The Basic Causes, Symptoms and Treatment of High Cholesterol
27-07-2015 | Posted By: Admin | 1773 View(s)
Cholesterol is an essential substance for the body; however, if the levels in the blood get too high, it becomes dangerous and might lead to serious health diseases such as Hypertension, Peripheral Vascular Diseases, Chest Diseases, Heart Attacks and Strokes. High Cholesterol is thus dangerous for our health, and we must take steps to avoid this health condition.
Cholesterol is a fat-like substance which is produced by our liver. It is a fat which is required in a certain amount of blood so that our body can function properly. The blood in our body flows freely through the arteries and veins when the Cholesterol levels are in a normal range. However, when the cholesterol levels start to increase, it gets deposited on the walls of arteries forming clots (plaques).
Lipoproteins are the particles which carry Cholesterol through the blood. There are two types of Cholesterol:
1. LDL (Low-Density Lipoprotein) which is also known as the “bad cholesterol.” It is the kind of cholesterol which can raise your risk of heart attacks and stroke.
2. HDL (High-Density Lipoprotein) is called the “good cholesterol”. This type of cholesterol helps in lowering the risk of heart diseases, heart attacks and stroke.
Causes of High Cholesterol
High levels of cholesterol are a result of both modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors. Modifiable risk factors mean that the person can do something to change those risk factors and reduce the chances of having a High level of Cholesterol in blood.
Two major modifiable risk factors for High Cholesterol Levels are:
There are certain foods which increase the levels of cholesterol in the body such as Meat, cheese, egg yolks, chocolates, dairy products, etc. If someone consumes too much of saturated and Trans fat foods, their cholesterol will increase. Thus, this risk factor can be modified by in taking foods which are cholesterol-free.
Not working out is another cause of having high cholesterol in the body. When we don’t exercise, it increases the level of LDL in the blood which increases Cholesterol level in the body. Thus, to avoid this one must work out daily.
Other Risk Factors Include:
If you have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater, it will increase your risk of having High level of Cholesterol.
Cholesterol tends to increase with age, particularly increases after the teenage.
If any of your family members have or had high cholesterol chances are that you may also have it.
4. Health Conditions
There are certain health conditions such as Diabetes, Liver Diseases, Kidney Diseases, Underactive Thyroid Gland, etc. which can increase the cholesterol level in your blood.
There are certain medications which can increase the level of cholesterol in the blood.
Symptoms of High Cholesterol
High Cholesterol is called the “silent killer” as typically it does not cause any symptoms. Most of the times, it causes only emergency events. For instance, a stroke or a heart attack can be a result of the high level of cholesterol.
Normally, these events do not occur until high cholesterol leads to the formation of plaque in the arteries. When the plaque is formed in the arteries, it narrows the arteries so that less blood can pass through and also changes the makeup of arterial lining which can lead to serious complications.Some of the signs and symptoms that show that you might have High Level of Cholesterol are:
It is caused by a blockage in one of the arteries in the brain or neck. It is a serious medical emergency, and one must know the symptoms of stroke so that can seek immediate medical treatment if they have any of the symptoms. These symptoms include:
• Sudden loss of coordination and balance
• Sudden dizziness
• Inability to move
• Feeling confused
• Slurring words
• Facial asymmetry
• Numbness in the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body
• Double vision, Blackened vision or blurred vision
• Severe Headache
2. Heart Attack
A Heart Attack occurs when our heart becomes damaged, or part of the heart begins to die due to lack of oxygen. The symptoms of a Heart Attack are:
• Tightness, pain or aching in the arms or chest.
• Not able to breathe
• Feeling anxious
• Indigestion or heartburn
Angina is mostly the result of underlying coronary artery disease. The symptoms include:
• Chest Pain
• Feeling Short of breathe
• Pain in the jaw, neck, upper abdomen and back
• Indigestion or heartburn
• Feeling light-headed
These symptoms mentioned above must be known to everyone so that can seek immediate medical treatment and prevent these health conditions.
Test and Diagnosis
High cholesterol can be diagnosed with a simple Blood Test called a Lipid Panel. You need to consult your doctor before going for the test to know all the instructions and the procedure. The Doctor will ask you not to drink or eat anything for at least 12 hours before the test. Then your blood sample will be taken and send to the laboratory for analysis. A lipid panel measures your total cholesterol, LDL Cholesterol, HDL Cholesterol and triglycerides.
Once the Doctors diagnose that you have a high level of cholesterol, they will provide you with some medications and some health tips to reduce the level of cholesterol in the body.
Prevention of High Cholesterol
High cholesterol is a matter of great concern, especially for people who suffer from blood pressure and cardiac problems. It has to be regularly monitored with frequent screenings because if it exceeds the normal range consistently, the propensity of getting a heart disease becomes much higher for an individual. Here we will find about ways as to How to Reduce Cholesterol by making simple lifestyle changes and medication which can go a long way in decreasing the cholesterol level pretty fast.
