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  • Fasting before a cholesterol test

    Fasting before a cholesterol test

    Ask the doctor Image: jarun011/Thinkstock Q. Do I still need to fast before getting a cholesterol test? I heard that doing so may not be necessary. A. For decades, we’ve told people not to eat or drink (except for water) for eight to 12 hours before a cholesterol test. This was based on the belief […]

  • Statin use may not benefit people ages 75 or older, study suggests

    Research we’re watching To provide more information on the value of statins for older people, which is still a matter of debate, researchers analyzed data on people over 65 who were enrolled in ALLHAT-LLT, a large study conducted between 1994 and 2002. All participants (average age 71) had high cholesterol and high blood pressure but […]

  • Statin side effects: Is the power of suggestion at play?

    Statin side effects: Is the power of suggestion at play?

    Research we’re watching People in drug studies sometimes experience positive effects even when they take inactive, fake pills (the so-called placebo effect). But sometimes, they experience negative effects from the fake drug — a phenomenon known as the nocebo effect. A new study suggests that the nocebo effect may explain some of the muscle pain […]

  • Rethinking good cholesterol

    Rethinking good cholesterol

    A high HDL cholesterol level may not be as beneficial as once believed. Image: © JFalcetti/Thinkstock If you’re hoping to avoid heart disease, you probably keep tabs on your blood cholesterol values — especially your low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad” cholesterol. Too much LDL in the bloodstream helps to create the plaque that accumulates inside […]

  • Can I use red yeast rice instead of a statin to lower my cholesterol?

    Can I use red yeast rice instead of a statin to lower my cholesterol?

    Ask the doctors Q. My bad cholesterol has been rising, and my doctor suggested that I start taking a statin. I’ve read that red yeast rice has many of the cholesterol-lowering benefits of a statin, and I would rather go the natural route. However, I recently heard on a newscast that red yeast rice can […]

  • HDL cholesterol: How much is enough?

    Research suggests that raising good cholesterol beyond a certain point doesn’t offer any extra benefit for the heart. Image: designer491/Thinkstock When it comes to cholesterol, it’s mostly about the numbers. You want less of the “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and more of the “good” high-density lipoprotein (HDL) kind. This combination is often associated with […]

  • Are you on the road to a diabetes diagnosis?

    A higher-than-normal blood sugar level puts you at risk for developing diabetes and heart disease. Image: © solar22/Thinkstock If you’re hoping to avoid heart disease, you probably pay close attention to your blood cholesterol levels. But you also should keep an eye on your blood sugar, because an elevated blood sugar level is an early […]

  • Is your salad dressing hurting your healthy diet?

    Bottled dressings are often rich sources of saturated fat, calories, sodium, and added sugar. Image: © VeselovaElena/Thinkstock You’re eating more salad for good health. But you may be undoing the benefits when you use a store-bought salad dressing. “I have some clients who say they’ll only eat salad if they can use dressing. That can […]

  • Are eggs risky for heart health?

    Ask the doctor Image: Olha_Afanasieva/Thinkstock Q. Does eating eggs really increase your risk of a heart attack? A. From what we know today, here’s the bottom line: for most people, an egg a day does not increase your risk of a heart attack, a stroke, or any other type of cardiovascular disease. No more than […]

  • Inherited high cholesterol: Too often overlooked

    Research we’re watching Image: © Creatas/Thinkstock People with a condition known as familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) have genetic mutations that cause abnormally high cholesterol levels, which leaves them vulnerable to heart attacks and strokes at an early age. But many of them aren’t getting appropriate cholesterol-lowering therapy, according to a report in the Dec. 23, 2016, […]

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