Smoking Decreases HDL Cholesterol
© 2005 - Frank Mangano
If you are trying to lower cholesterol through a low-fat, low cholesterol diet and have not been successful, it may be time to take a look at other habits that could be contributing to your high cholesterol levels. Several studies done in the U.S. and abroad have all led to the same conclusion: smoking decreases levels of HDL cholesterol – the good cholesterol. When HDL is lower, it can’t do its job of cleansing the blood vessels of the bad or LDL cholesterol, and that could spell heart disease.
Another serious problem that smokers trying to lower cholesterol face is with their blood chemistry. A substance called paparoxonase works to prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol. This oxidation can lead to the formation of plaque in the arteries, again a precursor to hypertension, atherosclerosis and other coronary artery diseases. Smokers are found to have lower levels of paparoxonase in their systems.
What’s more, the amount one smokes and has other health conditions is proportionate to the problems of cholesterol in the blood stream. Greater amounts of tobacco, nicotine and other cigarette ingredients lead to lower levels of HDL cholesterol.
If you already have heart disease and high cholesterol, then smoking is more likely to ignite sudden death, according to one study. The occurrence of clots in the arteries due to the combination of high cholesterol and smoking causes more fatal heart attacks. Seventy five percent of the 113 men who died of heart attack in this study, were smokers and had cholesterol levels of over 260 mg/dL. Plaque erosion from high levels of LDL cholesterol and low levels of HDL cholesterol that leads to clots and the fatal heart attacks is seen in approximately 83% of smokers.
By quitting smoking, those with high cholesterol can significantly raise their HDL cholesterol. This is the first step in maintaining a healthy life style that includes a proper diet, exercise and eliminating habits that keep cholesterol levels too high. A complete step-by-step approach to naturally lowering cholesterol can be found in The 60 Day Prescription Free Cholesterol Cure.
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