Those changes are as follows:
Few Tips which can help reduce Cholesterol within a Short Duration:
1. Eat Healthily. Go green
Cut down on your non-vegetarian food. Increase your intake of various coloured vegetables and fruits, because they are the most important natural source of nutrients that contain a minimum percentage of saturated fats and primarily are zero cholesterol. Include those foods in your diet which are healthy and are low in cholesterol. Eat vegetables, fruits and fibre-rich foods. Limit the intake of foods which have saturated and trans fat such as dairy products, meat, chocolates, etc.
2. Be Active and Exercise Daily
Regular physical exercise can reduce not only bad cholesterol but also increase the good one by 10%. Make any physical activity a habit; you will see the results soon. We all know that exercise is very good for our health. However, due to the hectic schedule, many people are not able to exercise. But still, you must take some time out of your busy schedule and exercise daily.
3. Maintain an Ideal Weight
To prevent the chances of having a high level of cholesterol in the body, you must maintain an ideal weight. This can be achieved by eating proper food at an appropriate time and exercising regularly.
4. Say no to Saturated fats
Most fried and processed foods have a very high content of saturated or Tran’s fats, which are high in cholesterol and very harmful for the body. Select low-fat dairy products, avoid egg yolk, eat more legumes like chickpeas, daal, beans, peas, etc.
5. Choose a healthy cooking medium
Renowned cardiologist Dr Devi Shetty had once said in an interview that “No oil” is the best medium. This is next to impossible in our style of cooking, but try to choose a cooking medium which helps in the long run. Cook with Olive oil, which is an excellent source of monounsaturated fats.
6. Add garlic to your Daily Diet
Research has proven that garlic helps to make the blood thin and reduces the risk of heart attacks. Eat more garlic to lower bad ‘LDL’ Cholesterol and increase good ‘HDL’ cholesterol, which helps to maintain the optimum level of cholesterol in the body.
7. Have a power-packed ‘nutty’ breakfast
Oats are packed with lots of fibre along with essential vitamins like B, E, and even iron. Nuts like walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, etc are rich in unsaturated fats. Raw, unsalted nuts taken in moderation with oats for breakfast can reduce the levels to a great extent.
8. Become a Fishetarian
If you eat non-veg, include fish in your diet. Fish is said to be the most widely available source of cholesterol-reducing Omega 3 fatty acids. Fish oil supplements are found to have great positive results in decreasing and harmful triglycerides. Boil, steam or poach a fish like Salmon or Basa and take it with your lunch or dinner at least thrice a week. Your cholesterol level will come down and stabilize fast.
9. Quit Smoking
‘Smoking is injurious to health’ is a tag line that you must have seen at many places. It is rightly said that smoking damages our health and so you must quit smoking to avoid the chances of having a high level of cholesterol. Smoking decreases HDL in the body, so the dangers of heart attacks and stroke become manifold. Give up your smoking habit totally to lower cholesterol quickly.
10. Drink Green Tea
Tea as a beverage in itself is much better than the sugar-rich colas and sodas which directly increase your cholesterol level. If you can switch to Green Tea, it becomes very beneficial for the body, because Studies have proved that it contains compounds that can help reduce LDL cholesterol.
11. How to reduce Cholesterol by taking Medicines
Last but not least, if you are prescribed a cholesterol-lowering medication by your physician, do not hesitate to take them regularly. If your cardiovascular risk is more, then medicines are the best way to bring down in a quick and easy manner.
Some Popular Cholesterol Myths Decoded
The very fact that a lot of information is available online these days, a lot of people decide to do their research on the Internet. Chances are, and there is every possibility that they may get information that is incorrect. When it comes to someone’s health, this sort of inaccurate information becomes all the more harmful. Fewer than half of all adults know what their recommended cholesterol levels are. Have you had your cholesterol myths decoded off lately? Here we discuss some Cholesterol myths.
Cholesterol, a lipid produced by the liver, is vital for many body processes, such as insulating nerve cells in the brain and providing structure for cells. It is also a precursor for the biosynthesis of vitamin D and steroid hormones cortisol, testosterone and oestrogen.
Cholesterol has a bad reputation because its high levels are considered to be the cause for a host of illnesses, including heart disease, blood pressure and diabetes. But recent research says it’s not cholesterol that we need to worry about. According to a 2009 study published in the International Journal Of Clinical Practice, “The earlier purported adverse relationship between dietary cholesterol and heart disease risk was likely largely over-exaggerated.” A 2010 study published in the journal Current Atherosclerosis Reports found that increasing levels of dietary cholesterol are not correlated to increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
Here are some Popular Cholesterol Myths Decoded
Myth-1: High cholesterol levels cause Heart Attacks.
