How cholesterol affects your body? Important facts you need to know!
Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in our body. Our body needs cholesterol to build healthy cells. Cholesterol is both good and bad. When it is at normal level, it is an essential substance for the body if the concentration increases in the blood, it becomes a silent killer that puts us at risk of a heart attack.
Cholesterol is present in almost every cell of the body. It plays an important function in the digestion of foods, production of hormones and generates vitamin D. The body produces it and we consume it in food too. It is fat-like and waxy in appearance. High cholesterol can develop fatty deposits in your blood vessels. The fatty deposits make it difficult for blood to flow through our arteries. Sometimes, deposits break suddenly and form a clot which can cause a heart attack or stroke.
There are no symptoms of high or low cholesterol levels. The only way to check is via a blood test. The body gets cholesterol in two ways: While 80 % is produced by the liver, rest is produced from the food we eat. Trans fat and saturated fat are also associated to make more cholesterol. Foods that are high in sugar can also lead to developing higher cholesterol levels in the blood.
Types of cholesterol
Cholesterol is carried through bloodstream in the body by attaching to a few proteins. This combination is also known as a lipoprotein. Four types of lipoproteins are present in the body that carries cholesterol in the blood.
– HDL (High-Density lipoprotein) also knows as “good cholesterol”.
– LDL (Low-Density lipoprotein) also knows as “bad cholesterol”.
– VLDL (Very Low-Density lipoprotein), very bad forms of cholesterol.
– Chylomicrons, these carry little cholesterol but another fat called triglycerides.
The amount of cholesterol in the body is important due to its role in various cardiovascular diseases. Getting these types of diseases depends upon the types of cholesterol and the amount of cholesterol. High level of LDL or bad cholesterol increases the chances of coronary heart disease. High level of HDL or good cholesterol lowers the chance of coronary heart disease.
LDL cholesterol gathers at the walls of arteries which leads to hardening of the arteries or atherosclerosis. People who have atherosclerosis are more vulnerable to heart failure, stroke, heart attack or any other problems caused by clogged with blood vessels. However, there have been some instances where people having LDL cholesterol never got heart disease and many heart attack patients don’t have high cholesterol levels. The deposits can lead to chest pain (angina) and other symptoms of coronary artery disease.
How cholesterol level increases?
– A sedentary lifestyle
– Poor diet (Consumed foods that are high in saturated foods and trans fats)
Heart-healthy lifestyle changes can help in reducing the possibility of high cholesterol in the body. Here are some ways through which you can prevent cholesterol problems:
– Eat a low salt-diet that includes vegetables, fruits and whole grains.
– If you smoke, quit it now
– Limit the intake of animal fats and use good fats instead in moderation
– If you like drinking alcohol, drink in moderation. It would be better if you completely leave it
– Manage stress
– Lose extra weight and maintain the BMI( Body Mass Index)
– Exercise at least 5 days a week for a minimum of 30 days
It is very difficult to predict who is more prone to developing heart disease with high cholesterol. The lack of knowledge makes it difficult for people to play safe and keep cholesterol levels in check. Dietary control alone cannot work for everyone. Few people have to go through medication to lower cholesterol levels.
Interesting facts about cholesterol
– Having high cholesterol does not usually produce any symptoms.
– Cholesterol is a vital substance in the body which is produced from the food we eat and liver.
– A lipid-lowering drug, such as Stalin can be prescribed if cholesterol levels are very high despite the unsuccessful changes in lifestyle.
– Family history also plays a role in the risk factors for cholesterol.
Most of the body fat is triglycerides. There is no clarity on triglycerides playing any role in heart disease but many people with high triglycerides also have high LDL or low HDL levels. This increases the chances of getting a heart attack.
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