High cholesterol – result as a combination of genetics and lifestyle. Cholesterol is a type of fat (lipids) that in time is accumulating in the blood vessels (the arteries). We need cholesterol (our cells need it), and all the cholesterol we need is usually produce by our body. The problem comes on certain age, when our body starts accumulate cholesterol in the arteries (the blood vessels that carry blood away from the heart). High cholesterol has no symptoms. But on certain age you should make a blood test, which is the only way to detect high cholesterol. This test is usually redone every five years or so (depending on your blood test results and family history of high cholesterol). As a result of high cholesterol the risk of chest pain, heart attack or stroke increases dramatically. In some researching, high cholesterol is mention as one of the risk factors for some types of cancer.
There are two types of cholesterol:
- LDL (Low density lipoprotein) – bad cholesterol that builds up in the walls of your arteries, making them hard and narrow.
- HDL (High density lipoprotein) – good cholesterol, picks up the excess cholesterol and takes it back to your liver.
Risks factors or the most common causes
- Genetics – this is the root risk factor and if you have family history of high cholesterol you should be careful.
- Poor diet – this is the most common risk factor. Eating too much saturated fat found in some foods increases the risk of high cholesterol dramatically. Food such as beef, pork, veal, milk, eggs, butter, cheese, stick margarine, sunflower oil, palm oil, coconut oil, crackers, and other snacks. According to the American Heart Association eggs are now considered within a limit, as a relatively healthy choice of food. What you eat depends mainly on your lifestyle. Yet, if you have healthy lifestyle chances are that you don’t have high cholesterol. If you have high cholesterol you should consider about changing your diet. And is not that heavy. Consider adding this foods in your daily diet: apple cider vinegar (lowers cholesterol), oats, fish (food reach in omega 3), nuts (according to American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, people who noshed on 1.5 oz of whole walnuts 6 days a week for 1 month lowered their total cholesterol by 5.4% and LDL cholesterol by 9.3%.), vegetables (foods reach in fibers which slows the rate and amount of absorption of cholesterol in certain foods), fruits (food reach in fibers, minerals and vitamins), dark/bittersweet chocolate (represents antioxidant as well), olive oil, fish oil.
- Obesity – a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater puts you at risk of high cholesterol. Change your diet and start exercising immediately. In one word, change your lifestyle.
- Lack of exercise – it increases your body’s good cholesterol (HDL) and keeps your blood vessels along with the heart healthy. Also while increasing the size of the particles that make up your bad cholesterol (LDL), makes it less harmful. NO time for exercise? – read this article.
- Smoking – it damages the walls of your blood vessels, so is gets easier for them to accumulate the fatty (along with the LDL) deposits thus narrow the arteries.
- Diabetes – it’s simple. High blood sugar levels contributes to high level of LDL cholesterol and lower HDL cholesterol.