In a world of a global pandemic, senseless violence, political unrest, and food and job insecurity, you are most likely stressed more than ever before. Stress and the unpredictable nature of our society can wreak havoc on your health. During these trying times, it is imperative that you take control of your health. With The Point of Health Wellness Center’s help, you’re sure to reach your healthy lifestyle goals. It’s a well-known fact that regular acupuncture treatments can help alleviate a host of ailments and chronic conditions such as pain and high blood pressure, but let’s talk about how acupuncture can help to lower high cholesterol.
So what is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a waxy substance that the body needs to build cells and make vitamins and other hormones. It originates from the liver, which makes all the cholesterol a healthy body needs. The rest of the cholesterol found in your body comes from foods we eat. Cholesterol maintains the shape and controls what comes into and out of the cells. It’s needed to make steroid hormones like estrogen and testosterone, Vitamin D and bile acids, as well as help maintain brain health.
Now that we know what cholesterol is and what it does, let’s discuss the two main types of cholesterol: HDL and LDL.
HDL removes excess cholesterol from other tissues and blood vessels and carries it back to the liver to be excreted.
LDL carries cholesterol from the liver to other tissues via the blood vessels. The cholesterol that LDL carries is used by the cells to hold the shape of cells, make hormones and increase muscle activity.
When there is too much cholesterol in the body due to diet, LDL cholesterol builds up in the blood vessels causing the blood vessels to narrow, thus increasing blood pressure. If this increase in cholesterol continues, it can completely block the blood vessel or the build-up can break off from the wall of the blood vessel and cause a blockage or clot.
So what are the symptoms of high cholesterol?
We’re so happy you asked because high cholesterol can affect multiple systems in your body. The most common symptoms of high cholesterol are:
- Loose stools
- Stomach tension
- Poor appetite
- Weight gain
- Heart pain
- Bumps around the eyes
How does Western medicine address high cholesterol?
While Western medicine is a useful tool for acute injuries and trauma, it isn’t so great in regards to treating chronic diseases and conditions such as high cholesterol. Western medicine aims to treat the symptoms and not the root cause of the condition. The most common drug prescribed for high cholesterol are statins drugs. Examples of statins are drugs such as atorvastatin (Lipitor), fluvastatin (Lescol XL), lovastatin (Altoprev), pitavastatin (Livalo), pravastatin (Pravachol), rosuvastatin (Crestor) and simvastatin (Zocor).
Statins block a substance your liver needs to make cholesterol. This sounds good on the surface, but long-term use of statin drugs can have some devastating effects on the body.
Most people who are prescribed these drugs to lower their cholesterol are on these medications for life and experience adverse side effects, including:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Muscle aches, tenderness or weakness (myalgia)
- Nausea or vomiting
- Liver damage
- Memory loss
- Increased blood sugar
For more information on the long-term effects of statins, please click on the PDF below or visit the FDA Drug Safety Communication page.
- media_dc28b76_393.pdf (mdedge-files-live.s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com)
- FDA Drug Safety Communication: Important safety label changes to cholesterol-lowering statin drugs | FDA
I’m sure by now you’re wondering what you can do to lower your cholesterol at home. You can start by lowering carbohydrates in your diet, losing a little weight and making sure you add regular aerobic exercise to your workout routine. (I recommend starting any new exercise program slowly and aiming for 30-45 minutes daily).
And, of course, acupuncture treatments. According to a 2018 clinical study that explored the effect of acupuncture and moxibustion( Moxibustion | Atlanta, East Point, Morrow, College Park, Decatur, GA (healthatthepoint.com) on severe obesity complicated with hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol) in different genders. This study involved 264 patients and found that acupuncture and moxibustion can both improve obesity and blood lipid (cholesterol) indexes for these patients.
How can The Point of Health Wellness Center help?
At The Point of Health Wellness Center, we utilize a multilevel approach from diet, essential oils and acupuncture treatments to lifestyle recommendations.
- Let’s start with food. We recommend you eat foods such as:
- Make soup with diced artichoke hearts, sliced ginger and ½ head of cabbage. Eat a bowl daily
- White mushrooms
- Drink white mushroom and cornsilk tea daily
- Pinto beans
- Incorporate pinto beans and other beans into your regular diet because they are high in fiber and contain rich folate that lowers cholesterol
Add 5 drops of lemongrass and 5 drops of dill to 2 tbs. of olive oil in a small dropper bottle. Massage over the stomach and bottoms of feet daily.
In traditional Chinese medicine, cholesterol is considered an excess deposit of dampness and phlegm in the blood vessels. Treatment is focused on dissolving dampness, eliminating phlegm and invigorating blood circulation
- Drink Pu-er, black, oolong or green tea on a daily basis, especially after meals, to facilitate the elimination of fatty foods from the diet
- Exercise is the best way to decrease the buildup of cholesterol in the arteries
- Avoid the use of alcohol and exposure to tobacco. They increase cholesterol build-up and hardening of the arteries
With all the stress and difficulty we have had to endure, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and managing stress have never been more difficult. High cholesterol—much like high blood pressure—can sneak up on you and, before you know it, you have a chronic disease on your hands.
But have no fear. The Point of Health Wellness Center is here to help guide you around the pitfalls of an unhealthy lifestyle. After all, pandemic or no pandemic, a healthy lifestyle, balanced diet and regular acupuncture treatments can help improve your quality of life and general life experience.