By Lindsey Seel
February is a big month for hearts. We see them everywhere; on cards, made out of candy, scribbled on notebooks —all in preparation for February 14th. With so many reminders of love around, the one heart you may forget to care about is the one beating inside your chest.
February is, very fittingly, American Heart Month. The heart is a complex muscle that requires many elements be in balance for full strength and health. These elements include blood pressure, cholesterol, blood glucose (sugar), weight, tobacco use, physical activity, diet and more.
There are great prescription options for blood pressure and cholesterol and quite a few less options for weight and tobacco. Of all the categories we have the most prescription and non-prescription options for is the treatment of high cholesterol.
Medications like Lipitor (atorvastation) and Crestor (rosuvastatin) are available with a prescription and are incredibly powerful and beneficial agents for improving cholesterol levels. What many patients don’t know is that there are also alternative and complimentary options available without a prescription that can positively affect your cholesterol. Here are just two.
The first is fiber. Everyone knows this substance is something that promotes ‘regularity’ but many people don’t know that it can also lower your bad cholesterol. Make sure to get at least 10 grams a day, with a goal of 30g, of SOLUBLE fiber to see the benefits (MayoClinic.org). There are many fiber products available at your local pharmacy so ask your pharmacist which one is the soluble fiber that can help cholesterol and if you are on any medications that could be affected by fiber.
The second is Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). Don’t be scared off by this supplement’s weird, chemical-sounding name, as it is a substance our body makes naturally. I recommend this product for patients taking prescription cholesterol lowering medications (like Lipitor, Zocor, Crestor, etc.) because it has been shown to reduce the side effect of muscle pain that many patients experience. Another perk? It’s a powerful antioxidant, which means its working double duty to reduce the toxins found in the body that damage your cells (UMM.edu).
So the next time you think about overspending on a $6.00 greeting card, think about spending that hard earned money on a product that just could help save your heart.