Just How Long Does It Take To Lower Cholesterol

Published: 25th February 2010
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Research tells us that too much of that waxy substance running through our veins that we call cholesterol can and does increase the risk of artery disease, heart attack, and stroke. Most of us know this, but still may not be willing to make those tough lifestyle choices, until we either have a brush with a serious health problem or our high cholesterol forces our doctor to lay down the law. At this point the question most people ask is how long does it take to lower cholesterol?

The truth of the matter is, it depends. Chances are when high cholesterol levels are detected your doctor will ask you about your diet and offer some cholesterol lowering suggestions. These would include holding saturated fat intake to around 10 percent a day, by reducing the consumption of red meat, butter, cheese, and other foods whose saturated fat content doesn't meet heart healthy requirements. Foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains which are low in fat may be recommended as alternatives to high fat foods.

An exercise routine consisting of 30 minutes a day, three times a week may be suggested for those physically able to take the plunge.

How long does it take to lower cholesterol with diet and exercise? Research tells us that a diet low in saturated fat and high in fruits and vegetable combined with exercise can lower bad cholesterol levels by as much as 35 percent in 14 days or less. The average cholesterol reduction is about 23 percent for those reducing saturated fat levels down to 7 percent per day. The typical person will not be willing to go that low and the overall reduction for diet and exercise to reduce blood cholesterol levels is about 15 percent in a two to three week period.

But dietary changes combined with exercise simply aren't enough. There are many reasons for this including a simple lack of willpower or underlying medical condition such as diabetes. Diabetes can cause blood cholesterol levels to shoot through the roof. In these cases a cholesterol lowering drug may be prescribed.

In the area of cholesterol prescription drugs the drug category of choice for over ten years are statins. Statins work by blocking the enzyme HMG-CoA reductase that is needed by the body to signal the liver to produce cholesterol.

How long does it take to lower cholesterol with statins: Where diet and exercise are the mallet, statins are the sledge hammer that pounds cholesterol levels down up to an amazing 63 percent in as little as one to two weeks. There are a number of concerns with statins. First they often cause muscle aches, pain, and cramps.

Second, the rapid decline in cholesterol can swing the pendulum too far the other way starving your cells of essential cholesterol. And lastly, a rash and upset stomach are common mild side effects.

Additionally, there is another option as well. That of natural cholesterol lowering remedies. Most natural cholesterol remedies work by either reducing the production of cholesterol by the body (those containing red yeast rice) or limiting the absorption of cholesterol through the intestines.

The question of how long does it take to lower cholesterol with natural remedies is one that varies greatly from product to product, but generally speaking you should see some improvement in 2 to 3 weeks with the bulk of improvement being seen in the 3 or 4 week.

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