Website design By BotEap.comShould we really be concerned about having a “high” cholesterol level? Website design By BotEap.comElevated cholesterol levels are considered a risk factor for heart disease, and statins are considered the cure. I already knew that statins had side effects, so when I was told that my cholesterol was too high, I wanted to know more. Website design By BotEap.comThe following is not a medical act, professional insight, or qualified opinion, simply a summary of information available on the web that I personally found compelling. Website design By BotEap.comDoctors in the UK consider a cholesterol level above 5 mml / l (millimoles per liter) to be “high” and an indicator of an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes. In countries like Switzerland and France, average cholesterol levels are higher, but the incidence of heart disease and stroke is much lower than ours. In Russia, average cholesterol levels are much lower, yet the incidence of heart disease is much higher than ours. Website design By BotEap.comHow can this be? Website design By BotEap.comCholesterol is a fatty acid created by the liver and used throughout the body to make new cells and hormones. This is a natural and necessary function and without cholesterol we would die. Website design By BotEap.comSince fat is not soluble in our watery blood, it must mix with a ‘carrier’ protein to form low-density lipoprotein (LDL) molecules that are distributed where they are needed. Unused cholesterol is transported back to the liver via high-density lipoprotein (HDL) for recycling. Website design By BotEap.comThere is no good or bad cholesterol, just cholesterol, and even if we were on a cholesterol-free diet, our bodies would still be creating it. Website design By BotEap.comIt is the physical size of the LDL particles that is of concern. If they are too small, they can get stuck between flakes of arterial plaque that turn rancid over time to increase localized inflammation. For cholesterol to have this effect, the arteries must already have plaque. Heart disease isn’t caused by cholesterol, but if you’re already susceptible, it can make things worse – any fat in your blood could, too, like omega-3s in oily fish! Website design By BotEap.comWe need to have more, larger LDL particles to reduce our risk, and we can do this with changes in our diet to avoid harmful medications. Interestingly, it appears that alcohol and saturated fat in the diet increase the size of LDL particles. Sounds familiar? Yes, like the French diet! Website design By BotEap.comPlaque formation on arterial walls is a response to harmful toxins carried by the blood. Everything we eat will eventually pass through the bloodstream, potentially causing damage, including viruses and bacteria. Normally, blood vessels react to damage by becoming inflamed, neutralizing toxins, then the inflammation subsides and the repair process begins. This process takes a few hours and is happening all the time. Website design By BotEap.comSometimes, however, the inflammation persists, but the repair process is still trying to deposit new cells. The inflammation will try to break down the new cells and it will turn into a localized battle. Even if the repairs work, they only cover inflamed areas (with plaque) and this can continue for many years. Eventually, the loose plaque can break off and cause damage as it moves through the bloodstream. The end result can be strokes or heart attacks. Website design By BotEap.comAlthough cholesterol can make things worse, as any oil in the bloodstream could, it is not the main cause of the problem. Cholesterol seems to be getting a bad press. Website design By BotEap.comStatins lower the total amount of cholesterol, but they also have many side effects such as dizziness, muscle loss, memory problems, and lower bone mass. There is also the risk of kidney damage. This is not surprising since statins are interfering with a natural and necessary process. Website design By BotEap.comSome research indicates that statins can help prevent a second heart attack, but there is little evidence that taking statins makes any difference in the risk of having the first heart attack. Statins appear to have no impact on particle size, only overall volume, so these results are not surprising. Website design By BotEap.comThe threshold for “high” cholesterol is variable and arbitrary, but can lead to prescription drugs in the form of statins that can have serious side effects. Having a high cholesterol level in general doesn’t have to be bad news, but taking statins almost always is. Statins don’t address any underlying problems that some people may have, but they could give false hope. Website design By BotEap.comThere are many interesting sites and some of them are collected on this site.