FACT: 71% of Americans surveyed were not sure of or do not recall their LDL (bad cholesterol) levels.
Because high levels of bad cholesterol can contribute to cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and stroke,knowing your levels and talking to a doctor are important to help manage cholesterol and assess the risk of potential cardiac events.
What is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a fat-like material in your blood. Your body makes its own cholesterol. When you eat foods that have lots of fat or cholesterol, you can have too much cholesterol in your blood.
When there is too much cholesterol, it builds up in the walls of your arteries. If too much cholesterol builds up, the arteries become narrowed and blood flow to the heart is slowed down or blocked.
The blood carries oxygen to the heart, and if enough blood and oxygen cannot reach your heart, you may suffer chest pain. If the blood supply to a portion of the heart is completely cut off by a blockage, the result is a heart attack.
The Good and Bad of Cholesterol
HDL (high-density lipoprotein) is “GOOD” cholesterol
- HDL helps keep cholesterol from building up in the arteries
- Protects against heart disease
LDL (low-density lipoprotein) is “BAD” cholesterol
- LDL causes the build up or blockages in arteries, increasing your risk of heart disease and stroke
- Can cause heart disease
- Triglycerides are another type of fat, and they’re used to store excess energy from your diet.
- High levels of triglycerides in the blood are associated with atherosclerosis
Many people with heart disease or diabetes also have high triglyceride levels.
|When should you be checked?
- If you are 20 years and older
- If you have a family history of heart disease
- If you are a man over age 35
- If you are a woman over age 45
Desirable Cholesterol Levels
< 200 mg/dL
LDL (“bad” cholesterol)
< 100 mg/dL
HDL (“good” cholesterol)
≥ 60 mg/dL
< 150 mg/dL
Prevention and Treatment of High Cholesterol
In addition to making sure to eat a heart healthy diet and avoid tobacco smoke, one of the best ways to prevent and treat High Cholesterol levels is through a well planned and consistent exercise program.
Exercise for Healthy Cholesterol Numbers
To truly lose weight and lower cholesterol, cardiovascular exercise is going to take a key role in staying healthy. It gets your heart rate up and burns the most calories. Exercise helps change one’s cholesterol by lowering the triglycerides and increasing the good HDLs. Exercise does not have much impact on LDL unless combined with dietary changes and weight loss. To get the most benefit out of exercise, be sure to:
- Check with your doctor to ensure safety before starting an exercise program. Do not engage in any activity that causes chest pain, excessive shortness of breath, dizziness, or lightheadedness. Stop immediately if you experience any of these symptoms.
- Start out slowly. If you’re overweight and out of shape, this is especially important when you begin your exercise program. You want to strengthen your heart, not overextend it.
- Gradually increase the intensity and length of your workouts. To start a walking program, for instance, try going for a medium-paced walk for 20 minutes about four days a week. Each week start walking a little longer and a little faster, and add an extra day. Eventually, you want to be walking for about an hour on almost every day of the week. Challenge yourself by doing some light jogging on your walk, or walk up some big hills.
- Keep it interesting. For exercise to be an effective treatment for high cholesterol, you have to stick with your program. If you’re the kind of person who gets bored easily, alternate between sports, outdoor activities, gym work, and classes.
- Don’t overdo it. Remember that improving health and fitness with an exercise program should be a gradual change. It takes time for your body to be fit enough to keep up with strenuous exercise, and you’re likely to be sore, burned out, and frustrated if you push yourself too fast. So while it’s great to be enthusiastic about losing weight, be smart and slow about it. Don’t run five miles your first time out; build up to that pace. This approach will pay off with greater dividends in the long run.
Fitness Advice, Health News
Bad Cholesterol, Good Cholesterol, HDL, LDL, prevention, treatment, Triglycerides
The hip is a complex joint that circumducts in motion. Often times, due to this complexity, the hip is a sight for injury. Pain may manifest inside the joint, on the posterior, anterior, or lateral side.
An injury inside the joint can likely be due to degeneration (osteoarthritis) of the joint, a labral tear, bone spur or fracture caused by trauma. Osteoarthritis of the hip joint can be secondary to previous trauma or genetics. It is a major ailment among the general population and has no cure of yet. The arthritis causes a reduced range of motion, so it is extremely important to work on increasing and maintaining mobility through low intensity corrective exercises and stretching. A labral tear, bone spur or fracture will require a set healing period of time and slow progression of exercises and stretching afterwards.
