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Reduce your cholesterol and costs

       Heart disease is the number one killer of women and men in the United States.  High blood cholesterol is one of the major risk factors for heart disease. The higher your blood cholesterol level, the higher the chance for you to develop heart disease or have a heart attack.

What is cholesterol?

       Cholesterol is a type of fat found in every cell of your body. It is critical to the formal function of every cell, but the liver produces enough for our body by itself. But when you have too much cholesterol in your blood, it builds up in the walls of your arteries, making them narrowed and blood flow to the heart is decreased or blocked. If the blood supply to a portion of the heart is completely cut off by a blockage, the result is a heart attack.

       There are two types of cholesterol: the good and the bad. The “good” cholesterol is carried on a small molecule, “HDL” (high-density lipoprotein). It’s called “good” because it can bring cholesterol back from the tissues to the liver and helps keep cholesterol from building up in the arteries. The “bad” cholesterol is carried on a molecule called “LDL” (low-density lipoprotein). This is the main source of cholesterol buildup and blockage in the arteries and has a tendency to release cholesterol into the tissues, including vessel walls.

What causes high cholesterol?

       Many factors can contribute to high blood cholesterol or cholesterol levels that are out of balance. While some of these factors are out of your control, there are some you can manage. Other diseases such as diabetes, and some forms of thyroid, kidney and liver diseases, can cause high cholesterol. Generally speaking, the higher your LDL levels and the more risk factors you have (smoking, not staying active, etc.) the greater your chances are of developing heart disease or having a heart attack.

Treatment

       Some medications can modify the levels of cholesterol that is being produced. However, it is most often caused by a combination of things, such as diet, genetic make-up and poor exercising habits. Besides your genetic make-up, many lifestyle factors affect cholesterol levels and cholesterol balance.

        If you begin drug treatment to help lower your cholesterol, you will need to continue to make any lifestyle changes necessary to get back on track to a healthy life. This will keep the dosage down and help lower your risk in other ways. Your physician can help decide which type of drug is best for you.

       Statins, a class of drugs that help lower cholesterol, work by blocking the enzyme in the liver responsible for producing cholesterol. They also help your body reabsorb cholesterol that has accumulated on your artery walls, helping prevent further blockage in your blood vessels.

       As far as drugs go, Lipitor & Crestor are the most popular cholesterol-lowering medications. It is clinically proven to reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, certain kinds of heart surgeries and chest pain in patients with several common risk factors for heart disease. Lipitor is the top-selling prescription drug for lowering your cholesterol, but it is not the only option available for treatment.

        EquivaMeds is a prescription drug cost-reduction resource developed by physicians to help your doctor understand your costs and options. We know you are well informed about generics, but often have never heard about same-class equivalents. EquivaMeds helps your doctor understand the one thing he or she doesn’t know about your healthcare: the out-of-pocket cost of your prescription drugs. Like generic drugs, equivalent-class medications can save money for millions of people without reducing the quality of care.

       Click the following link to visit EquivaMeds to find out how you can save when it comes to your prescription medication.

Lifestyle Factors:

       Your diet: The average American man consumes about 360 milligrams of cholesterol a day- the average woman consumes about 220-360. Eating too much saturated fat, like the kind found in animal and dairy products, and cholesterol can cause your body to make more cholesterol. Keep in mind your liver produces all the necessary cholesterol needed by the body. You can lower your cholesterol level by eating foods rich in starch and fiber, including fresh fruits, whole grain breads and cereals and vegetables.

       Your weight: Being overweight tends to increase your LDL (bad) cholesterol level. Another effect of being overweight is a high risk of heart disease, which is a direct result of low HDL (good) levels and high triglyceride levels. If you’re overweight and have high cholesterol levels, losing weight may help you lower your cholesterol.

Other factors:

  1. Alcohol: It’s “good” because it increases HDL cholesterol, but it does not decrease the “bad” or LDL cholesterol. Plus, drinking too much alcohol damages the liver and heart muscle, leads to high blood pressure and raises triglyceride levels.
  2. Smoking: Cigarettes reduce your good (HDL) cholesterol and is linked to about 20% of deaths from heart disease.
  3. Stress: A stressful lifestyle plays a crucial role in determining cholesterol blood levels to rise, and exposes the individual to the increased risk of heart disease. Stress itself does not cause high cholesterol, but being stressed tends to lead to an unhealthy diet, being inactive and possibly smoking and drinking.

Things that you cannot control include:

  1. Age and Gender: As men and women get older, their cholesterol levels rise. After the age of menopause, women are at risk for high cholesterol.
  2. Family: Your family history could determine how much cholesterol your body makes. High blood cholesterol can run in the family. Ask parents or grandparents about any high cholesterol history.

              Our goal at EquivaMeds is to provide you and your physician with information regarding potential medication alternatives. We understand your physician is the only person with the clinical training and familiarity with your medical history to best determine the next step for your medication. Your doctor will always provide you with the best care at the lowest cost with the right information. EquivaMeds provides the information.

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