant by 9.00am. The samples were collected from the same students on each of the following periods:
One-three hours before any major examination , and
Three-four weeks before any major examination .
Subjects were made to relax before sample collection which was done with minimal stasis and pain. Samples consist of 5mls of venous blood collected aseptically from antecubital vein and dispensed into fluoride oxalate tube for blood sugar estimation and plain venoject® tube for other studies. The blood in the plain tube were transported to the lab in ice pack, centrifuged immediately using refrigerated centrifuge and an aliquot of the separated sera stored frozen until analyzed within 48 hours, for cortisol and adrenaline levels. The rest were stored at 4°C for the estimation of lipid profile within 48 hours. Both samples and reagents were brought to room temperature before analysis.
Commercial control serum was included in each assay to evaluate the assay method and technique.
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Stress Isnt The Only Culprit
It is important to note that stress isnt the only reason we suffer from high cholesterol levels. While its a silent killer and common, there are many other reasons your cholesterol levels could be high. Diet is certainly a factor, but so are genetics and other lifestyle choices that you make. The place you work or the chemicals that you inhale from where you live can also cause cholesterol levels to increase.
This is something that scientists are still trying to understand. We have come a long way since believing that all cholesterol was bad. Now we know that some cholesterol is good, and we want it to our bodies, but we need to make sure that it is good.
While stress isnt the only culprit, it is one of the main reasons for high cholesterol levels and other health problems. Its best to keep the stress levels at bay as much as possible.