Next time you get your blood tests back, feel free to skip right past the LDL number. Don’t worry, it WILL get seen. Your doctor will be looking at it.
In fact, your doc will likely obsess over it. They might even want to medicate you over that number.
But as you’ll see in a moment, that might be the least important result on your charts. And in many ways, your LDL might not matter at all.
However, there’s another number on the same page you should focus on. And that’s your triglycerides.
Because the latest research confirms that this single figure is FAR more important than LDL cholesterol. And that’s especially true if you’ve already had a stroke.
In fact, this number could reveal right there, in black and white, if you’re at high risk for facing the danger of a second (potentially deadly) stroke.
The meds your doc is pushing might not do much to budge this number. But there IS something else that can undoubtedly help either way.
Focus on this often-ignored blood fat
Skip right past the LDL. Because it’s not the bad guy, it’s been made out to be. Well, not most of it, anyway.
As I’ve explained before, LDL becomes an issue when it’s damaged by oxidation. But that overall LDL number alone tells you nothing about those dense damaged particles and very little else, either.
That’s why blindly lowering cholesterol levels at all costs has gone nowhere. One recent study found cutting LDL with statins reduces overall cardiovascular incidents by just one percent.
The new study on stroke survivors confirms that the REAL danger is in another lipid called triglycerides. It doesn’t even take high levels to raise the risk.
If you’ve had a stroke and your triglycerides are above 150 – just over “normal” and considered “borderline high,” but not actually “high” – you’re facing a bigger chance of three significant risks…
- a second stroke
- all OTHER major cardiovascular problems
But that’s not all. The study also finds those risks are there even if you’re on statins. Which, honestly, isn’t that much of a surprise since statins often fail to do very much for triglycerides. Their improvements are typically modest, at best.
This new study focused on stroke survivors. But the truth is that high triglycerides can raise the risk of a first stroke, too, along with other major cardiovascular problems.
In other words, you still want to keep your triglycerides down whether you’ve had a stroke or not.
Slash your triglycerides the easy way
The drug industry is hard at work on developing meds to cut triglycerides. And so far, they’ve come up empty. (Well, mostly empty – more on that in a sec.)
But you don’t have to wait for them to strike gold. You can begin to lower your triglycerides on your own with two easy actions:
- Go for a walk. A brisk daily walk can slash your triglycerides by as much as 30 percent. The key is to keep it quick and consistent. You don’t have to train for a marathon. But you do need to push yourself by picking up the pace a little. If you’re a bit out of shape, work up to it by increasing your speed and distance by a little every day.
- Take fish oil. The omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil can be so effective at reducing triglycerides that the main “drugs” approved for high levels are actually just synthetic versions of those same omega-3s. Try natural fish oil instead, which could cut your levels by nearly a third in some cases.
If your triglycerides are pretty high, you may need higher-than-normal doses of fish oil to get results. That’s especially true if there’s little or no seafood in your diet. Your doctor can help you calculate the right level and the best way to get it.
And always check in with your doc before starting fish oil because it’s a natural blood thinner. That means it could interact with other meds you might be on, such as Warfarin.
For one of the very best sources of triglyceride-fighting omega-3s out there, see my earlier report, “Big Pharma eyes up natural triglyceride hero.”
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