Monthly Archives: November 2013

Are My Cholesterol Levels Normal or High?

Am I Normal

Many of you ask me if your cholesterol levels are normal or not.   This is not a question that can be answered accurately without quite a few facts, and when cholesterol is concerned, it is better to be safe than sorry.

First of all, there are three cholesterol levels which are of interest (and possibly four, see LDL Particle Size-Does it Matter?).   Each type has different meaning so you need to be clear on which cholesterol level your doctor is talking about.   HDL is the (“good”) cholesterol, LDL is the (“bad”) cholesterol, and total cholesterol is a combination of HDL, LDL, and some other players.   Naturally, we want the HDL to be high, and the LDL to be low, so most analyses use a kind of average of HDL and total cholesterol.

Furthermore, the reason we are interested in cholesterol levels is because they can increase the risk of heart disease, but this depends on more than just cholesterol levels.   This means that the same test results can be good for one person, but bad for another.

It is possible to calculate your Framingham Heart Risk Score (a well-known method of assessing the risk of heart disease) which will tell you if your cholesterol levels are acceptable for you.   However, there is more data needed than merely your cholesterol readings.   Of course, we need the total cholesterol level and the HDL (“good cholesterol”) levels, but the risk of heart disease also depends on your age, smoking status, and blood pressure; and whether you have any other risk factors, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or being overweight.

With all this information it is possible to calculate the Framingham Heart Score, which gives you the risk of heart disease in the next ten years.    It is only at this point that you can determine whether your cholesterol levels are acceptable for you.

This is usually done by a physician, but if you want to be proactive and do it yourself, as well as lower your cholesterol levels using natural means, all the necessary information and methods are included in my e-book  “Lower Your Cholesterol, Save Your Life”.

Good Luck!


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Lower Your Cholesterol, Save Your Life.   Now in it’s second edition! Choose a package,  save your life!

Exercise to Reduce Cholesterol

Heart Race

You have probably read that exercise is good for you (!)   This is true, and it will help lower your bad cholesterol as well, but what kind, and how much exercise should you do?

The first question is easy to answer.   As far as cholesterol and heart health goes, we are talking about aerobic exercise, which means anything that raises your heart rate for a given amount of time.   Your heart supplies all your muscles with oxygen via the bloodstream.    When you do aerobic exercise, your muscles use this oxygen to convert available sugars into energy (hence the “air” in aerobic).   Therefore using your muscles (moving) will raise your heart rate.   The largest muscle groups in your body are those of your back, chest, abs, and legs, so using these will raise your heart rate the most.

Running, swimming, rowing, cycling, and even walking are good aerobic exercises.   As a minimum, if you are sufficiently out of breath to make it difficult for you to talk, you are benefiting from your exercise.   The maximum should be under 65% of your maximum heart rate, because this will give you the maximum aerobic benefit.   Anything more and you fall into the realm of ­anaerobic exercise, which is your body’s way of supplying energy when the aerobic method is not enough.

To find your maximum heart rate, do this calculation, developed by Tanaka, Monahan, & Seals[1]:

  • HRmax = 208 − (0.7 x age)

This applies to both men and women, and is more accurate than the widely used HRmax = 220 – age.

For example, if you are 50 years old, your maximum heart rate will be 208 (0.7 x 50) = 173.   The maximum heart rate for aerobic exercise is 173 * 65% =112 beats per minute.   Here is a table of to give you an idea of maximum aerobic heart rates at various ages.

Age (years)303540455055606570
Aerobic MaxHR122119117115112110108106103

How often and for how long should one do aerobic exercise?    First of all, there is no difference as far as benefits gained between doing fewer, longer sessions and more, shorter sessions, what counts is the overall number of minutes per week.   For most healthy adults, 150 minutes a week of moderately vigorous activity as outlined above is recommended.   Of course, the more you do, the more benefits you get.

Good luck!

For a comprehensive package to lower cholesterol including full service and a comprehensive guide, please see “E-book”.

[1] Tanaka, Hirofumi; Monahan, Kevin D; Seals, Douglas R (2001). “Age-predicted maximal heart rate revisited”. Journal of the American College of Cardiology 37 (1): 153–6.


Click Below, Your Heart Will Thank You!

Lower Your Cholesterol, Save Your Life.   Now in it’s second edition! Choose a package,  save your life!