Cholesterol is a type of fat, one which is a major building block of various substances including the cell membrane of every cell in our body, digestive juices released by the gall bladder and the sex hormones. Not all cholesterol is bad. We need some cholesterol for our bodily functions and the liver can make that easily in our body. But the problem starts when the level goes beyond necessary.
High cholesterol is one of the major controllable risk factors for coronary heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. The higher your blood cholesterol is, the greater your chance of developing coronary heart disease.
Bad Cholesterol is scientifically referred to as LDL or Low Density Lipoprotein. The Bad cholesterol tends to block the arteries.
Good Cholesterol also known as the HDL or the High Density Lipoprotein acts as a cleansing agent cleaning up the bad cholesterol from the arteries.
Causes of high cholesterol
Like high blood pressure, high cholesterol (hypercholesterolemia) itself is not a disease, but a condition that can lead to some very important consequences-
- Diseases like diabetes, some forms of thyroid, liver, and kidney diseases cause high cholesterol.
- It's also most frequently caused by a combination of diet and genetic factors.
- Even patients with great genes for cholesterol metabolism can overwhelm the system by pursuing an inactive lifestyle, gaining an imprudent amount of weight, and eating a high fat diet.
Signs and Symptoms
Most of the times there are no symptoms and this is the reason why it is advised to get your cholesterol levels checked by a doctor regularly. People who do not suffer from any heart disease or high cholesterol; it is recommended that the level be checked every 2 years.
High blood cholesterol is primarily treated with lifestyle changes and medicines. The major objective of treatment is to lower your low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol level enough to reduce your risk for coronary heart disease, heart attack, and other related health problems.
- Consuming whole-grain cereals such as oatmeal and oat bran, fruits such as apples, bananas, oranges, pears, and prunes, legumes such as kidney beans, lentils, chick peas, black-eyed peas, and lima beans
- Including daily physical activity such as walking, running, swimming etc.
- Maintaining low weight can help lower cholesterol
- Consumption of drugs like STAIN