Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Man Should Discuss Cholesterol Condition with Doctor

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Man Should Discuss Cholesterol Condition with Doctor

Article excerpt

Question: My brother-in-law's doctor told him his cholesterol and triglycerides are too high. He is 54 years old and not overweight. His doctor put him on a diet that is similar to the "Dr. Atkins Diet." He recently suffered a mild stroke. Could the diet have anything to do with it? Also, is there a diet that can reduce the cholesterol and triglycerides without the weight loss?

Patricia Perrine St. Marys, Ga.

Answer: As you know, high cholesterol and triglyceride levels lead to buildup of plaque in the arteries of the body. Changing dietary habits that can make those high levels come down is vital. This means reducing consumption of carbohydrates: foods loaded with sugar and starch. It sounds as though a low-carb diet is appropriate in this case. We like to tailor diets for patients' individual cholesterol and triglyceride measurements because each person is different. It's very difficult to maintain a diet low in carbs without losing some weight. The carbohydrates that your brother-in-law does eat should be whole grains like a seven-grain bread, whole grain brown rice, etc. Remember that white carbs have a higher processed sugar content and should be avoided as much as possible.

If your brother-in-law consumes alcohol, he should know that even moderate amounts of alcohol can increase triglyceride levels because they contain so much sugar. If his LDL (so-called "bad" cholesterol) levels are high, coupled with elevated triglycerides, your brother-in-law's chances of plaque buildup are increased.

If he hasn't already talked with his doctor about this and asked about possible medication needs, I would recommend he do that. He may be like many of our patients who find that diet alone won't reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels enough to avoid heart attacks and strokes.

Encourage your brother-in-law to ask lots of questions and learn as much as possible about his condition. I think understanding the plan for his care will increase his chances of doing well and achieving the best health possible. …

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