3 Ways To Lower Cholesterol When You’re Diabetic
In the annual physical, your doctor checks your cholesterol levels. But what is it? And what do the numbers say about your health?
Cholesterol is a type of lipid or fat. In our bodies, it travels through our blood stream in particles called lipoproteins. Low-density lipoproteins (LDL) are bad because they can lead to a buildup of plaque in arteries. A mass of plaque can narrow your arteries and restrict blood flow – much like trying to sip juice through a clogged straw. Eventually, the plaque ruptures and a blood clot forms, cutting off the flow of blood, oxygen and nutrients to the brain. Hello, heart attack and stroke!
High-density lipoproteins (HDL), on the other hand, are good because they pick up the LDL clogging your arteries and take it to the liver, where it’s processed and eventually excreted. A total blood cholesterol level of 200 and above is cause for concern, especially if you have type 2 diabetes, according to the American Heart Association.
1. Eat Up!
Lowering your cholesterol reduces your risk of contracting heart disease and dying from a heart attack. What you eat can affect the amounts of HDL and LDL flowing through your bloodstream.
Try these 7 super-foods to reduce diabetic hyperlipidemia—Aim to eat all seven daily.
- Soy Protein
2. Work Up a Sweat
Brisk exercise speeds blood flow in your arteries, reducing your chances of inflammation and clogging (two precursors to hardening of your arteries).
How to sneak it in: You don’t have to hit the gym to get some exercise. Clip on a pedometer while you run errands and aim for 10,000 steps a day.
3. Take Metamucil (Psyllium Husk)
Metamucil contains psyllium husk, a fiber that prevents cholesterol from entering intestinal cells. This fiber soaks up cholesterol so you excrete it rather than absorb it into your body.
How to sneak it in: Adults should consume 10-25 grams of soluble fiber a day, advises the National Cholesterol Education Program, but most get only 3-4 grams. You should get half your fiber from a supplement and the rest from food. Take half your daily dose of Metamucil before breakfast and half after dinner to avoid overloading your body on fiber, which can cause gas, constipation or diarrhea.
1 Out Of 10 Kids Have ADHD
That’s an increase of more than 2 percent in ADHD diagnoses compared to a decade ago, researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported today.
The new findings don’t necessarily mean that more kids are developing ADHD, said the study’s lead author Dr. Lara Akinbami, a medical officer at the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics.
“This change is reflected in numerous national data sets,” Akinbami explained. “It’s robust and real. But we can’t say whether it’s a true increase in prevalence or just better detection.”
For her part, Akinbami suspects that health professionals and parents are just more tuned in to the diagnosis. “It probably indicates that children have a better opportunity to get diagnosed now, rather than a huge change in the numbers of children with ADHD,” she said.
The new data are from a national survey that included approximately 40,000 households per year, Akinbami explained. From that survey, researchers collected information on 8,000 to 12,000 children each year in a nationally representative sample.
Akinbami and her colleagues found that ADHD diagnoses rose almost equally in boys and girls between 1998 and 2009. Diagnoses in girls climbed from 3.6 percent to 5.5 percent, as compared to 9.9 percent to 12.3 percent in boys.
The biggest surprise for Akinbami and her colleagues was the rise in diagnoses in minority and poor children, who, with the exception of Mexican children, have more than caught up with the rest of the population.
One finding that has the researchers puzzled is the continued low rate of ADHD in the Western states, where the diagnosis has ranged from 5.4 percent to 5.8 percent over the last decade.
“I really don’t know quite what to make of it,” Akinbami said. “It does match trends for several other chronic conditions which have lower prevalence in the west. Also, it may be related to a greater proportion of children being made up of Mexican children who have lower prevalence rates.”
An ADHD expert, Dr. Bradley Peterson, agreed that the new findings most likely indicate an increase in diagnosis rather than an increase in the actual occurrence of the disorder.
“A lot of things will affect diagnosis,” said Peterson, chief of child psychiatry at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia Medical Center. “That can be anything from an increasing awareness of the condition to increasing access to health care – doctors can’t diagnose a child with ADHD if the child doesn’t get to see the doctor.”
Still, Peterson said, other studies that have rigorously examined the issue have determined that the actual prevalence of ADHD is somewhere between 3 to 5 percent.
So why are we seeing such large numbers of children diagnosed?
Some of the increase may also be due to our changing expectations for children’s behavior, Peterson said.
“We are increasingly more academically, cerebrally, and intellectually focused than we were two, three, five decades ago,” he explained. “And our requirements for kids to do well in school – having to sit still, stay focused, and attuned – have changed over time. I think the tolerance and threshold for saying a particular child is too fidgety, too distracted, has likely changed over time, too.”
So, today we may be seeing kids with milder symptoms getting a diagnosis they wouldn’t have received ten years ago, Peterson said. And, there may be some children being diagnosed with ADHD who have another issue and don’t actually have the disorder.
Ultimately, Peterson said, treatment for ADHD will help even those with milder symptoms. And the medications “have a good margin of safety,” he said. “So they are unlikely to do a great deal of harm if they are given for an incorrect diagnosis.”