WHAT IS CHOLESTEROL?

It is a fat or wax like substance found in all cells of the body. Liver produces it for the body . This substance is of vital importance as some of it is needed by body to make hormones, vitamin D and many other substances which helps in digestion. It is needed to help the skin , brain and other organs do their jobs. We can get it from the foods we eat like eggs, meat, butter, cheese etc. Fruits, grains and vegetables do not have any cholesterol. Mainly it is found in foods from animal sources. The healthy level of cholesterol is less than 170mg/dL. Whereas Non-HDL , LDL and HDL should be less than 120mg/dL , 100mg/dL and 45mg/dL respectively. Let’s study about cholesterol and learn how can we reduce the its level.

HIGH CHOLESTEROL !!

As we know that “Excess of everything is bad” , the same is with the cholesterol.

Having cholesterol is good but too much of it is really dangerous. If there is too much cholesterol floating in blood then it will combine with other substances in blood to form plaque which enter blood vessels and  stick to the walls of arteries .this build up plaque can lead to coronary heart disease that is heart attack or stroke , in which the coronary arteries become narrow or even blocked if the clogging gets worse over many years due to the formation of blood clot on the surface of plague .As due to clogging the supply of oxygen rich blood to heart muscle is restricted .It starts building from childhood . There is no symptoms regarding high cholesterol , a simple blood test can determine the cholesterol level and this level depends upon your age, lifestyle and family history as:

 

Factors on which Level of Cholesterol depends!!

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Age

  • The cholesterol level tends to rise with age.
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Heredity

  • High cholesterol level can run in families .
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Lifestyle

  • People having unhealthy lifestyle are more prone to high level cholesterol.
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  • More the weight, more is the risk of having high cholesterol.
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Race

  • Some races like Africans , Americans have more risks to high levels of it.
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TYPES OF CHOLESTEROL

Cholesterol doesn’t travel alone in bloodstream, it combines with protein to move through blood. The combination of proteins and fat(lipid) is called lipoproteins.

HDL , LDL and VLDL are different types of lipoproteins having different functions:

  • HDL: HDL stands for High Density Lipoprotein. It is also known as “good cholesterol” as it picks up excess cholesterol from other parts of the body back to the liver.
  • LDL : LDL stands for Low Density Lipoprotein .It is also known as “bad cholesterol” as high level of LDL leads to formation of plaque in arteries.
  • VLDL : VLDL stands for Very Low Density Lipoprotein. Some people call it as “bad cholesterol” as it also contributes in the formation of plaque. Whereas LDL and VLDL are not same. VLDL mainly carry  triglycerides(a type of fat in blood) whereas LDL carry cholesterol.

RISK FACTORS

“A sound mind lives in a healthy body”. For maintaining a good health , level of  bad cholesterol should be dealt properly. There are several factors that contributes to increase in the level of bad cholesterol , some of these are under control while some factors cannot be controlled. Obesity, unhealthy diet, lack of physical activities are controlled factors whereas heredity of having high level of bad cholesterol is not under control. Therefore it is important to control/reduce high cholesterol level.

Factors enhancing level of bad cholesterol!

Poor Diet:

Having saturated fat and trans fat in your diet increases the risk of bad cholesterol. Dairy products also contributes in enhancing the level of it.

Obesity :

People having BMI(Body mass index) above 30 are at high risks.

Lack of Exercise:

Exercise increases good cholesterol in the body and it also increases the size of particles which make LDL making it less harmful.

Smoking :

Cigarette damages the walls of blood vessels by which fats can easily accumulate on them. Smoking also lowers HDL or “good cholesterol”.

Diabetes :

People with high blood sugar levels are more prone to high levels of VLDL which is very dangerous. The lining of arteries can also be found damaged in such people. People having diabetes have low levels of HDL.

Age :

With increase in age , the level of cholesterol increases due to the change in body’s chemistry. As liver becomes less able to remove “bad cholesterol”.

PREVENTIONS

“Prevention is always better than cure”. A healthy lifestyle can prevent people from having bad cholesterol . This can be well maintained by adopting weight management procedures , a healthy eating plan, regular physical activities. If anyone is unable to lower his/her cholesterol levels by adopting a healthy lifestyle ,then there is a need to take proper medicines according to doctor’s prescription. But you should continue with lifestyle changes. People with genetic problem of high level cholesterol undergo filtering machine technique which is known as “lipoprotein apheresis” which removes bad cholesterol or LDL from the blood and thus returns back the rest of  blood to patient. Let’s learn how to reduce cholesterol level.

Measures to Reduce High Cholesterol

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Have a plenty of exercise daily, at least 60 minutes per day. Maintain a good body weight as well as BMI.

Say No to Smoking!

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Quit smoking as soon as possible as smoking is injurious to health as well as it enhances LDL.

No Saturated Fat!

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Avoid having saturated or trans fats in your diet . Eat lots of green vegetables, fruits , grains as these do not contain cholesterol. Try to have a low salt rich diet.

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Low Sugar Diet.

Limit the consumption of sugar in your diet . Avoid having beverages with high sugar levels , and reduce alcohol intake.

Don't Take any Stress!

Stress management also plays a vital role in enhancement of bad cholesterol.

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"You can be having an excellent physical shape with a good overall physical fitness but that doesn't mean that your cholesterol level is low. "