Cholesterol is regarded as a type of lipid. It’s a fat-like substance produced naturally by your liver and is required for the formation of cell membranes, hormones, and vitamin D.
High cholesterol is a disorder in which your blood has an excess of lipids (fats). It is also referred to as hyperlipidemia or hypercholesterolemia.
To function, your body needs just the proper quantity of lipids. When you have an excess of lipids, your body cannot utilize them completely. The extra lipids eventually begin to accumulate in your arteries and build plaque(fatty deposits) when they mix with other substances in your blood.
For years, this plaque may not create any issues, but over time, it silently enlarges within your arteries. Due to this, high cholesterol that is left untreated is risky. Without your knowledge, the excess lipids in your blood contribute to the plaque’s growth. A blood test is the only way to determine if you have high cholesterol.
LDL cholesterol is frequently referred to as “bad cholesterol.” It transports cholesterol to your arteries. If your LDL cholesterol levels are too high, it accumulates on the walls of your arteries.
This accumulation is sometimes referred to as cholesterol plaque. This plaque has the potential to restrict your arteries, reduce blood flow, and increase your risk of blood clots. A heart attack or stroke can occur if a blood clot plugs an artery in your heart or brain.
HDL cholesterol is often known as “good cholesterol.” It aids in the return of LDL cholesterol to the liver for removal from the body. This helps to keep cholesterol plaque from accumulating in your arteries.
Healthy HDL cholesterol levels can help minimize your risk of blood clots, heart disease, and stroke.
High cholesterol causes:
High cholesterol is influenced by both inherited and lifestyle factors. Among the lifestyle aspects are:
- Smoking and tobacco use: Smoking elevates “bad cholesterol” and lowers “good cholesterol” (HDL) (LDL).
- Being under a lot of stress: Stress causes hormonal changes that lead to an increase in cholesterol production in the body.
- Alcohol consumption: Consuming too much alcohol can cause your total cholesterol to increase.
- Insufficient exercise: Your cholesterol levels improve with exercise, especially aerobic exercise. Your body won’t make enough “good cholesterol” if you work a desk job or spend a lot of time sitting down in your free time.
- Diet: Some meals may cause your cholesterol to rise or fall. Eating too much foods that are high in saturated fat or trans fats can result in unhealthy cholesterol levels. Saturated fats are usually found in fatty cuts of meat and full-fat dairy products. While trans fats are often found in junk food, packaged snacks or desserts.
Effects of High Cholesterol
High cholesterol, if left untreated, can cause plaque to form in your arteries. This plaque can constrict your arteries over time. This is referred to as atherosclerosis.
Atherosclerosis is a dangerous disease. It has the potential to reduce blood flow via your arteries. It also increases your chances of getting serious blood clots.
Atherosclerosis can lead to a variety of life-threatening consequences, including:
- Coronary artery disease (CAD)
- Carotid artery disease
- Angina (chest discomfort)
- High blood pressure
- Peripheral vascular disease
- Chronic renal disease
High cholesterol can also cause a bile imbalance, increasing your chances of developing gallstones.
How to Control Your Cholesterol
The hereditary risk factors for high cholesterol are uncontrollable. Lifestyle variables, on the other hand, can be controlled.
- Cut down on processed food and go for more healthful diets high in fiber and low in cholesterol and animal fats.
- Avoid drinking too much alcohol.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Regular exercise is essential.
- Smoking should be avoided.
Follow your doctor’s advice on a routine cholesterol test. If you are at risk of high cholesterol or coronary heart disease, they would probably advise you to have your cholesterol levels checked regularly.
High cholesterol is a silent killer. You could have too many lipids in your blood and be unaware of them for years. And the health effects of high cholesterol can be very dangerous to you. Therefore, you should ensure that you do everything possible to keep your cholesterol levels in good levels.
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