High Blood Cholesterol
High blood cholesterol (hypercholesterolemia) is well-treated using naturopathic medicine.
Cholesterol is found in every cell in your body, and is used by your body to build healthy cells and hormones. There are different types of cholesterol: low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the type that builds up in the walls of your arteries making them hard and narrow, is considered the “bad” type.
Genetic factors, poor diet, obesity and sedentary lifestyle all contribute to high cholesterol. If your cholesterol becomes too high, you may develop fatty deposits called plaques in your blood vessels (atherosclerosis) which impair blood to flow through your arteries, increasing blood pressure.
Increased blood pressure, and decreased blood (the vehicle for transport of oxygen and nutrients to our tissues) flow may lead to complications such as coronary artery disease, heart attack and stroke.
Symptoms of High Blood Cholesterol
High blood cholesterol does not have symptoms; it is detected using blood tests.
Treatment of High Blood Cholesterol at Toronto Centre for Naturopathic Medicine
At Toronto Centre for Naturopathic Medicine, the goals of high blood cholesterol treatment are to decrease chances of high blood cholesterol-related complications (e.g., heart attack, stroke), maintain healthy levels of blood cholesterol and manage side-effects of conventional treatments.
Conventional treatment for high blood cholesterol may include a variety of medications, including “statins” (e.g., Lipitor®, Crestor®), bile acid binding resins (e.g., cholestyramine) and cholesterol absorption inhibitors. These treatments may have short- or long-term side effects.
For this reason, you may choose to try natural treatment to possibly avoid use of conventional medications, or together with conventional medications in order to decrease dosages of conventional medications required to manage your high blood cholesterol symptoms.
Naturopathic treatment of any chronic health concern must be recognized as a process that involves:
- Identifying specific treatment goals
- Development by your naturopathic doctor, of a thorough understanding of all factors affecting your health, including physical, psychological, emotional and lifestyle factors
- Development of a comprehensive treatment plan
- Implementation and maintenance of that plan through periodic monitoring and adjustment
At Toronto Centre for Naturopathic Medicine, a typical approach to treating high blood cholesterol may be to:
- Identify and address underlying factors in your lifestyle (e.g., poor diet, sedentary lifestyle, poor stress management, smoking, use of the birth control pill) or general health (e.g., obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus) that may be contributing to raised blood cholesterol levels
- Decrease blood “bad” cholesterol levels using nutritional counseling, nutritional supplements and botanical (herbal) medicines
- Increase blood ”good” cholesterol levels using nutritional counseling, botanical (herbal) medicines and exercise prescription
- Prevent potential complications of high blood cholesterol (e.g., heart attack) by optimizing (e.g.) heart function using botanical (herbal) medicines
- Replace nutrients depleted by statin medication use using nutritional supplements
Where appropriate, a number of therapeutic options are available, to be used alone, or more often in a complementary fashion, including:
- Nutritional counseling
- Nutritional supplements
- Metabolic detoxification protocols
- Botanical (herbal) medicines
- Bowen Therapy
- Exercise prescription
- Relaxation (meditation) training
- Lifestyle medicine and counseling
- Registered massage therapy
To learn more about our approach to managing high blood cholesterol, please visit our page on Medical Weight Loss and FirstLine® Therapy.
Treatments provided by naturopathic doctors and registered massage therapists are covered by most extended healthcare plans.
High blood cholesterol [Internet]. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; [cited 2010 Jan 16]. Available from: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/high-blood-cholesterol/DS00178.