Cholesterol is a waxy substance produced by your liver to preserve neurons and to produce cell tissue and hormones. Cholesterol is also obtained from the foods you consume. Eggs, meats, and dairy products fall into this category. LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) in excess might be harmful to your health. There are two types of cholesterol: “good” (HDL) and “bad” (LDL).
High cholesterol can cause fatty deposits to form in our blood vessels, making it harder for enough blood to circulate through our arteries. In this situation, our heart may not receive the oxygen-rich blood it requires, increasing the risk of a heart attack. A stroke can be caused by a reduction in blood flow to the brain.
High cholesterol can be passed down the generations, but it’s more typically the result of poor lifestyle choices, making it avoidable and treatable. High cholesterol can be reduced by a nutritious diet, frequent exercise, and, in some cases, medication.
Cholesterol is linked to proteins and transported through the bloodstream. A lipoprotein is a mixture of proteins and cholesterol. Depending on what the lipoprotein transports, there are several forms of cholesterol. They are as follows:
LDL (low-density lipoprotein) is a type of cholesterol that is found in the (LDL). LDL cholesterol, also known as “bad” cholesterol, is responsible for transporting cholesterol particles throughout the body. LDL cholesterol accumulates in the walls of your arteries, hardening and narrowing them.
High-density lipoprotein (HDL) is a kind of cholesterol that is found in the (HDL). HDL cholesterol, sometimes known as “good” cholesterol, collects extra cholesterol and transports it to your liver.
Triglycerides, a form of fat found in the blood, are usually measured as part of a lipid profile. Triglyceride levels that are too high can put you at risk for heart disease.
High cholesterol and low HDL cholesterol are caused by factors you may control, such as inactivity, obesity, and a bad diet. Factors outside your control could also play a part. Your genetic composition, for example, could prevent cells from efficiently eliminating LDL cholesterol from your blood or lead your liver to manufacture too much cholesterol.
Your cholesterol levels can assist your doctor in determining your risk of a heart attack or stroke. Your doctor will check other factors in addition to your cholesterol levels, such as:
- The pressure in your blood
- Whether you have diabetes or not, your age, gender, and race
- If you smoke or not
- LDL cholesterol levels should be fewer than 100 mg/dl in order to be considered normal. A blood sugar level of 130 to 159 mg/dl is borderline high, whereas 160 to 189 mg/dl is extremely high.
High cholesterol is frequently accompanied by no distinct symptoms. It’s possible that you don’t realise you have high cholesterol.
Your body may accumulate excess cholesterol in your arteries if you have high cholesterol. Blood veins that carry blood from your heart to the rest of your body are known as capillaries. Plaque is a build-up of cholesterol in your arteries. Plaque can harden over time, causing your arteries to narrow. Large plaque deposits can totally obstruct an artery. Cholesterol plaques can potentially break apart, causing a blood clot to develop and obstructing blood flow.
The following are some of the signs and symptoms of high cholesterol:
- Angina (chest discomfort)
- Heart attack
- Stroke discomfort while walking is caused by clogged arteries that prevent blood from reaching the legs.
Ask your doctor if a cholesterol test is necessary. Children and young people without heart disease risk factors are usually examined twice, once between the ages of 9 and 11 and again between the ages of 17 and 19. Adults with no risk factors for heart disease should be retested every five years.
Your doctor may propose more frequent measures if your test results aren’t within acceptable ranges. If you have a family history of high cholesterol, heart disease, or other risk factors like smoking, diabetes, or high blood pressure, your doctor may recommend more frequent tests.
- Maintaining a heart-healthy lifestyle, which includes different lifestyle adjustments such as eating a balanced diet.
- Frequent exercise
- Limited or no alcohol
- No smoking
- Other risk factors, such as blood pressure, blood sugar, and diabetes, can be controlled or prevented by adopting these routines.
- Including low-fat dairy products, chicken, fish, legumes, and nuts in a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.
- Limit your intake of sugary and sugar-sweetened beverages, as well as red meats.
- Regular exercise, after speaking with your doctor about how much exercise is beneficial to you, is recommended.
- Keeping a healthy body weight.
The same heart-healthy lifestyle adjustments that can lower cholesterol can also help prevent high cholesterol from developing in the first place. You can do the following to help prevent high cholesterol:
- Consume a low-salt diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
- Limit your intake of animal fats and use healthy fats sparingly.
- Maintain a healthy weight by losing excess pounds.
- Give up smoking.
- At least 30 minutes of exercise should be done most days of the week.
- If you must drink alcohol, do it in moderation.
- Control your anxiety.
You are twice as likely to get heart disease if you have high cholesterol. That is why, especially if you have a family history of heart disease, it is critical to have your cholesterol levels examined. Lowering your LDL “bad cholesterol” by a healthy diet, exercise, and medication can improve your general health.