A fatlike and somewhat waxy substance found in our liver is known as cholesterol. The production of vitamin D, cell membranes and a few specific hormones are produced by it. It is not only important but necessary to have a normal proportion of cholesterol in your body. However, there is a high risk of heart diseases if the cholesterol level rises up to a certain level.
It is important to know these things from the technical aspect, so you know how to shift your lifestyle, which things to avoid and live a healthier life. What happens if the cholesterol level gets too high? Our body starts to produce fatty deposits in our blood vessels. It is because of these deposits, that the blood flow through arteries gets disturbed. This ultimately results in the heart not getting enough quantity of oxygen-rich blood, thus increasing the heart attack chances. In some severe cases, you may even experience a stroke because the blood flow to the brain is restricted.
The doctors and researchers say that cholesterol is inherited but a number of unhealthy lifestyle activities also add up to high cholesterol. This is why, minor changes in lifestyle, healthy eating and a bit of exercise on regular basis help prevent this condition.
Lipoprotein is a combination of cholesterol and protein. There are different types of cholesterol and they depend on the type of cholesterol lipoprotein transports. Two most common types are:
High-density lipoprotein: Also known as HDL, it takes up extra cholesterol and transports it to the liver.
Low-density lipoprotein: Also known as LDL. In this type, cholesterol transports cholesterol particles all around your body. What happens is that LDL your arteries become hard and narrow because LDL cholesterol adds up in your body.
There are a lot of risk factors that increase your chances of getting high cholesterol. These include:
- Eating a lot of junk food and saturated fat ultimately raise your cholesterol level. Full-fat dairy products and red meat also help in increasing the cholesterol level.
- Obesity is a known risk factor for getting high cholesterol.
- Lethargic lifestyle without any exercise involved increases your chances of getting high cholesterol level.
- As a result of regular smoking, the walls of blood vessels are weakened. Thus, your body becomes more prone to store fatty deposits. [i]
There are simply no symptoms of high cholesterol. However, the only way to know for sure whether or not you have high cholesterol is to get a blood test taken. If you are, for some reason, concerned about your health, it is recommended to consult a doctor to know whether you should have a cholesterol test. It is up to the doctor whether they would want to recommend you further tests if you have family history with cholesterol.
If you have a heart attack or a stroke, it could very likely be because of high cholesterol. However, it is important to note that these things do not occur until cholesterol has formed a plaque in the arteries. From the recommendation of the doctor, you can keep testing for your cholesterol level after every 4 to 6 years.
After getting a diagnosis report, usually from a lipid panel or profile, you will get your LDL, HDL and total cholesterol. However, it is recommended to not eat or drink anything at least within 12 hours of taking the test. Please note that almost every health institution of body recommends at most 1 test between the ages of 9 to 11. The next age gap to take the cholesterol test between 17 and 21.
The first line of defense against high cholesterol definitely involves lifestyle changes, exercising and clean dieting. They work in most of the cases to bring down the cholesterol level. However, if you have already done that much and are unable to bring down the cholesterol level, it may be a good time to consult the doctor. It is up to the doctor to choose the kind of medication for you and it would depend upon your age, risk factors and possible side effects on you. However, the most commonly prescribed medicines are given below but you should never start taking them on your own. Always consult your doctor to get a professional opinion.
The working of statins is interesting, to say the least. This is because they literally block a substance that liver requires to produce cholesterol. What happens is that liver ultimately draws the cholesterol from your blood. They are also very helpful in controlling coronary artery disease as they assist your body in reabsorbing cholesterol from the walls of your arteries.
With the advancement in the medicine industry, it has been made possible to make the body absorb more LDL cholesterol. This helps in gradually decreasing the cholesterol flowing in our blood. For those who have a genetic history with cholesterol, Alirocumab and evolocumab have really great results. Besides that, omega-3 fatty acids are also known to have great effects in decreasing the triglycerides levels. Convenient thing about these is that you can take these as OTC supplements with the prescription of your doctor. [ii]
We hope that you learned something useful from this article. Sticking to medicines and medical procedures should be your last priority for any disease. As long as cholesterol is concerned, making healthy life choices should be enough to bring the cholesterol level to normal. Refraining from smoking would bring your risk chances of heart disease to half that of a smoker.
activity is so important to help battle any disease or condition you might
have. As little as 150 minutes of moderate level physical activity is all that
is needed to bring back the cholesterol level to normal. The easy and fun
options for physical activities might be brisk walking, swimming, running,
bicycling or even dancing on regular basis.