Things You Should Know About High Cholesterol
Cholesterol is a type of lipid in our blood that assists our body to generate new cells, produce hormones and protect nerves. The liver is the primary organ that produces all the cholesterol our body needs. Besides this natural cholesterol production in our body, we can also get cholesterol in the foods we eat. The high intake of fatty foods and sugars can cause high cholesterol which is a major risk factor for heart disease. Too much cholesterol can cause hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) when it builds up.
Think of it as a clog that forms in the pipe under a kitchen sink. Like the buildup of grease in the pipe, the buildup of cholesterol narrows the arteries and makes it harder for blood to flow through them. It reduces the amount of blood that gets to your body tissues, including your heart. This can lead to serious problems, including heart attack and stroke.
Kinds of cholesterol
There are 3 kinds of cholesterol, LDL, HDL and Triglycerides. LDL is known as the bad cholesterol. This is the kind that can block the arteries. If you have high cholesterol, this is the cholesterol you need to lower. There is also good cholesterol which is HDL. This kind of cholesterol aids to clean fat from the blood and can help protect us from a heart attack. Triglycerides on the other hand, are another type of fat in your blood. People with high LDL and high triglycerides, has a higher chance of heart attack.
High cholesterol can be caused by the following:
- Diseases. Diseases such as hypothyroidism.
- Lack of Exercise.
- Food we eat.
Cholesterol levels are measured by blood tests. The borderline-high is at 200 to 239. People at 240 level or above are of High Cholesterol. While below 200 is ideal level.
Signs and Symptoms
There are no signs or symptoms in High cholesterol. It doesn’t make one feel sick or weak like other diseases. So it’s hard to know if our cholesterol levels are too high. By the time, we find out that we have high cholesterol our arteries can be clogged already. So it’s a good thing to have our blood checked for high level cholesterol.
There are several kinds of blood tests for High Cholesterol:
- Simple cholesterol test can measure total cholesterol and HDL.
- Direct LDL test measures your LDL level only.
- Fasting cholesterol test. This is the most complete test because it measures all of the fats in your blood, including LDL and HDL, and triglycerides. Fasting is required 9 to 12 hours before this test.
Lifestyle changes and taking cholesterol-lowering supplements helps in fighting high blood cholesterol. Eating healthy foods and more greens can help you lower cholesterol. Getting regular exercise can do well for your heart. Other factors, like quitting smoking can help raise your HDL and improve your heart health.
If you find change in lifestyle too difficult to do, another option is to take cholesterol-lowering supplements. You can ask your doctor’s prescription for supplements that can help.