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High cholesterol linked to prostate cancer recurrence

High cholesterol poses a significant threat to human health, and now there is another reason for men to get their cholesterol levels in check, as high cholesterol has now been linked to increasing a man’s risk for prostate cancer recurrence.

A recent study funded by the National Institutes of Health linked triglycerides and cholesterol to the recurrence of prostate cancer. Among men who underwent surgery for prostate cancer, those with high cholesterol and triglyceride levels in their blood were more likely to develop prostate cancer again, says the research.

The study also found that relatively simple changes can greatly reduce one’s prostate cancer recurrence risk. Findings suggest that normalization, or even partial normalization, of serum lipid levels among those with an abnormal cholesterol profile can reduce the risk of prostate cancer recurrence. Men with triglyceride levels of 150 mg/DL or higher were 35 percent more likely to have a prostate cancer recurrence. Similarly, those with total cholesterol levels above 200 mg/DL were linked to a 9 percent higher recurrence instance for every 10 mg/DL increase.

Men can take various steps to lower their cholesterol, which can be a multi-pronged process, and can work in concert with their physicians to develop an effective plan. The following are some effective ways to lower one’s cholesterol.

• Make dietary changes. Many different changes to your diet can impact cholesterol levels. Choosing healthier fats is a start. Instead of eating an abundance of saturated fats, such as those found in red meat and dairy products, select foods with monounsaturated fats found in olives and peanuts. Eating whole grains and opting for fruits and vegetables over meats and refined carbohydrates also can lower your cholesterol.

• Exercise. Moderate daily physical activity can help raise high-density lipoprotein, or HDL, which is often referred to as “good cholesterol.” Such activity also may help lower bad cholesterol levels.

• Lose weight. The Mayo Clinic advises that losing as little as 5 to 10 percent of your body weight can help you significantly reduce your cholesterol levels.

• Consider niacin. Some studies say niacin (vitamin B3) may be more effective at lowering bad cholesterol than medication. Niacin can be found in liver, meat, peanuts and other nuts, and whole grains.

• Consider medication. People who are at a high risk of heart disease and who have poor cholesterol numbers may need to take medication. Doctors can work with you to find the right combination of treatment.

Lowering cholesterol has a number of health benefits, and preventing prostate cancer recurrence can now be added to that list.

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