Common injuries that occur on the posterior side of the joint are piriformis and hamstring strains. The piriformis is a supportive hip muscle underneath the gluteus muscles that is easily strained when there are poor mechanics or gluteus muscles are improperly conditioned and in a compensatory action, becomes the prime mover. This can cause tightness that cause sciatic and lumbar issues. Correction for this requires training corrective exercises specific to the imbalance of the side where pain is associated, and flexibility techniques. A hamstring strain is caused either by an overload on the muscle, or an imbalance between the different muscles or sides of the body. Poor mechanics; for example, pronation (a flattening of the arch), is a likely culprit. Taking the same course of action for healing first, then addressing movement patterns can have a reduced likelihood of future strains.
Anterior injuries that occur are hip flexor and groin strains, or adductor tendonitis. Overload or overuse of the hip flexors from climbing stairs, running or mechanical imbalances can be alleviated through stretching and focus on training the posterior hip muscles. There can also be lower back pain associated with this injury, so stretching the lower back and developing core muscles is important. Adductor tendonitis causes tenderness at the insertion of the adductor at the symphysis. It’s common in athletes and requires a modification in training and stretching, but there is little likelihood for complication. Core strength should be the primary focus to insure there isn’t any compensation in movement patterns.
The most common lateral hip injury is illiotibial band syndrome. This occurs often in runners or athletes with repetitive movement in the sagittal plane, or due to excessive pronation. IT band syndrome results in inflammation where the band rubs across the distal lateral femur and can be felt at the outer side of the hip and at the insertion point in the lower lateral corner of the knee. Proper shoes, stretching and strengthening of the large leg muscles can aid in recovery. Electrical stimulation is an alternative if healing is slow.
The most important things to think about in relation to hip health are core and overall glute strength. Implement a program that works in all planes of motion and conduct a regular stretching routine to reduce likelihood of injury. Please contact me if you have any specific questions.
Fitness Advice, Health News, Strength Training
club, gym, health, hip, injury, Personal Training, prevention, recovery, rehab, Seattle
With the current financial epidemic our country is facing, it seems practical that we go through our bank statements and cut back on any extra spending. But, should your gym membership be one of them? Many publications have been suggesting that the gym is one luxury that you can do without. Although, canceling your membership may seem to save you money, it will cost more than you can afford in the long run and not only in terms of your bank account.
On the surface, an “at-home” routine may appear like a good idea. Before you make the leap, you need to consider the complete ramifications of your actions. After all, a gym environment has a lot to offer. The gym offers structure, and the motivation you get from working out in a group. Exercising with and around others can greatly improve your exercise adherence. Accountability comes from your trainers, friends, and peers, and they often push you during your workout as well. Your home workout will inevitably become less of a priority since you “can do it at any time”. We all know this leads to one place: procrastination. The gym also provides a great deal of equipment that will not be available to you at home. Attempting to replicate your routine outside the gym will leave you without the motivation, community, and the expertise provided by a professional exercise facility.
There is a cost associated with not exercising! Physical activity is necessary for life’s everyday functions, as well as stimulating the body’s own natural maintenance and repair system. By not exercising you increase your risk for many health issues. Research shows individuals who are physically active have substantially lower cancer rates, have fewer heart attacks, are less likely to develop diabetes, have healthier blood pressure levels, lessened risk of stroke, and overall are generally healthier. A variety of studies have shown that exercise combats low energy, stress, and depression and those who participate are more optimistic, sleep better, have stronger bones, and are less likely to be overweight or even catch a cold or the flu. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), inactive adults have considerably higher direct medical costs than active adults, and the costs associated with physical inactivity increase with age. If you take into consideration the costs of maintaining your health without the help of exercise, you are factoring in increased health insurance costs, food costs, pharmaceuticals, and visits to the doctor. The costs of exercising are unmistakable: exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy body can save not only your life, but your money as well.
So, even though your gym membership may cost you every month, think about the savings your membership is actually providing you. If cutting back expenses is what you are attempting, try cutting back on your morning coffee or save by packing your lunch regularly rather than buying. Most importantly, cut back on the things that will not short-change you in the long run. You cannot put a price on your health and personal well-being.
Health News, Lifestyle, Weight Loss, Women's Health
awareness, diabetes, goals, health insurance, Healthy choices, mindful, New Year's Resolutions, prevention, weight loss