High Cholesterol and Stress

Therapy for Anxiety Disorders | Psychological Counseling Services

I am stressed “is there a pill that can help”? Sometimes a or the “magic pill” is not the solution.

You may be asking why not a pill? It seems easy. After all, if a Physician is treating the disease, the patient should be OK, right? Well, not necessarily so. Most Physicians will treat only what they can see – physical signs and symptoms such as indigestion, hives, high cholesterol levels, etc. In some cases that’s enough to make the patient feel better, but in other cases not so much.

Thankfully, as science becomes more aware of the role of stress, treatment protocols are changing. For example, emerging research is now questioning the preventive use of anti-cholesterol medications in patients at risk of developing coronary heart disease (CHD) because liver damage caused by long-term use of these medications may outweigh the risk of developing CHD. In other words, in the past, practice guidelines were encouraging Physicians to prescribe medications that WOULD PROBABLY cause damage of one in order to lessen the risk of POSSIBLY developing a condition that would damage another! Again, don’t blame your Physician, this research is just coming to light, and he or she is only following the advice of experts who unfortunately are often so invested in their particular field of research they often fail to look at the “broader picture.” The reason for this is quite simple- LAWYERS! You see dear reader, following the herd and sticking to guidelines that are backed up by current clinical research protects them from malpractice suits brought on by angry patients who feel they were not given (per their lawyer’s opinion in many cases) the optimal level of care they deserve. But I digress, my point is t is important to manage stress.

What we have learned from cholesterol treatment?

Let’s look at “high cholesterol levels”; the American Heart Association has put forth a set of guidelines that indicate that a person’s total cholesterol level should fall below 200 milligrams (mg) per deciliter (dl). So if at your next annual checkup your total cholesterol level falls somewhere south of 200 mg/dl you will be pronounced being at low risk for developing atherosclerotic heart disease (that’s when you develop fatty clogs in your arteries, specifically in the blood vessels that feed the heart), and chances are that you will not be walking out of the office with a prescription for anti-cholesterol medication, or a diet so restrictive that it would make a rabbit feel unhealthy.

Now don’t blame the doctor for this, this, he is just doing his job, controlling the best way he knows how given the factors he’s aware of, based on the opinion of researchers who figure that if high cholesterol levels contribute significantly to heart disease, we had better get them under control pronto! But let me ask you this: When was the last time you heard a (or of) a physician asking a patient with high cholesterol levels if they had any significant stressors in their lives? For that matter, when did you ever hear of a doctor prescribing a patient a trial course of meditation or some other type of mindfulness practice in addition to the traditional medication, exercise, and diet regimen? The fact is that most professionals work under the assumption that if your body is chock-full of free fatty acids (cholesterol) the answer is to decrease your intake of fats through a strict diet, use the small amount that you do take in through exercise, and take some sort of medication that will keep your body from converting the rest by messing around with your liver functions.

The thing is that this treatment regimen does not take into consideration is what the body is designed to do under times of stress, which is to use every chemical trick in the book to MAKE and RELEASE cholesterol! We will see how this works later on.

OK, I agree that following a sensible exercise and diet regimen will make anyone feel good, but I have a problem with prescribing medications that come with a warning that they may damage liver functions, and that a patient should have a blood test every so often to make sure that their liver is working OK while on the prescription, adding more stress to their lives.

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