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    Cholesterol Levels
    maui2010 posted:
    My recent cholesterol screening has me worried as this is the first time I have had high cholesterol. My total cholesterol is 249...triglycerides are 207...HDL is 49...LDL is 159 and Chol/HDL ratio is 5.1...I have always been partial to a vegetarian/vegan diet. Since my results I have gone to a vegan diet. Also, I have typically been an active person most of my life...although I work in an office setting which is sitting most of the day. One last thing is I am post menopause. I have read that high cholesterol is common for post menopausal women. Are these screening results high enough that I should take medication in addition to my vegan diet and daily exercise (30 - 45 min per day)?
    billh99 responded:
    The trig and LDL are high enough to be of some concern.

    But you might want to try lifestyle changes first.

    In your case that would include losing weight, if needed.

    And adjusting your diet.

    Most people generate most of their cholesterol in their liver and don't absorb it from food.

    Your diet should include about 30% of your calories from fats.

    The high triglycerides are usually caused by eating too much carbs. Specially simple carbs. That includes anything with white floor, sugar (of any type), and white rice.
    Haylen_WebMD_Staff responded:
    Hi maui and welcome!

    Heart disease can be associated with menopause due to
    changes in the level of fats in the blood. According to the article below, LDL, "bad" cholesterol increases and HDL, "good" cholesterol decreases during menopause . This one reason why heart disease can be associated with menopause.

    I agree with Bill that you should explore lifestyle modifications. Also, a talking with your doctor about your cholesterol numbers would be a great conversation - and perhaps alleviate some of your worry!

    Click this link to learn techniques for reducing heart disease risk: Women and Heart Disease . And check out our Cholesterol Management Health Center for great information about diet, exercise and cholesterol.

    john11 responded:
    You said you went to a vegan diet when you got your results. You'll have to allow some time for the diet to work. Vegan means no food from animal sources, so no meat, fish, chicken etc. or dairy (no eggs, milk, cheese etc.). Also reduce your fats in your diet to generally 20% or less. Read food labels. The calories from fat in a serving should be no more than 20% of the total calories in a serving, for the bulk of your foods. To be vegan plus, avoid all oils. Oils are 100% fat. Following these guidelines, my cholesterol went down to 142.

    bobby75703 replied to john11's response:
    Vegan diets do have a lipid lowering effect because they are low calorie.

    Conversely, a person can eliminate refined carbohydrates and sugars, (while still eating steak, bacon and eggs) and get the same lipid lowering effect as long as calories are not over consumed.

    Nutritional science has come a long way in recent years. We are learning more and more as time passes.
    maui2010 replied to john11's response:
    Thank you for the feedback...and I am aware of what the vegan diet consists of...what do you use as opposed to oil when cooking? I have cut back on the use of oil but even most vegan recipes call for it's use. Congrats on lowering your cholesterol to 142...that would be my goal.
    JC4455 responded:
    I include veagan meals in my diet and also eat
    foods that are high in fiber such as oatmeal to
    maintain my cholesterol levels.

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