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How to keep cholesterol levels under check?

Q: I am a 52 year old male and have mild hypertension which at the moment is under control. My lipid profile is as under: Total Serum Cholesterol -- 295 mg. HDL Cholesterol -- 29 mg LDL Cholesterol -- 253 mg VLDL Cholesterol -- 13 mg S.Triglycerides -- 65 mg On the advice of my doctor, I took a drug (Lipicor-10) for 1 full year and then the lipid analysis was: Total Serum lipids -- 446 mg Total Serum Cholesterol -- 162 mg HDL Cholesterol -- 59 mg LDL Cholesterol -- 80 mg VLDL Cholesterol -- 23 mg S.Triglycerides -- 114 mg At this stage, on the advice of the doctor, I stopped taking the lipid reducing drug and started concentrating on diet regulation and exercise. After 5 months I repeated a lipid profile on my own and the result is as under: Total Serum Lipids -- 473 mg Total Serum Cholesterol -- 183 mg HDL Cholesterol -- 50 mg LDL Cholesterol -- 114 mg VLDL Cholesterol -- 19 mg S.Triglycerides -- 95 mg At the moment I am taking one tablet of (Amlopres-AT) daily for hypertension which is under control. My body weight last year was was 82 Kg (height 168 cm) which I have been able to bring down to 72 Kg now. I want to know the following: 1. With my present lipid level (which I understand is normal), and also because of the fact that I am not taking any lipid reducing drug, is there a chance of the cholesterol level going up again? 2. I am told that non-vegetarian food and dairy products will push up the cholesterol level. Is it necessary to abstain from such food items completely (since I am not taking any drug now)? 3. How often should I get the lipid profile done in future ? 4. I have a fondness for dry fruits like cashew-nuts, date fruits and even groundnuts. Will these tend to push up the cholesterol level (or add weight to the body)?

A:It is good to hear that you have been able to maintain normal lipid profile by means of exercise and diet. Also, you have reduced weight by approximately 10 kg, and are further motivated to keep your disease under control. I would respond to your questions one by one to make it more precise. 1. Once you have been diagnosed with high cholesterol, it is advisable to get it checked evry 4-6 months just to make sure it is under control. Usually cholesterol lowering drugs are good enough to keep it into control but ther are some chances of fluctuations when you are relying only on diet and exercise. 2. There are two ways we get cholesterol: Our body makes cholesterol and is used for various body functions. The other source of cholesterol is our diet. Animal or non-vegetarian food products are the only sources of cholesterol in our diet. These food items are milk and milk products, egg yolk, meat, especially red meat. There is no cholesterol in vegetarian food products. Reducing the intake of these food products definitely helps in lowering the cholesterol. 3. Most nuts are high in fats, if not cholesterol, and should be consumed in moderation. You can eat small amounts of almonds and walnuts but and avoid cashewnuts and groundnuts.

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