Cholesterol is indeed a waxy molecule that is found in your bloodstream. Although your body requires cholesterol to develop healthy cells, high cholesterol levels could raise your risk of developing the disease.
High cholesterol might cause fatty deposits within your blood vessels. These deposits eventually accumulate, making it harder for adequate blood to circulate through your arteries. These deposits can rupture unexpectedly and create a clot, resulting in either a heart attack or a stroke.
High cholesterol can sometimes be inherited, but it is more typically the result of poor lifestyle choices, making it both avoidable and curable. High cholesterol can be reduced by a nutritious diet, frequent exercise, and, in some cases, medication.
What are the symptoms of High Cholesterol?
High cholesterol is usually a quiet problem. It usually does not produce any symptoms. Many people are unaware that they might have high cholesterol until they have catastrophic consequences, for instance, a heart attack or a stroke.
This is the reason regular cholesterol screening is essential. Discuss with your doctor if you should undergo routine cholesterol screening if you are 20 or older.
What are the causes of high cholesterol?
Consuming too much high cholesterol, saturated fat, and trans-fat foods may raise your chance of getting high cholesterol. Obesity can also raise your chances. Inactivity and smoking are two more lifestyle variables that might contribute to elevated cholesterol.
Your genes can also influence your risk of acquiring high cholesterol. Parents pass on their genes to their children. Certain genes regulate how your body processes cholesterol and lipids. know that if your parents suffer from high cholesterol, you are more likely to have it as well.
In rare circumstances, hereditary hypercholesterolemia causes elevated cholesterol. This hereditary condition stops your body from eliminating LDL (Low-Density Lipoprotein). Most persons with this illness have total cholesterol levels above 300 milligrams per decilitre and LDL levels above 200 milligrams per decilitre, based on the National Human Genome Research Institute.
Diabetes and hypothyroidism, for example, may also raise your chance of getting high cholesterol and its problems.
LDL cholesterol, sometimes known as bad cholesterol:
LDL cholesterol is frequently referred to as “bad cholesterol.” It transports cholesterol to the arteries. If your LDL cholesterol levels are excessively high, it might accumulate also on the walls of the arteries. This accumulation is sometimes referred to as cholesterol plaque. This plaque has the potential to restrict your arteries, reduce blood flow, and increase the risk of blood clots. A heart attack or stroke can occur if a blood clot plugs an artery in the heart or brain.
HDL (High-Density Lipoprotein) cholesterol, sometimes known as good cholesterol:
HDL cholesterol is often known as “good cholesterol.” It aids in the return of LDL cholesterol to the liver for removal from the body. This helps to keep cholesterol plaque from accumulating in your arteries.
Healthy HDL cholesterol levels can help minimize the danger of blood clots, heart disease, and stroke.
Triglycerides are a type of lipid
Another form of lipid is triglycerides. They are different from cholesterol. While cholesterol is used to produce cells and some hormones, triglycerides are used as an energy source.
When you consume extra than what your body could use right away, those calories are converted into triglycerides. Triglycerides are stored in our fat cells. It also employs lipoproteins to transport triglycerides throughout your body. If you consistently consume extra calories than what your body could use, the triglyceride levels may rise. This can increase your risk of a variety of health issues, like heart disease and stroke.
One simple blood test can be used by your doctor to determine your triglyceride and cholesterol levels.
What are the consequences of High Cholesterol?
High cholesterol, if left untreated, can cause plaque to form in your arteries. This plaque might constrict your arteries over time. This is referred to as atherosclerosis.
Atherosclerosis is a dangerous disease. It has the potential to reduce blood flow via your arteries. It also increases your chances of getting serious blood clots.
Atherosclerosis can lead to a variety of life-threatening consequences, including:
- heart attack stroke
- angina (chest discomfort)
- blood pressure that is too high
- vascular disease of the periphery
- renal illness that is chronic
High cholesterol can also cause a bile imbalance, increasing your chances of developing gallstones. See how elevated cholesterol can affect your body in other ways.
