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The Cholesterol Numbers Doctors Should Measure

Many doctors, including cardiologists, look at all the wrong cholesterol numbers. If your cholesterol is over 220 mg/dl, they get worried—if it’s over 300 mg/dl they panic. Then, they put you on statin drugs to bring down the “bad” LDL cholesterol numbers and to help raise the “good”…

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Lipoprotein(a) Cholesterol Guidelines

Lipoprotein(a) cholesterol has been of great interest to many of you, and we’ve had many comments posted on the topic. I’d like to take the opportunity to answer a sound question about Lp(a) cholesterol guidelines from a concerned mom, because it is an example of what folks often ask that all…

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Prevent Elevated Lp(a) Cholesterol Levels

To offset the inflammation caused by elevated Lp(a) cholesterol levels, Dr. Sinatra recommends that you try one or more of the following techniques. * Niacin: Take up to a total daily dose of 1 gram (1 gram=1,000 mg) taken in one or two doses. Start at a dose of 125mg, then double it as tolerated,…

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What is Lp(a) Cholesterol?

Lately, Dr. Sinatra has been getting a lot of questions about the very small, dense, and highly inflammatory cholesterol particle known as lipoprotein(a)—or Lp(a) for short. Good questions! Dr. Sinatra is one cardiologist who just doesn’t think that total cholesterol levels are the evil…

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Beware of Elevated Lp(a) Cholesterol Levels

For years, I have been advising my patients and readers to monitor a dangerous, small, dense, highly inflammatory cholesterol particle known as Lipoprotein A, or Lp(a). An elevated Lp(a) cholesterol level in the bloodstream increases the “stickiness” of blood, and contributes dramatically to…

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Statin Medications Will Not Reduce Lp(a)

Statin medicaitons typically prescribed for reducing cholesterol have no impact on Lp(a) levels. In fact, a study involving these drugs showed an increase in Lp(a) levels! And therein lies the dilemma. While statin medications prescribed to help you attain healthy cholesterol can reduce LDL, they…

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Learn the Signs and Symptoms of a Heart Attack in Women

I’m sure that many people were dismayed to hear that popular comedienne and talk show host Rosie O’Donnell just suffered a heart attack that required an emergency medical intervention. But what happened to Ms. O’Donnell is just a reminder that heart disease is something that every woman needs…

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Inflammation and Heart Disease Risk

As you may remember, last week I wrote a blog called 5 Things Your Cardiologist Won’t Tell You. In that blog, I invited readers to ask any cardiology questions they had—and I’ll be answering all of them in future blog posts. Today, I wanted to answer a question asked by Melanie. She wrote,…

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Is Niacin Effective and Safe? Here’s My Take

As you may have seen, a new report published in The New England Journal of Medicine has brought into question the effectiveness and safety of niacin—vitamin B3 that’s often used to control cholesterol problems. The primary benefits of niacin are reducing LDL cholesterol, raising HDL cholesterol,…

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Stroke 101: Risk Factors for Stroke

Strokes go by many names, and there are a couple different kinds but, simply put, a stroke is are a cessation of blood flow somewhere in the brain. The loss of blood supply can last from a few seconds to the rest of your life, and can affect any area of the brain, large or small. In the old days,…

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Heart-Healthy Diets: 6 Surprising Foods to Avoid

You likely know that junk foods like potato chips and cookies aren’t heart-healthy options. But there are other foods where the dangers are far less obvious. Here are the top foods you should avoid, not in my particular order—they’re all equally bad! For a Heart-Healthy Diet, Keep These Foods…

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5 Top Heart Health Mistakes

When someone realizes I’m a cardiologist, they often ask me whether different everyday activities are heart healthy. In some cases, the answers are exactly what the person would expect—for instance you shouldn’t be overweight if you want to maintain good heart health. But some of the other…

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The Heart Health Benefits of Vitamin C

Many people think vitamin C is an unimportant nutrient, but nothing could be further from the truth. Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is one of the best-known antioxidants. It was first made famous by the work of Linus Pauling, two-time Nobel laureate who pioneered much of the research on…

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Vascular Dementia Can Happen to Anyone

September is World Alzheimer’s Month. It’s also the month it became time for my mother-in-law Peg to move into an extended care facility (ECF) due to her vascular dementia (VaD). So, what is VaD? While it’s often mistaken for Alzheimer’s disease because mental functioning slowly…

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The Real Risk Factors for Heart Disease

If you've read my recent posts about cholesterol, you probably have some questions. The biggest one may be, "Doc, if cholesterol isn't dangerous, then what heart risk factors should I keep an eye on?" That's a good question and one that anyone who wants to minimize their odds of developing…

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5 Foods to Eat (or Avoid) for Healthy Aging

There’s an old saying that “you are what you eat.” That’s extremely true, especially when it comes to aging. Eating the wrong foods can accelerate aging, while eating the right foods can help you to “put the brakes on aging”—slowing down the impact of free radicals on your body.…

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