Saving Your Life: The Natural Way
You go to the doctor’s office to get your cholesterol checked and you are told that you have low cholesterol. You probably think that this is a good thing. What if I was to tell you that this is not a good thing? The low cholesterol that you have is your High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL). This is the good cholesterol. The one that protects against heart attack and low levels increase the risk of heart disease. It is also believed that HDL carries excess cholesterol away from the arteries and back to the liver, where it is passed out the body (LDL and HDL Cholesterol: What's Bad and What's Good?). If you haven’t had this or you have never been told your cholesterol was too high than you are lucky. I unfortunately have a hereditary problem in which my HDL is low constantly. For me exercising and eating a good diet is a must. There is always the option of taking medication but I for one am not big on medication. The important thing is that you must change your lifestyle. If you don’t then it won’t matter how much medication you take (Cholesterol-lowering Medicines). But what is a normal number for your cholesterol to be? Your total cholesterol should be under 200 mg/dl (mg/dl stands for milligrams of cholesterol per deciliter of blood). For a normal male HDL should be 40 mg/dl. A woman should have a level of 50 mg/dl with anything lower than that increasing the risk of heart disease (What Are Normal Cholesterol Levels). Most people who heart attacks have an HDL level below 40 (Torelli 162). My HDL is approximately 28-30 mg/dl. So as you can see this is a bad thing for me because I have an increased risk for heart disease. If you were to look at yourself you are probably thinking I don’t eat out a lot, I exercise, and I feel good so that means that my cholesterol levels are good. Before I found out about this I would have agreed with you because I was the same way. I exercise about 3 times a week for 30 min. at a time, I don’t eat a lot of unhealthy foods, and I quit smoking about 8 months ago. This made me feel pretty good about myself until I was told that my cholesterol was low. Smoking was one of the hardest things to do but I do believe that it helped me in the long run especially when it comes to exercise. I no longer take a long time to recover when I’ve completed a run and I’m not hacking up a lung either. Smoking also drains your body of essential vitamins and lowers your HDL level. When faced with this predicament I found myself asking myself what I could do differently. The doctor suggested that I exercise at least 5-7 times a week for a minimum of 30 min. I was scheduled for a class about eating healthy and then finally I will be re-evaluated in 3 months. If my levels do not adjust after that then I will be have to take a medication that will help to adjust the level so that it is normal. This method of treatment is totally unnecessary and the problem can be solved on its own through time. The best way to raise HDL levels is to exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet of fresh and low fat food. Some doctors say that you will need to use medication, but these have their own bad side effects. To get on the path to raise your HDL levels you must first make a lifestyle change. According to Dr. J. Larry Durstine, more than 60 percent of American adults do not engage in the recommended amount of daily physical activity or planned exercise (30). The American Health Association and American College of Sports Medicine both concur that the daily amount of activity needed is moderately intense cardio 30 minutes a day, five days a week or vigorously intense cardio 20 minutes a day, 3 days a week and do eight to 10 strength-training exercises, eight to 12 repetitions of each exercise twice a week. Physical activity and exercise are often confused to be the same thing when they are not. Physical activity is any form of muscular activity that produces...
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