How do you prevent high cholesterol?
It is beneficial to adopt the following procedures to keep blood cholesterol levels within a healthy range:
- Understand your numbers- Adults over the age of 20 should get their cholesterol levels checked every five years. This allows you and your doctor to respond early if your numbers begin to climb.
- Maintain a nutritious diet- Saturated fats, trans fats, and dietary cholesterol all have the potential to elevate cholesterol levels. Monounsaturated fats (such as almonds and olive oil), polyunsaturated fats (such as fish and canola oil), and water-soluble fiber are all known to lower cholesterol (such as oats, beans, and lentils). Get practical tips on how to diet for cardiovascular health.
- Exercise and maintain a healthy weight- Staying fit and keeping a normal weight for your height, in addition to a balanced diet, lowers your cardiovascular risks by lowering your chances of other contributory health concerns such as obesity and diabetes. If you are overweight, decreasing just 5 to 10% of your body weight will reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.
What is the treatment?
Only one out of every three patients with high LDL cholesterol has the problem under control. The primary goal of treatment is to lower or regulate, your LDL level to reduce your personal risk of heart attack or cardiovascular illness based on your cholesterol levels and other risk factors, such as a family history of heart disease. Anyone with elevated cholesterol should make lifestyle adjustments. These are some examples:
- Upgrade your diet: The first therapy option is a heart-healthy diet. Doctors find that their patients enjoy the Mediterranean diet. It tastes fantastic, it is filling, and there’s strong evidence that it lowers cholesterol and cardiovascular risk. Reduced saturated fat (found in animal products, butter, whole, and 2% dairy products, coconut oil, and palm oil) and trans fats are highlights of the Mediterranean diet (found in fried foods and baked goods). Consume primarily polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fats (found in fish, avocadoes, olive oil, nuts, and canola and soybean oil). Because alcohol might boost triglycerides, you may be advised to limit your consumption.
- Exercise on a regular basis: Most days, aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise. Three to four times each week, the American Heart Association suggests 40 minutes of moderate to intense activity.
- Weight control: This step is especially critical for people who are overweight, have high triglyceride levels or have a large waistline (above 40 inches for men or 35 inches for women).
- Medications: In addition to lifestyle adjustments, some people are prescribed cholesterol-lowering medications. Some of these drugs are as follows: Statin medicines inhibit the liver’s production of cholesterol and can aid in the removal of cholesterol from the bloodstream.
Selective cholesterol absorption inhibitors (such as ezetimibe) prevent cholesterol absorption from the intestine and aid in its elimination in the liver. In some cases, PCSK9 inhibitors may be available to people with elevated cholesterol.
Resins (bile acid sequestrants) attach to bile, a digestive acid, causing the liver to produce more bile and, consequently, use up more cholesterol.
Triglycerides are reduced by fibrates (rather than LDL levels).
Niacin (nicotinic acid) is a B vitamin that influences fat metabolism in the liver.
Fish oil-derived omega-3 fatty acid medicines also help to decrease elevated triglyceride levels.
Natural cholesterol-lowering home treatments:
People may well be able to reduce their cholesterol levels without taking drugs in some situations. For example, eating a good diet, exercising regularly, and avoiding tobacco products may be sufficient.
Some herbal and nutritional supplements, according to some, may also help lower cholesterol levels. For example, assertions have been made regarding:
- blond psyllium, found in psyllium seed husk
- ground flaxseed
- red yeast rice plant sterol and stanol supplements
The quality of proof supporting these claims, however, differs. Furthermore, none of these products have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of excessive cholesterol. More research is needed to determine whether they can aid in the treatment of this illness.
Always consult a physician prior to consuming any herbal or nutritional supplements. Prior to taking any herbal or nutritional supplements, consult your doctor. They may react with the other medications you are taking in some situations.
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