This is a great time to take charge of your heart health and look at ways to lower cholesterol! One out of every two men and one out of every three women will develop heart disease sometime in their life. Heart disease is the number one killer of men and women in the United States and about 1.25 million heart attacks occur each year in the United States.
Research has clearly shown that lowering cholesterol can reduce the risk of developing heart disease. Whether you have heart disease already or want to prevent it, you can reduce your risk for having a heart attack by lowering your cholesterol level. The American Heart Association and Allopathic practitioners agree that changes in diet and increased physical activity as the first steps in reducing one’s cholesterol level.
Cholesterol is produced naturally by the human body and is essential for its normal function. Two forms of cholesterol exist, high density cholesterol (HDL, also known as “good” cholesterol) and low density cholesterol (LDL, or “bad” cholesterol).
An individual’s cholesterol level may differ for a number of reasons, such as:
- Heredity – one’s genetic composition determines to some extent the amount of HDL and LDL his or her body tends to produce
- Physical activity – in general, cholesterol levels tend to depend to some degree on the amount of physical exercise an individual engages in
- Weight – overweight and obesity may have an effect on the level of HDL and LDL in one’s bloodstream
- Age – cholesterol levels have a tendency to rise with age
- Gender – before menopause, women tend to have lower cholesterol levels than do men; after menopause, their cholesterol levels tend to become higher than those of men.
You can have high cholesterol and not realize it. Most of the 65 million Americans with high cholesterol have no symptoms. So it’s important to have your blood cholesterol levels checked. All adults age 20 and older should have their cholesterol levels checked at least once every 5 years. If you have elevated cholesterol, you’ll need to have it tested more often.
Acupuncture and herbal remedies have been used for at least 3,000 years for the treatment of a variety of medical problems, including high cholesterol and related cardiac problems. Most TCM practitioners have traditionally not felt the need for scientific studies to support their use of these therapies. In the last 50 years, however, both TCM and allopathic physicians have begun to explore the use of scientific research to determine the efficacy of TCM therapies for the treatment of high cholesterol and other medical problems. Some early results suggest that acupuncture and herbs may hold promise in such cases.
A study published in the International Journal of Clinical Acupuncture investigated the effects of acupuncture on losing weight and lowering cholesterol levels. Researchers enrolled 50 subjects with simple obesity. Accumulation of excess energy (calories) when not used is stored as fat resulting in excess weight). The subjects were all overweight and had higher than normal cholesterol levels – this would include serum total cholesterol, triglycerides and low-density lipid protein.
Results were the acupuncture treatment decreased body weight and cholesterol levels in varying degrees but even after the treatment stopped, there continued to be decreases in all areas. The researchers determined that acupuncture is effective immediately and it also continues to have a stable long-term effect on weight loss and lowering cholesterol.
Acupuncture can be used to treat high cholesterol when a reduced cholesterol diet fails to lower cholesterol to acceptable levels. To an acupuncturist, this indicates a possible malfunction of the liver or gallbladder. This does not indicate liver or gallbladder disease in terms of Western medicine. Acupuncture points are selected to normalize liver function and harmonize underlying causes of abnormal hormone secretion. These acupuncture points can vary considerably from person to person.
The main goal in treating high cholesterol is to lower your LDL level. Studies have proven that lowering LDL can prevent heart attacks and reduce deaths from heart disease in both men and women.