Apart from the obvious causes of heart disease, such as smoking, sedentary life styles, improper diet, etc, high cholesterol is often portrayed as the main reason and concern given to impending heart disease. Granted there is certainly a strong correlation where some forms of cholesterol play a part, however there needs clarification.
There is basically two types of cholesterol; LDL, and HDL. According to several credible sources, new research indicates that we want our LDL levels around 200 (not 150), as many GP / medico's claim. Also it's now come to light, that it's not saturated fats that causes heart disease and diabetes, but moreover it's the unsaturated fats and refined processed carbohydrates! Still there remains controversy among many health professionals! Throw into the mix that there is valid concerns about arterial inflammatory implications and one begins to reason that there is more to heart disease and diabetes than was previously determined.
Also little known and never talked about usually by mainstream medicine is the two particle sizes of LDL cholesterol; see here for a better understanding; VAP cholesterol test Diabetes is also a concern where cardiovascular disease exist for both are correlated. If blood glucose is elevated, or at pre diabetes levels, then it's also highly likely our LDL levels will be up as well.
So we obviously want to reduce LDL levels to around 200 and increase the HDL to 75+. So is that all there is to it? Well yes and no, for this understanding sounds easy and straight forward, and indeed it can be, however most people will not achieve and maintain this without considerable dietary and lifestyle change, and herein lies the challenge. High LDL is primarily treated with drugs by the medico's and some have been found to have serious side effects, although in extremely high LDL levels (over 330), these drugs can be required, however they should be viewed as a short term palliative measure, whilst lifestyle and dietary changes are being undertaken.
We also need to keep in mind that there is a ratio measure that can be useful and it works like this; The HDL value is equated over the LDL value. For example, if our HDL is 50 (upper range) and our LDL, is 250+ (getting high). We can just drop the zero's, and see 5 / 25 = 5-1, now this ratio would be viewed as somewhat borderline by the informed alternative medicine community however be deemed as too high and in need of statin drugs by the medical fraternity! In reducing our overall cardiovascular disease risk characteristics it is better to lower the LDL levels to around 200 while still maintaining our efforts, through diet and exercise, to keeping HDL elevated to around 75+ then we have the desirable ratio of around < 3.1
OK, So let's keep this simple; Diet - low intake of polyunsaturated fats and more of the healthy monounsaturated fats is required. Foods containing monounsaturated fats reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, while possibly increasing high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. However, their true ability to raise HDL is still in debate. Margarine, (a polyunsaturated fat), provokes chronically high levels of LDL cholesterol, and has been linked to both heart disease and cancer. The new soft margarine's or tub spreads, while lower in hydrogenated fats are still produced from rancid vegetable oils and contain many additives.
Medium chain triglyceride foods such as butter, organically grown eggs, as does olive and coconut oils gain our priority. A low sugar intake, so limit soft drink, including diet soda's, as the added aspartame is also very insidious in its effect on our entire circulatory system. We must exercise (not strenuous if overweight or over 55 years), at least 30 mins per day, walking is best, a cyclical 3 days on, 1 day off, works well for most.
There is much information available on heart disease and diabetes, both can be largely avoided, or even reversed, however prevention is best, so regular check up's are important.
See here as to how we have been very misinformed!!