You need cholesterol to create healthy cells in your body, but high levels can raise your risk of heart disease.
You may develop fatty deposits in your blood vessels if you have a high level of cholesterol in your body. Your arteries will eventually become clogged with these deposits, making it difficult for blood to flow through them. Heart attacks and strokes are often caused by blood clots that form when the deposits in the arteries suddenly rupture.
Although high cholesterol can be passed down from one generation to another through genetics, it is often the result of poor lifestyle choices that can be prevented and treated. Cholesterol can be reduced through a healthy diet, regular exercise, and sometimes medication.
Blood and cell membranes contain a waxy substance called cholesterol. Your liver is the primary source of cholesterol in your body. All of the rest comes from what you eat. Lipoproteins are packets of cholesterol that travel through your blood.
Plaque can form in the arteries if you have too much cholesterol in your system. The artery walls become coated with a plaque as a result of this build-up. Atherosclerosis is the medical term for this build-up of plaque in the arteries. Coronary artery disease, in which your coronary arteries narrow or even become blocked, is one possible outcome.
Good and bad cholesterol
High-density lipoprotein (HDL) is another name for good cholesterol (HDL). Cholesterol is removed from the bloodstream as a result of this procedure. The bad cholesterol is known as LDL (low-density lipoprotein), which stands for low-density lipoprotein.
You may have a higher risk of heart disease or a stroke if your LDL cholesterol is elevated, raising your total cholesterol. In some cases, such as when your HDL level is high, your total cholesterol level may rise.
Another type of fat found in your bloodstream is called triglycerides. Triglycerides are formed when you consume more calories than your body can use.
Low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) is the generic term for VLDL. Similarly, VLDL is sometimes referred to as the “bad” cholesterol because of its role in the development of plaque in the arteries. Triglycerides are carried by VLDL and cholesterol by LDL, but the two are not the same.
Lifestyle changes (diet and exercise) can help lower LDL and triglycerides and raise HDL cholesterol levels.
Cholesterol levels are determined by a person’s risk of heart disease.
The risk of developing high cholesterol can be increased if you eat a lot of foods high in cholesterol, saturated fat, and trans-fat. You may also be at greater risk if you’re obese. Smoking and inactivity are also lifestyle factors that can contribute to high cholesterol.
Causes of high cholesterol can also be determined by genetics. Children inherit their parents’ genes. When it comes to cholesterol and fats, your body is guided by specific genes. As a child, you may be at greater risk of developing high cholesterol if your parents have it.
Familial hypercholesterolemia is a rare cause of high cholesterol. Because of this, your body is unable to eliminate LDL.
Having diabetes or hypothyroidism can also increase the risk of having high cholesterol and its complications.
Two types of cholesterol are found in your body. Lipoprotein low-density (LDL) is a type of cholesterol that can adhere to the lining of arteries, causing blockages. HDL, short for high-density lipoprotein, is a healthy form of cholesterol that aids in artery cleansing.
Keep your LDL and HDL cholesterol levels in a healthy range by avoiding foods that raise or lower your LDL or HDL. In addition to eating the wrong foods and gaining weight due to overeating, stress and a lack of exercise can cause your numbers to go awry.
Cholesterol levels are a direct result of what we eat. Almost all of your cholesterol comes from your liver. However, the majority of your cholesterol intake comes from foods high in saturated fats, like:
- Red Meat
- Full-fat dairy products, such as whole milk
Even worse for your heart, trans fats are. It harms HDL cholesterol while raising LDL.
Obesity is associated with an increased risk of high cholesterol in people of any weight.
Cholesterol levels are affected by the amount of fat in your diet. Having too much weight on your body also slows down the process of removing it from your system.
Lack of Physical Activity
An intense daily walk or bicycle ride will improve your overall health and lower your cholesterol levels. Cholesterol levels are affected when people don’t exercise enough.
Even if you don’t alter your diet, aerobic exercise can help raise HDL cholesterol. If you don’t change your diet and lose weight, exercising isn’t as effective at lowering your LDL levels.
Damage to the walls of blood vessels caused by tobacco smoke makes it easier for LDL cholesterol to adhere to them. Tobacco use also decreases HDL cholesterol levels. Blood vessels become constricted, and blood becomes thicker, putting additional strain on your heart as it attempts to pump enough blood to your organs.
High cholesterol often goes undetected because of the lack of visible symptoms. Your age, risk factors, and family history all play a role in determining how often and when you should be diagnosed. The following are some of the most widely accepted guidelines:
For those under the age of 19:
- Children between the ages of 9 and 11 should undergo their first screening.
- Every five years, children should be retested.
- In some cases, children as young as two may begin receiving this test if their family has a history of high cholesterol, heart attack, or stroke.
For people over the age of 20:
- Every five years, the test for young adults should be administered.
- Men and women between the ages of 45 and 65 should have it done every year or two.
What can you do to lower your cholesterol?
Genetic predispositions to high cholesterol are beyond your power to alter. You can control your food preferences and exercise habits:
- Limit your intake of alcoholic beverages.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Exercise daily.
- Don’t smoke.
Routine cholesterol screening should be performed following a physician’s orders. Your doctor will likely recommend that you get a cholesterol test every few months if you’re at risk of developing high cholesterol or coronary heart disease.
What are some ways to lower cholesterol levels?
Doctors may advise you to take precaution & treatment if you have high cholesterol. For example, they may advise you to change your diet, exercise routine, or other aspects of your daily life. If you’re a smoker, they’ll probably tell you to give it up.
You may also be prescribed medication or other treatments by your doctor to help lower your cholesterol levels, as well.
Most doctors prescribe statins as a treatment for high cholesterol. They prevent your liver from producing more cholesterol by inhibiting its ability to metabolize it.
Statins are available in the following types:
- atorvastatin (Lipitor) (Lipitor)
- simvastatin (Zocor)
- Fluvastatin (Lescol)
- rosuvastatin (Crestor)
Other treatments for high cholesterol may be prescribed by your physician, such as:
- bile acid resins or sequestrants, like cholestyramine (Prevalite), colesevelam (Welchol), or colestipol (Colestid)
- ezetimibe, a cholesterol absorption inhibitor (Zetia)
- PCSK9 inhibitors, like evolocumab (Repatha) and alirocumab (Praluent)
Drugs in some products help reduce your body’s absorption of cholesterol from food while also reducing the amount of cholesterol your liver produces. Ezetimibe and simvastatin, for instance, can be used in combination. Get these medicines at any pharmacy online.