Cholesterol War!Cholesterol can be a friend and a foe, at different levels. Knowing that It still is essential for all animal life but if its levels get to high then it becomes a problem.
What is cholesterol I may ask?
Cholesterol is a soft waxy substance found in all parts of the body its is found in every cell of the body and has important natural function, it doesn't mix with the blood since it is oily based therefore it is carried around the body by Lipoproteins. It is produced in the body and can also be gotten from food we eat (Egg yolk, dairy products and organ meats like liver kidney, brain) which are high in cholesterol.
They are basically two types of lipoprotein that carry cholesterol through out the body:
Low density Lipoprotein (LDL) “bad cholesterol” – this carries cholesterol from the liver to the cells.
High density lipoprotein (HDL) “good cholesterol”- This carries cholesterol from the body cells back to the liver.
Having healthy levels of both types of lipoprotein is important.
DO YOU KNOW?
That cholesterol contributes to the structure of your cell wall.
It’s a precursor of our steroid hormone like progesterone testosterone and other important hormones.
Allows the body to produce Vitamin D.
Makes up digestive bile acids in the intestine.
WHY SHOULD I CARE?
High Cholesterol is one of the major risk factors leading to Heart Disease, Heart attack and stroke. High cholesterol levels can run in families, and women generally tend to have higher levels of HDL than men. Eating foods with saturated fats also increases the amount of LDL in your blood. And for some people Cholesterol- lowering medication may also be needed to reduce the risk for Heart attack or stroke.
HOW DOES IT AFFECT MY HEART?
High levels of LDL lead to build up of cholesterol in the arteries, where as HDL carries cholesterol to the liver. A build up of cholesterol can narrow the arteries and causes restriction of blood flow called atherosclerosis which process over decades leading to Heart attack, stroke.
Being Overweight or obese can also lead to higher blood LDL levels. Some are Genetic.
Abnormal Cholesterol levels may also be from other conditions like Diabetes, Liver or kidney Diseases, Pregnancy other conditions that would increase level of female hormone, severe Hyperthyroidism and drugs.
There isn't any obvious symptoms that can been seen unless routinely screened through blood testing is done. High levels of cholesterol would go unnoticed and may present itself as a silent killer “Heart attack”.
LEVELS OF CHOLESTEROL
Total Cholesterol <200 mg/dl desirable level to lower the risk for heart disease
200- 240 mg/dl Borderline high risk
>240 mg/dl High risk
LDL cholesterol <129 mg/dl Optimal
130- 159 mg/dl Borderline high
>160 mg/dl high
HDL Cholesterol <40 mg/dl Low
>60 mg/dl high
HOW DO I LOWER MY CHOLESTEROL LEVELS
- Eating a Heart healthy food for example Low fat toppings and sauces and avoid food with high saturated fats, eat vegetables and fruits and fiber-rich grains.
- Regular exercise, increase physical activities can help lower the level of cholesterol in your blood, adopting Healthy Habits.
- Keep cholesterol checks.
- Avoid smoking.
- Maintain a desirable body weight.
Prescription Drugs like Atorvastatin can be provided by your Health Professional. Who would advice you more on the drugs needed.