When you hear the word “cholesterol”, you immediately think of heart disease. This is not because cholesterol is harmful per se. It is only harmful when it reaches elevated levels. High cholesterol level in your blood puts you at very high risk of getting heart disease and when it becomes worse, a heart attack may ensue. Cardiovascular diseases cause a high percentage of death in so many countries, especially the United States.
Cholesterol is actually needed by your body to produce cell membranes and other important structures. But as you grow and get used to unhealthy food and living, cholesterol levels in your blood increase. It already accumulates in the arterial walls. This causes atherosclerosis, wherein the walls of your arteries already harden. This results to the narrowing of the blood vessels and sufficient oxygenated blood doesn’t reach the specific areas of your body, including the heart itself. This occurrence results to chest pains and eventually a heart attack. Usually, people don’t know that they have a high cholesterol level. With this, it is very vital to know your cholesterol level so that you may have the chance to lower it. In doing so, you will be able to save yourself from having fatal cardiovascular diseases. Here are some of the important facts that you have to remember if you have a high cholesterol level:
1. Levels to remember
Cholesterol levels should be measured every five years. At the very least, it should be measured once by using a lipoprotein profile. In this measurement technique, you should have a fasting time of 9 to 12 hours before the actual cholesterol measurement. Lipoprotein profile will yield results that will indicate your total cholesterol, LDL (bad cholesterol), HDL (good cholesterol, and the triglycerides as well. LDL (low density lipoprotein) is what causes high cholesterol level that results to the arterial blockages. HDL (high density lipoprotein) prevents cholesterol levels from elevating. For HDL, you should make sure that the level is below 200 milligrams per deciliter. For LDL, the level should be below 100 milligrams per deciliter.
2. What affects it
There are so many things that affect high cholesterol level. The amount of saturated fat in your diet makes a significant impact in the status of your cholesterol level. The higher the saturated fat content, the higher the cholesterol that your food has. Make sure that you choose dishes and food items that have low cholesterol to lower your high cholesterol level. Excess weight also makes you have a high cholesterol level because of the high level of accumulated fat in your body. The amount of physical activity determines your cholesterol level as well. The more you move, the more possible it is for you to lower your high cholesterol level. Gender and age also affects your level of cholesterol. As men and women age, their metabolism rate decreases and this results to a high cholesterol level. Women usually have an increase in LDL after their menopause. High cholesterol level also runs in families so you have to know your levels to lower them while you are still at a young age.
3. Risk factors
There are so many risk factors that affect your high cholesterol level. Some of the factors that you have to consider are smoking, elevated blood pressure, low HDL, family history of high cholesterol level, and age.
There are two main ways to lower your high cholesterol level—drug treatments and (TLC) therapeutic lifestyle changes. Drug treatments involve the use of prescribed medications by your doctor. To maintain a low dosage of these medications, you should first change the unhealthy lifestyle that you have. Some of the usual medications are cholesterol absorption inhibitors, fibric acids, nicotinic acid, bile acid sequestrants, and statins. TLC includes the TLC diet, managing weight, and physical exercise. In the TLC diet, you should opt for food that are very low in fat or are considered fat free. Some examples of these are lean meats and poultry, fruits, vegetables, and whole grain. You should also avoid full fat dairy, organ meats, and egg yolks. You should also increase the fiber in your diet to remove excess fat. Maintaining your ideal weight and increasing your physical activity to at least thirty minutes a day also lowers your high cholesterol level.
Having a low cholesterol level is really helpful in having an optimal state of health. You should talk to your doctor for a combination of personalized treatment methods if you are diagnosed with high cholesterol level. It is up to you if you are really determined to achieve a low cholesterol level and be healthy so be vigilant go for the gold.