Cholesterol is considered as both our friend as well as our foe. Normal cholesterol levels it is an essential substance for the normal functioning of the body. But, if there is a high cholesterol level in the blood it can pose a great threat to your health.
Effects of High Cholesterol
High cholesterol also known as hypercholesterolemia or hyperlipidemia and dyslipidemia is a major risk factor for coronary heart disease. High levels of LDL lead to a build-up of cholesterol in the arteries which leads to the narrowing and blockage of arteries, called atherosclerosis. This leads to the formation of plaque which eventually restricts the flow of blood and may also lead to heart attack. To remove blockages Poona Preventive Cardiac Centre (PPCC) offers the EECP treatment for heart block. This therapy is being widely used to avoid angioplasty bypass. The doctors feel that it is very important to know the causes of high cholesterol as it will give you an insight into things that you need to avoid and the lifestyle changes that needs to be incorporated to stay healthy.
Take care of your diet. What you eat matters as far as your health is concerned. Cholesterol is found in high levels in food containing saturated fat and Trans fat.
This is usually found in
- Animal foods like egg yolks, Beef, pork, veal, meat
- Dairy products milk, eggs, butter, and cheese
- Baked foods
- Deep-fried and processed foods usually that usually contain coconut oil, palm oil, or cocoa butter
- Stick margarine
- Vegetable shortening
- Cookies, crackers, chips, and other snacks
Watch your weight to stay healthy. If you are overweight or obese triglycerides will increase and HDL will decrease. Losing your excess weight will do wonders for your health and also improve your appearance.
3. Activity level
Are you a couch potato and not doing a lot of moving around better watch out. Due to lack of physical activity LDL or bad cholesterol tends to increase and HDL or good cholesterol decreases.
4. Age and Gender
After reaching the age of 20, your cholesterol levels naturally begin to rise. In the case of men, the cholesterol levels generally level off after the age of 50. In women, cholesterol levels tend to stay fairly low until menopause. After menopause the cholesterol levels rise to about the same level as in men.
5. Overall Health
Abnormal cholesterol levels may also be due to the following health conditions:
- Liver or kidney disease
- Polycystic ovary syndrome
- Pregnancy and other conditions that increase levels of female hormones
- Underactive thyroid gland.
- Drugs that increase LDL cholesterol and decrease HDL cholesterol (progestin, anabolic steroids and corticosteroids).
6. Family history
High cholesterol can be genetically inherited. If family members have high cholesterol, you are sure to have the problem. Genetic conditions passed down from parents include:
- Familial hypercholesterolemia
- Familial combined Hyperlipidemia
- Familial Dysbetalipoproteinemia
- Familial Hypertriglyceridemia
7. Cigarette smoking
It is a known fact that smoking tends to lower your good cholesterol. It can even kill you due to its ill effects on your overall health.
Most of the above factors can be easily changed to restrict increase in high cholesterol levels. If you do not care, your heart is at risk.