Ask yourself this question: Should I be worried about high cholesterol? What is it and where does it occur? What are the health risks associated with hypercholesterolaemia? Keep reading to find out more about the causes and effects of high cholesterol.
The effects of high cholesterol levels
There are different types of cholesterol fats, or lipids, being moved around the body in the bloodstream. The fats are attached to protein to form lipoproteins so that it can travel in the bloodstream to the cells where it is needed.
HDL cholesterol contains less fat and more protein while LDL is mostly fat and a little protein. HDL tends to attract and remove excess lipids from the artery walls while LDL accumulates on the artery walls. High levels of HDL in the blood is therefore good for the arteries while high levels of LDL cholesterol may increase fatty deposits inside the arteries.
This is bad for your health because the fats can narrow the circumference of the artery to such an extent that not enough blood reaches the heart to feed it with oxygen. This can cause pains in the chest. Another risk is that a piece of the fatty deposits may break off from the arterial wall and form a blood clot which can get stuck in a narrow artery leading to a heart attack or a stroke in the brain.
These are the possible effects of high cholesterol. Keeping the arteries relatively clear of fatty deposits is good for cardiovascular health.
What causes high cholesterol?
It might be caused by a genetic condition called familial hypercholesterolaemia. In this case it is not caused by an unhealthy lifestyle, but by a tiny genetic error. The most popular causes are poor lifestyle choices like these:
* Smoking tobacco products
* Drinking too much alcohol
* No daily exercise
* Eating a diet that contains lots of fat
How is high cholesterol diagnosed?
This can be done with a cholesterol test at a hospital or your doctor’s office. Make an appointment and follow the instructions which may include not eating anything for 12 hours prior to the test.
The test is done by obtaining a blood sample. The test results will show what is your total cholesterol level and what is the ratio between HDL and LDL. Triglycerides are another type of fat that can show up in test results. High levels of triglycerides are not a good sign.
What can you do about high cholesterol?
* Follow a low fat diet since fatty foods can increase the amount of fat in the bloodstream.
* Eat foods containing lots of soluble fiber which lowers cholesterol such as vegetables, fruit and oats.
* Eating a variety of natural foods and doing daily exercises may help to decrease obesity which will in turn decrease abnormal levels of LDL and increase HDL cholesterol.
* Quit smoking tobacco and decrease the amount of alcohol you drink since both will push you in the direction of damaged, clogged arteries.
* Eat oily fish such as salmon at least two times each week to provide the essential omega-3 fatty acids.
* Consider taking a cholesterol lowering supplement to manage cholesterol levels such as Choleslo.
You may want to have a cholesterol test if you already have cardiovascular problems or if you come from a family in which high cholesterol is a problem. Making lifestyle changes and using a cholesterol lowering supplement will help to manage the ill effects of high cholesterol.