Fact: Ok, this one is almost correct, but there’s an important technicality. Let’s go back to the three carriers of cholesterol: LDL, HDL and triglycerides. People tend to think of HDL as “good” cholesterol – the more you have of it, the lower your chances of a heart attack. So it’s not the total cholesterol level that we watch out for – it’s the LDL and triglycerides that must be kept quiet.
Myth-2: Cholesterol levels are good predictors of Heart Attack Risk
Fact: It takes a lot more to determine your risk of suffering from cardiovascular disease than just your cholesterol levels. “Do you smoke? Are you active every day? Do you eat well? All of it matters.” say cardiologists “The key is your overall holistic health and not just a single number on a piece of paper.”
Myth-3: Lifestyle choices don’t matter if you’re on cholesterol Medication
Fact: Even if your doctor prescribed statins – a medication designed to lower your cholesterol levels – maintaining a healthy lifestyle, which includes a heart-healthy diet and exercise, is still key to reducing your risk of heart disease.
Myth-4: Cholesterol is Pure Evil
Fact: Your body produces cholesterol and essential to good health! It produces important hormones like estrogen and testosterone, synthesises vitamin D, and maintains your cell health, among other things.
Myth- 5: It ‘s hard to control Cholesterol
Fact: Its just another Cholesterol Myths-If adequate attention is paid to controlling the cholesterol levels, it can be easily taken care of. All that a person has to do is follow the instructions of the doctor and lead a healthy life to ensure that no further damage is caused.
Myth-6: Only Medication works
Fact: Another misconception about cholesterol is that only medication comes in handy to bring it under control. However, if it is detected at an early stage, a healthy lifestyle can very quickly bring things under control. The most efficient ways to bring cholesterol under control would be to use an effective exercise regime coupled with a proper diet.
Myth-7: Doctors are Scary
Fact: A lot of people find it difficult to come to terms with the fact that they have a cholesterol problem. They think that a doctor will be scaring them even if their ailment is not that serious. However, going to a medical practitioner will help gain a proper perspective of the problem at hand. It is only after this that proper remedial measures can be taken or should be taken.
Myth-8: Tests are Conclusive
Fact: Medical examinations at all times –Do not give a correct picture. It may so happen that the scenario during the conducting of the test may not be the same as an actual condition.
Myth-9: You get Cholesterol from Fatty Foods
Fact: As we may have spoiled in the previous answer, most cholesterol doesn’t come from food – it is produced by your body. However, when you eat fatty foods (or smoke, or don’t exercise, for that matter), you throw off your body’s balance between the carriers of cholesterol: LDL, HDL and triglycerides. That is what can lead to the real danger – plaque buildup in your arteries.
Myth-10: A Low-Fat diet helps lower Cholesterol Levels
Fact: The types of fat in the diet affect blood cholesterol levels. A review of research on dietary carbohydrates and fats published in the American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition in 2010 showed that cutting back on fats, or a low-fat diet, has no health benefits. In a low-fat diet, you lose out on the fats that are good for the heart, and it is often compensated by switching to refined carbohydrates, which results in increasing the risk of heart disease and diabetes.
“All fats are important in the body for certain functions. But saturated fats, such as red meat, whole milk products, ghee and coconut oil, can increase LDL and should be consumed in small quantities.” “Trans fats, found in hydrogenated vegetable oil, are the worst type of fat, as they are useless for the body, increase LDL and triglycerides, and decrease HDL. Many packaged foods, such as potato chips and bakery products, which use refined grains like maida (all-purpose flour), are low in fibre and contain trans fats. Reusing cooking oil also increases trans fat levels.”
To move ahead of these popular Cholesterol Myths and the manner in which they can be harmful, it is good to make sure that a person can see the fine line. A little bit of research in this regard is going to be handy in getting a better understanding of the subject and clearing a lot of misconceptions about Cholesterol myths which are not true.
Here are some Handy Tips to Manage Your High Cholesterol
1. Eat whole grains, unprocessed food, fruits and vegetables daily
2. Exercise daily for 30 minutes
3. Avoid trans fats and saturated fats; consume more lean meats
4. Stick to the recommended daily allowance of 40-50g of total fat for adults
5.Include nuts, flaxseed, sunflower seeds and fatty fish in the diet to increase HDL
6.Replace high-fat dairy products with low-fat milk products
So, make a note of these tips and start incorporating them into your daily life. This is a serious health condition and most of the times people don’t get to know that they are suffering from Cholesterol problem. Thus, the best thing you can do to prevent such conditions is taking a healthy diet and working out. Also, you must go for a regular Health Checkup to monitor your cholesterol level. Consult a Physician or a Cardiologist if you have High level of Cholesterol. Stay Healthy, Stay Happy