Obviously you have heard of cholesterol but do you really know what cholesterol really is? What is bad or good cholesterol. Have you ever wondered why the cholesterol harms us and proven ways to maintain it! Let’s dive deep into it!
WHAT IS CHOLESTEROL
Cholesterol is a type of lipid. It is a substance like fat which is present in all animal cells and is an essential component of animal cell membrane. An average adult man of 70 kg synthesizes about 1 gram (1000mg) of cholesterol per day.
Our body needs cholesterol to produce some vital hormones, vitamin D and bile acid which is an important substance for digestion.
Our body makes all the cholesterol it needs and also it is found in foods from animal sources like egg yolks, red meat, cheese, etc.
WHAT IS HDL AND LDL (GOOD AND BAD) CHOLESTEROL?
There are mainly 2 types of lipoproteins HDL (High-Density Lipoprotein or good cholesterol) and LDL (Low-Density Lipoprotein or bad cholesterol) one carries cholesterol to the body cells and one away from the body cell. Let’s dive in some depths!
HDL- High-Density Lipoprotein is also known as good cholesterol. It is called good cholesterol as it carries cholesterol from different parts of the body to the liver and the liver flushes it out from the body. High levels of HDL help to lower the risk of heart diseases and lower the risk of artery blockage.
LDL- Low-Density Lipoprotein is referred to as bad cholesterol. It is called bad cholesterol because a high level of LDL builds plaque in blood arteries restricting blood flow. This condition causes a higher chance of cardiac diseases.
There is also a lipoprotein present named VLDL (Very Low-Density Lipoprotein) this is also bad cholesterol as it also forms plaque in arteries. VLDL & LDL are different from each other VLDL mainly carries triglycerides but LDL primarily carries cholesterol.
WHAT ARE THE FACTORS FOR HIGH CHOLESTEROL?
Unhealthy lifestyle: One of the most common causes of cholesterol is unhealthy eating and lifestyle. Eating a lot of unhealthy fats like deep-fried foods, baked foods, processed foods, and some meats raises your LDL level. Regular consumption of alcohol also affects the cholesterol level.
Smoking: Smoking lowers the level of HDL from our body and raises the level of LDL cholesterol which tends to high cholesterol levels in the body.
Weight: Being overweight or obese is a risk factor for high cholesterol. In obesity, the LDL and Triglycerides rise and being overweight also has a direct connection with poor cardiac health.
Lack of exercise: Lack of physical activities may increase LDL in our body and increase cholesterol levels in our body. Swimming is one of the most preferred exercises for lowering cholesterol levels.
Age: The cholesterol level in our body tends to be high when we get older. The cholesterol level is really low in kids and get higher when they grow older. Children and teens can also get cholesterol.
Heredity: Heredity is also a factor that can’t be ignored. High cholesterol can run in family blood which may also affect you too.
HOW CAN HIGH CHOLESTEROL AFFECT YOU?
High cholesterol can cause accumulation of deposits also known as plaques in the wall of arteries which can result in a reduction of blood flow through arteries which can cause fatal heart diseases and strokes.
Chest pain is also a symptom as when the arteries which carry blood are affected you can suffer from severe chest pain.
Heart attack is also associated with high cholesterol. When the coronary artery is blocked by deposits such as plaques the blood flow is obstructed such condition is known as coronary artery disease which is the cause for most heart attacks.
Stroke is also a cholesterol-related risk this is similar to a heart attack. This happens when the blood flow is blocked from going to the brain. This may cause paralysis, trauma and even death this affects our body’s nervous system.
Excess cholesterol can lead to very painful and hard gallbladder stones.
According to AHA (American Heart Association), everyone above 20 years must check their blood cholesterol levels every 5 years.
HOW TO LOWER HIGH CHOLESTEROL:
Eat a more healthy diet: Eating a healthy diet is never out of trend it will keep you fit and your cholesterol level low. You should reduce the intake of saturated fat and trans fat especially the red meat, full-fat milk, etc to reduce the cholesterol levels
Indulge in some physical activities: Some sort of physical activities help you to increase the level of HDL and decrease LDL which is a very vital factor point for lowering cholesterol.
Quit smoking: As smoking lowers the HDL level the cholesterol gets high for smokers. Any person having cholesterol should immediately stop or minimizes smoking as they are at a very high risk of cardiac diseases.
Lose some pounds: Overweight lowers the HDL levels. Shredding fat and losing weight will increase the HDL level and help to lower cholesterol levels naturally.
Moderate your alcohol consumption: Studies show that moderate drinking of alcohol can raise your HDL level (good cholesterol) and also risk-free. But too much drinking can raise your triglycerides level in blood which can lead to high cholesterol, heart diseases, stroke, etc.
NORMAL CHOLESTEROL LEVEL: 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl)
BODERLINE HIGH: 200 & 239mg/dl
HIGH: HIGHER THAN 240 mg/dl