What is Cholesterol
Cholesterol is a wax like, sticky substance that is found in all the cells in your body. Cholesterol is needed to produce hormones, vitamin D, and fat dissolving substances. Almost 80% of cholesterol is produced in your body. Cholesterol is also found in foods from animal sources, such as egg yolks, meat, and cheese. One egg yolk has about 200 mg of cholesterol.
Good Cholesterol and Bad Cholesterol
Low density lipoprotein (LDL) is called bad cholesterol. The reason behind this is because it delivers cholesterol to different parts of the body. This can cause ch
olesterol deposits in different parts of your body.
High density lipoprotein (HDL) is called good cholesterol. This is because it removes cholesterol deposits and delivers them to the liver for excretion.
Symptoms of high Cholesterol
Generally there are no symptoms. Deposits of cholesterol in your arties are called plaque. Over a period of time the plaque becomes hard and blocks blood flow. This can cause a heart attack.
Most people come to know that they have high cholesterol after they suffer a heart attack.
How to know if you have high cholesterol
You can get some idea if your arteries are blocked by hyperventilating. Breathe rapidly to increase the supply of oxygen in your blood. If you feel light headed in the head this means more oxygen is being delivered to your head and your arteries are not blocked. But if this does not happen then you need to have a checkup.
Causes of high Cholesterol
Eating food that is high in fat content can increase your cholesterol levels.
If you are overweight and do not exercise, then you could have high cholesterol.
Research has also found that high cholesterol runs in the family.
How to lower Cholesterol levels
Healthy lifestyle changes can lower your cholesterol levels. Exercising regularly can increase your HDL and lower LDL. Exercises that elevate heart rate to 85% of its maximum increases HDL. Longer duration of exercise also increases the benefit.
Eat foods with soluble fiber. This can be done by eating oats and oat bran, fruits, beans, lentils, and green vegetables. This lowers your LDL.
Eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids. They increase HDL and reduce triglycerides. Fish such as salmon, mackerel and herring are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Walnuts, almonds and flaxseeds are also good source of omega-3 fatty acids.
Avoid eating trans fats. Trans fats can be found in fried foods and many commercial products. Trans fats increase your LDL. Trans fats are inexpensive and last a long time. They also give foods a desirable taste and texture. But they are bad for your health. Avoiding such type of food can help to lower cholesterol naturally.
Being happy and laughing also increases your HDL and lowers your LDL.
Medication to lower cholesterol
Statins are drugs that can lower your cholesterol. They work by blocking a substance your body needs to make cholesterol. But as mentioned earlier some amount of cholesterol is necessary. This can cause side effects like muscle pain, memory loss, rising blood sugar levels, fuzzy thinking and in rare cases liver damage.
Cholesterol is needed for functions in the body, but can cause clogged arteries and heart disease.
Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) contributes most to heart disease and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) protects against heart disease by carrying cholesterol from the arteries back to the liver.