Professor Kazem Fathie, M.D., F.A.C.S., F.I.C.S., Ph.D.
Chairman, American Academy of Neurological and Orthopaedic Surgeons
Some scientific researchers believe that cholesterol and the subsequent problem related to high cholesterol is a medical problem. This is due to the fact that the deposit of cholesterol seen in the carotid arteries and cerebral vessels (blood vessels feeding the brain) and other large and small vessels in the body, can cause a stroke (CVA), as well as heart attack. We feel that the central nervous system is an extremely important area which we should learn about in order to be able to prevent high cholesterol levels and problems related to it.
WHAT IS CHOLESTEROL? Cholesterol is a fatty substance in the body, essentially in every cell. It is found in food of animal origin, specifically eggs, milk, meat, fish and poultry.
STROKE AND EXCESS CHOLESTROL LEVELS… An excess of cholesterol in the blood will deposit, which hardens the arteries (in the walls of the vessels) and creates narrowing of the arteries. As a result, less blood can reach the organs beyond the narrowing, such as the brain. If the narrowing started in the arteries in the neck (carotid arteries) the brain will suffer (stroke) and if the narrowing started in the vessels in the heart, the heart will suffer (heart attack). The buildup of the deposit on the wall of the vessel is called arteriosclerosis. CHOLESTEROL TYPES… Cholesterol itself is combined of two components; one is referred to as low-density lipoprotein or LDL and the other is high-density lipoprotein, which is referred to as HDL. There is also another kind of cholesterol, which is referred to as a very low-density lipoprotein, referred to as VLDL. It should be mentioned that the low density lipoprotein carries most of the cholesterol which is dangerous for the body, while the high density cholesterol is actually a good cholesterol and would be beneficial to the body. Therefore, we refer to LDL as bad cholesterol and to HDL as good cholesterol. It is rather easy for a laboratory to obtain your blood and check the HDL and LDL, as well as the VLDL and report it to your physician. There is a statement that the American Heart Association has recommended that a healthy adult should eat no more than 100 mg. cholesterol per 1,000 calories of food and not to exceed 300 mg. per day. In other words, if you are eating 2,000 calories per day, you should have no more than 200 mg. of cholesterol in it.
HOW TO PREVENT HIGH CHOLESTEROL
IN THE BODY DURING A LIFETIME.. You can decrease the cholesterol in your body by eating less animal products and saturated fats. Eat more fruit, vegetables and whole grain products. Choose polyunsaturated and monounsaturated vegetable oils and try to eat substitutes for other harmful foods, such as eggs. Desired cholesterol level is below 200 mg. per deciliter and is borderline when it reaches 200 to 239 and is considered to be high when it is over 240 mg. per deciliter. This is obtained from the 1987 National Institute of Health report.
1) It is advisable that you limit eggs to two per week even if your cholesterol is in a normal range.
2) You can replace the egg yolk with an egg white.
3) If you are overweight, try to lose weight.
4) Exercise daily and properly. It is suggested that a high cholesterol level can be familial. You should teach your children to try to stay healthy right from the beginning of their life to try to prevent collection of cholesterol in their bodies at a later age. Read on every package of meat, oil, etc., the fat content, since that is a good key to know what to avoid when the fat content is abnormally high. Changes can be made in your diet, such as:
5) Substitute 1% or no fat milk for whole milk.
6) Use yogurt instead of ice cream.
7) Avoid liver, kidney, skin of chicken, shrimp, eggs, oysters, dark meat of turkey, half and half, mayonnaise, sour cream, cream cheese, brownies, butter, coffee, Danish pastries or egg custard. You can always substitute these things with other products on the market.
8) You can replace butter with margarine and substitute cottage cheese for cream cheese, etc. For further information, contact your physician and health professionals and seek information in the library or on the web.