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Cholesterol

Does Cholesterol Lowering Prevent Another Stroke?

Have you suffered from a stroke in the recent past? Studies show that nearly 40% of the people who have had a stroke in the past will have another within the next 10 years.

It’s high time to realize that high cholesterol is the main factor associated with blood clots and a larger risk of stroke. However, there is no need to worry.

In this article, we will discuss the cholesterol-lowering measures that will help you prevent another stroke.

Stroke And Cholesterol

First, let’s try to understand what cholesterol is. It is a waxy substance that is found in your blood.

Cholesterol Lowering

When your cholesterol levels are high, fatty deposits will develop inside your blood vessels.

Over a period of time, these deposits will grow, restricting the flow of enough blood to your arteries. Sometimes, all of a sudden these fatty deposits can break leading to a stroke or heart attack.

Types Of Cholesterol

When you undergo a test, it shows your total cholesterol levels. The total cholesterol consists of LDL (low-density lipoprotein), HDL (high-density lipoprotein), and triglycerides.

LDL cholesterol is the bad cholesterol that causes blood clots and eventually stroke. On the other hand HDL, cholesterol is the good cholesterol that offers protection against stroke.

LDL Cholesterol Levels

Research reports reveal that lowering cholesterol can bring down the risk of another stroke by about 20%. Let’s check the ideal LDL cholesterol levels you need to maintain.

For those patients who are suffering from a stroke caused by a blood clot, there are strong recommendations by the National Stroke Guidelines.

If the count is 2.8 mmol/L (110 mg/ dL) then it is a clear indication that there is a higher risk of stroke. It is highly advised that such patients take medication and reduce LDL cholesterol to below 1.8 mmol/L (70 mg/dL). 

Top 4 Lifestyle Changes For Lowering LDL Cholesterol

Here are some proven lifestyle changes that will help bring down your LDL cholesterol levels.

1. Follow A Healthy Diet

Reduce the consumption of saturated fats. They are often found in red meat and full-fat dairy products. Cutting down such foods can bring down your LDL cholesterol.

Also avoid foods such as margarine, cakes, and cookies. They contain trans fats or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils that raise your overall cholesterol levels.

Try to add whey protein to your diet. It helps in the reduction of both LDL and total cholesterol.

2. Engage In Regular Physical Activity

Make sure that you do moderate physical exercise for at least 30 minutes 5 times a week. If you engage yourself in vigorous aerobic activity, do it for 20 minutes three times a week.

3. Say No To Smoking

Smoking increases your LDL cholesterol and reduces your HDL cholesterol. Quit smoking so that the bad cholesterol comes down.

4. Drink Alcohol In Moderation

Studies show that excessive drinking will lead to a rise in your LDL levels. Thus, it is better to drink alcohol, only in moderation.  

Medications That Help Lower Your LDL Cholesterol

One of the most commonly used medicines to reduce LDL cholesterol is statins. To date, they have shown a good overall safety profile.

A study conducted on over 1,35,000 people who are at risk for a heart attack or stroke reveals that those who used statins had a 25% reduced risk of having a heart attack or stroke unlike those who did not take it.

In the case of high-risk populations (mainly congenital heart disease patients, hypertensives, and diabetics) they lower the incidence of strokes. Atorvastatin 80 mg and rosuvastatin 40 mg are examples of high-dose statins.

Additional Information On Statins

In order to bring down LDL cholesterol to the target level, you may need to take other medicines, in addition to statin. Ezetimibe is one such medication.

If ezetimibe on top of statins also doesn’t work, then a PCSK9 inhibitor medication is generally trialed. High-dose statins may have side effects. Hence always consult with your doctor before going ahead with any medication. 

Conclusion

Hope you had a good read on how to lower cholesterol to prevent another stroke. However, the key lies in following a healthy lifestyle along with medication.

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Erick Albert is an American Dietitian who has postgraduation in dietetics and an undergraduate in human nutrition. He helps you to change your eating habits so that you can get control over your numbers. Erick Albert provides you with a low-fat diet that is high in fiber and can help you to lower bad cholesterol levels.

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