High Cholesterol Levels
What is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a fat-like substance that is waxy in nature and is found in all parts of the body. We all need a certain level of cholesterol in our body in order to perform daily activities properly. But, if the cholesterol in the body is too high, it combines with other substances that are present in the blood and sticks to the walls of the arteries. The substance that sticks to the arterial walls is called as plaque. Too much plaque can narrow or block your arteries.
There are two major types of cholesterol. These are commonly referred to as Low-density lipoprotein or LDL and High-density lipoprotein (HDL). LDL is classified as bad cholesterol. It sticks to the walls of the arteries and increases the risk of heart attack and stroke. HDL is referred to as the good cholesterol because it keeps moving safely in the body and does not stick to the arterial walls.
Symptoms of High Cholesterol Levels
There are usually no visible signs or symptoms to identify High Cholesterol Levels in the body. It can only be detected with the help of a blood test. If your blood cholesterol level is above 240 mg/dL, you have high cholesterol level. High cholesterol levels can also be indicated if you are overweight, smoke or suffer from high blood pressure.
Causes of High Cholesterol Levels
Some factors like obesity, inactivity, unhealthy diet, and inappropriate lifestyle become the cause of high LDL and low HDL. If your family has a history of high cholesterol or obesity, you are likely to develop high cholesterol too.
Dangers of High Cholesterol Levels
High cholesterol levels lead to a dangerous health condition called atherosclerosis. This is the accumulation of deposits or plaque on the inner walls of the arteries. This deposit narrows the blood flow which gives rise to conditions like:
- Chest Pain
The arteries that supply blood to the heart become affected due to plaque which leads to angina (chest pain) and coronary artery disease.
- Heart Attack
When plaque gets ruptured, a blood clot is formed thus blocking the flow of blood to the heart. This condition results in heart attack.
A stroke is like a heart attack. A blood clot obstructs blood flow to the brain. A person experiences a stroke.
How to Lower High Cholesterol Levels
By making certain healthy changes to your diet and lifestyle, you can get rid of high cholesterol. Let’s check some factors that can help in lowering cholesterol.
- A healthy diet. Try eating healthier fats. Red meat and dairy products usually contain saturated fats which increase your LDL and your total cholesterol.
- Eliminate Trans fats from your food as they increase the bad cholesterol and lower the high cholesterol. Trans fats are present in cookies, snacks and crackers.
- Eat food that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These foods include fish, almonds, walnuts, eggs, spinach, and flaxseeds. Omega-3 increases your HDL.
- Increase the use of soluble fiber in your diet which lowers your LDL level. It is found in oats, fruits and vegetables.
- Begin regular exercise and morning walks. Play your favorite sports even for few minutes.
- Smoking greatly contributes to your high cholesterol levels. It promotes LDL in your body. When you quit smoking, the HDL level in your body improves which results in lowering cholesterol.
- Lose some extra pounds of your body. Losing some weight greatly contributes to lowering the high cholesterol levels of the body.
- Limit your alcohol intake. Alcohol is very dangerous for high cholesterol. It gives rise to LDL in the body. In order to lower cholesterol, you should use alcohol in a moderation.
- Try drinking more water in your daily routine. Drinking a lot of water helps in proper functioning of the body. When your body functions better, your high cholesterol level will reduce.
- See your doctor to find if medication is appropriate. Many people ignore high cholesterol disease which leads to grave health diseases that become very difficult to treat. It is never a good choice to ignore this problem. Take proper medication to control your cholesterol.