Good Cholesterol vs Bad Cholesterol
1. High Cholesterol is a major risk factor for Heart Disease or Coronary Artery Disease.
2. High Cholesterol Levels itself do not cause symptoms. But it silently increases the chances of heart attack and stroke.
3. It is very important to get your cholesterol levels checked regularly.
4. A person over the age of 20 years should undergo a Lipid Profile Test every year.
5. Regular exercise helps lower bad (LDL) cholesterol and increase good (HDL) cholesterol.
Cholesterol is a waxy fat-like substance produced by the liver, which is found in all the cells of the body. It produces hormones, vitamin D and bile, which helps in digestion. Cholesterol is also present in the food we consume like meat, eggs and milk products.
And over-consumption of these food products results in extra production of cholesterol by the liver than required. High cholesterol, also known as hypercholesterolemia, is a major risk factor for heart related health problems i.e. coronary heart disease and stroke.
Cholesterol circulates in the bloodstream in the form of small packages called lipoproteins. The lipoproteins in the bloodstream include:
•Low – density Lipoproteins (LDL) – These are a bad cholesterol as they cause more plaque to form or block the arteries
•High – density Lipoproteins (HDL) – This is good cholesterol as HDL flows from arteries to liver carrying the plaque and excretes it from the body. Thus, preventing heart related problems
•Triglycerides – It is a type of fat in the blood, which is harmful to the heart
__What is the normal cholesterol level?__
Cholesterol level is the overall cholesterol in the body, including LDL, HDL and triglycerides. The desired cholesterol level increases as you age.
In children, the desired level is 170 mg/dL or lower. Whereas in adults, 200 mg/dL and below is desired. 200 – 230 mg/dL is borderline and above 240 mg/dL is considered as high cholesterol.
__Causes of high blood cholesterol __
• Saturated fat from animal sources like meat, egg, milk and trans-fatty acids from vegetable oils increase LDL cholesterol level
• Being overweight tends to increase LDL level and decrease HDL level
• Lack of physical activity
• High blood pressure
• In some cases, family history and hereditary factors also leads to high cholesterol
High blood cholesterol increases the risk of arthrosclerosis, Coronary Heart Disease (CHD), angina and heart attack.
__Managing your cholesterol level__
In order to lower your LDL, you are recommended to adopt a therapeutic lifestyle change (TLC), which includes:
• TLC diet – Plan a diet with low saturated fats and trans-fatty acid rich food. Increase the intake of soluble fibers containing food like oatmeal, kidney beans and apple
• Weight management – In order to lower your cholesterol level, it is important for you to manage your weight, BMR and waist measurement.
• Physical activities – Is recommended to manage your weight and decreases the risk of heart problems. Regular physical activities for 20 to 30 minutes per day is recommended for all age groups.
• Take your medications – Your doctor may prescribe some medicines to help lower your cholesterol if it is on higher side. Cholesterol absorption inhibitors, bile acid sequestrates, vitamins and supplements are some common medicines prescribed to manage high cholesterol. Take them as directed