A Cholesterol-Lowering Approach to Food and Exercise

Eggs and Cholesterol and Heart Disease Risk…Oh My!

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That eggs NO LONGER belong in a heart-healthy diet is what some are concluding from a study published in March 2019.

The study, Associations of Dietary Cholesterol or Egg Consumption With Incident Cardiovascular Disease and Mortality, asked the question: “Is consuming dietary cholesterol or eggs associated with incident cardiovascular disease (CVD)…? ” And the study’s answer was: “Among US adults, higher consumption of dietary cholesterol or eggs was significantly associated with higher risk of incident CVD…”

So asked and answered, right?

Well, not exactly. Some say YES—eggs are now considered not heart-healthy given this study.

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The 2018 Guidelines on the Management of Blood Cholesterol

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How the medical community treats patients with high cholesterol changed dramatically in November 2013 when a new set of Guidelines for recommending cholesterol-lowering drugs was published. The newly published 2018 Guidelines both affirms that approach and adds several more specific recommendations.

A little history: the standard of care for those with high cholesterol before the 2013 Guidelines was for doctors to prescribe a statin—a prescription drug like Lipitor—to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol to a target figure. But the 2013 Guidelines abandoned that ‘treat-to-target’ approach. Instead, the new Guidelines recommended doctors take a more holistic approach based on assessing a patient’s overall 10-year heart disease risk.

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Weight Training for Heart Health

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Regular cardiovascular exercise is a well-known component of heart health, but a recent study shows that lifting weights may also reduce heart attack and stroke risk.

The American Heart Association has long held that to lower cholesterol and blood pressure, one needs to exercise for an average of 40 minutes at a ‘moderate-to-vigorous-intensity aerobic activity’ 3-4 days each week. (Read more about cardiovascular exercise and lowering cholesterol and improving heart health in, How Much Exercise for Boosting Heart Health.)

But weight lifting to help cardio health is a new idea. Gretchen Reynolds explains in her New York Times article,

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Are You CardioSmart?

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CardioSmart—from the American College of Cardiology—is a terrific online resource designed to help people with high cholesterol and heart disease risk understand and improve their heart health.

The CardioSmart site explains “Our mission is to help individuals prevent, treat and manage cardiovascular disease. We are committed to providing visitors to our site with accurate, un-biased information in an advertising-free environment. We hope you enjoy visiting our site and find it a useful extension of your relationship with your cardiologist.”

Understanding the risks and options for managing high cholesterol so you can partner with your physician in creating a treatment plan that best addresses your personal situation is so important.

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What’s Your Heart Disease Risk?

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Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. According to the American Heart Association, “Cardiovascular disease, listed as the underlying cause of death, accounts for nearly 836,546 deaths in the US. That’s about 1 of every 3 deaths in the US.”

1 in 3.

What’s your risk? If you know your cholesterol levels and blood pressure you can calculate YOUR risk of heart disease (and take steps to lower it). It’s easy with this online calculator:

  • Online AHA 10-Year Heart Disease Risk Calculator: Web version *

Once you input your information,

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