Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in all cells of the blood. It is required by our body to build healthy cells. But everything is useful in certain limits. Higher levels of cholesterol pose greater the risk of developing heart disease.
Individuals with high cholesterol can develop fatty deposits in their blood vessels. Eventually, these deposits grow day by day, making it difficult for enough blood to flow through the arteries. Sometimes, those deposits can burst out suddenly and form a clot that may cause a heart attack or stroke.
High cholesterol can be inherited, but usually, it is the result of unhealthy lifestyle choices. It can be prevented and treatable. A healthy diet, regular exercise, and sometimes medications can help to balance high cholesterol.
HDL or high-density lipoprotein (HDL) is known as good cholesterol. It removes cholesterol from the bloodstream.
LDL or Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is the “bad” cholesterol.
If the total cholesterol level is high because of a high LDL or bad cholesterol, there may be a higher risk of heart disease or stroke. But, if the total cholesterol level is high because of a high HDL level, an individual is probably not at higher risk.
Triglycerides – These are the type of fat found in the bloodstream. When a person consumes more calories than the body can use, the body converts the extra calories into triglycerides.
Changing lifestyle patterns (diet and exercise) can maintain cholesterol levels, lower LDL and triglycerides, and raise HDL.
Often, high cholesterol acquires no specific symptoms (asymptomatic). There is a possibility that a person might have high cholesterol and not know about it.
If someone has high cholesterol, their body may store the extra cholesterol in the arteries. A build-up of cholesterol in arteries is called plaque. Over time, plaque can become harder and make the arteries narrow. Massive accumulation of plaque can completely block an artery. Cholesterol plaques can also burst out apart, leading to the formation of a blood clot that blocks the blood flow.A blocked artery close to the heart may lead to an heart attack. A blocked artery close to the brain may cause a stroke.
Many people are not aware of having high cholesterol until they suffer one of these life-threatening events. However, with routine health check-ups one can check or detect their cholesterol levels.
The only organ that produces cholesterol is the liver, but people also get cholesterol from external sources such as food items. Eating a variety of foods that are high in fat can increase the cholesterol level.
Being overweight also cause high cholesterol. If an individual is obese, they are most likely have a higher triglyceride level in their blood. Family history also affects cholesterol levels. Many shreds of evidence have shown that high cholesterol tends to run in families. Smoking is also a cause of high cholesterol. It lowers HDL (good cholesterol).
Factors that can increase the risk of high cholesterol in the body include:
High cholesterol can cause a dangerous collection of cholesterol and other deposits on the walls of the arteries (atherosclerosis). These deposits known as plaques can reduce blood flow through arteries, which can cause complications, such as:
To help prevent high cholesterol, people can:
Lifestyle changes are vital to improving cholesterol levels. To lower cholesterol levels, try the following:
Medical Tests and Health Checkups Available At House of Diagnostics (HOD).