What’s Your Number? What You Need to Know about Cholesterol

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital September 23, 2014

September is Cholesterol Education Month, a good time to learn more about this important measure of your heart health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 71 million American adults have high cholesterol, but only one-third of them have the condition under control. The good news is that changes in lifestyle, medications, or a combination of both may help you get your cholesterol back to healthy levels. Your physician can work with you to find the right combination of treatments.


For Good Health Know Your Cholesterol Levels

The amount of cholesterol in your blood has a lot to do with your chances of getting cardiovascular disease (CVD). High blood cholesterol is one of the major risk factors for CVD. In fact, the higher your blood cholesterol level, the greater your risk of developing CVD or having a heart attack. Learn what your numbers mean.


Video: Cholesterol Screening

Your body needs cholesterol to make hormones and to keep your cells healthy. Cholesterol comes from two sources: your liver and your diet. However, if your diet exceeds the body’s need for cholesterol or saturated fats, your cholesterol level in your blood will increase. Watch a video to understand treatments and lifestyle changes that are prescribed by your doctor.


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Treatment Differences May Increase Heart Disease Risk in Women

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital April 15, 2014

Women are less likely to be treated with potent cholesterol-lowering statins.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States. Yet a new research study led by Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) finds that women often remain unaware of their risk for heart disease and that differences exist in the treatment patterns and outcomes between men and women presenting with heart disease.

The study, titled “Women are Less Likely to Receive Evidence-Based Lipid Lowering Therapy:  Insights from a Managed Care Population,” is co-authored by Dr. JoAnne Foody, Medical Director of the Cardiovascular Wellness Service, and Dr. Fatima Rodriguez, senior resident, Cardiovascular Medicine.

Dr. Foody and her team compared high-risk men and women treated with cholesterol-lowering medications known as statins over a four-year period. Women in the study were less likely than men to achieve optimal levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol), because they were less likely to receive treatment during the study period. The women were also less likely to receive treatment with more potent statins.

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Your Health: Ten Things That Really Matter, Tip #10

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital February 28, 2013

It's important to know your wellness numbers and which ones are most important to you.

To conclude American Heart Month, we’ve been featuring health tips that were presented by Brigham and Women’s Hospital women’s health experts, Dr. JoAnne Foody and Dr. Paula Johnson, at the Boston Go Red for Women Educational Forum. (Go Red for Women, sponsored by the American Heart Association, occurs each February to educate all women about the need to take care of their hearts.)

Men take note, these tips can benefit you, too – heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. Today, we present the final tip.


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Four Food Myths – Exposed

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital October 30, 2012

No yolk? - Eggs, in moderation, can be good for you.

Are you avoiding certain foods because of health concerns?  There are some common myths about which foods are healthy for us, especially if we have high cholesterol and/or diabetes. Read on to find out which foods deserve to be back on your plate and what you should avoid.

  • Myth #1: Never eat shrimp if you have high cholesterol Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (TLC) guidelines from the National Cholesterol Education Program allow 200 milligrams of cholesterol daily. While three ounces of shrimp has 166 milligrams of cholesterol, the TLC guidelines do recommend having shrimp occasionally. Shrimp is very low in saturated fat, even lower than white chicken without the skin. Shrimp is also low in calories, rich in protein, and contains a significant amount of selenium, an antioxidant which protects cells from damage.
  • Myth #2: Carrots, rich in sugar, should be avoided, especially by people with diabetes The naturally occurring sugars in carrots are digested quickly compared with other carbohydrates, meaning they move into the blood stream quickly compared with other foods.  However, carrots contain minimal sugar so their impact on blood sugar levels is nil.  One pound of of carrots contains only one tablespoon of naturally occurring sugars.  And carrots have many important nutritional benefits.  They are rich in fiber and beta carotene and low in calories, which can help with weight loss.

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