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Cholesterol - A Primer & Treatment Options

Cholesterol - A Primer & Treatment Options
Akanksha Nigam

Cholesterol is a wax-like substance that is already present in our blood. Yes, you read that correctly! The liver produces a sufficient quantity of cholesterol that is required by our body and is not unhealthy. This ‘good cholesterol’ is known as high-density lipoprotein or HDL and our bodies need it  to to absorb LDL or ‘bad cholesterol’ and transporting it to the liver where it can be reprocessed. HDL also acts as a scrubber for the inner walls of the blood vessels, keeping them clean and healthy. Our bodies get their supply of cholesterol from two sources - one is from the liver, and the other is from certain foods that we eat, like meat, poultry, and dairy. Cholesterol from food is known as dietary cholesterol.

Some food can be high in saturated fat and trans-fat, which push the liver to produce more cholesterol than its normal limit. This excess production raises the cholesterol level to unhealthy levels. 

What does high cholesterol mean?

High cholesterol means having cholesterol levels above 200mg/dl. Elevated cholesterol levels lead to fatty deposits in the blood vessels. These deposits can grow over time and  and can cause a blockage within the arteries which reduces the flow of blood to the heart. They can also break and clog the arteries causing a heart attack or a stroke.

Unfortunately, there are no symptoms to warn us that we have high cholesterol so it is important to have a regular complete blood panel with your annual physical to test your cholesterol levels.

What causes high cholesterol?

High cholesterol can be hereditary and can also be caused by an unhealthy lifestyle. Some factors that can also raise cholesterol levels include:

  • Consumption of foods rich in saturated and trans-fat
  • A sedentary lifestyle
  • Health conditions such as obesity and type 2 diabetes

Types of Cholesterol

Low levels of good cholesterol or high levels of bad cholesterol can increase the chances of plaque build-up in the arteries. What’s the difference between the two?

1. Low-Density Lipoprotein – LDL

LDL cholesterol is the bad cholesterol in our blood. It collects on the artery walls and blocks blood flow to and from the heart. High LDL Cholesterol increases the chances of a heart attack or stroke. It is important to keep the LDL cholesterol range as low as possible. LDL below 100mg/dl is considered optimal.

2. High-Density Lipoprotein – HDL

HDL cholesterol is the good guy. It takes away the LDL from the blood back to the liver, and the liver flushes it out of the body. High HDL cholesterol helps to avoid the risk of heart attack or stroke. HDL greater than 60mg/dl is considered high HDL, which is good for the body. An HDL level below 40md/dl is not  favorable.

What are triglycerides?

Triglycerides are fat already present in the body. They store  excess energy from our diet. When we consume food, our bodies convert unused calories into triglycerides. A high triglyceride level accompanied by high LDL or low HDL is harmful to the body as it is linked with plaque build-up in the arteries, eventually increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke.

How to reduce cholesterol?

Our body produces enough cholesterol to work efficiently on its own and does not require cholesterol from other sources. Some ways to reduce high cholesterol are::

  1. Say no to saturated and trans-fats.Saturated fat is found in animal products and oils. Avoid consuming these foods to maintain healthy and normal cholesterol levels.
  2. Choose foods low in sodium and sugar. Eat lean meats, seafood, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
  3. Consume a fiber-rich diet. This helps to reduce LDL cholesterol and triglycerides and also increases the HDL cholesterol level in the body.
  4. Maintain a healthy weight. Excess weight and obesity increase the level of LDL in the body which slowsdown the body’s metabolism and the ability to remove LDL from the body.
  5. Engage in regular exercise.  Physical activity not only maintains your weight but also keeps your blood pressure under control and burns excess.
  6. Quit Smoking. Smoking hardens and damages the blood vessels, thereby increasing the risk of heart disease.
  7. Limit alcohol intake. Too much alcohol can raise triglyceride and cholesterol levels in the body.

Rehab & Exercise Products

HPFY carries a wide range of fitness products that can help you  on your journey to better health. Some of these best reviewed fitness products include

1. Exertool Soft Shell Exball

This gel-filled medicine ball is easily usable as a hand weight for multiple exercises, for a ball throw and catch medical routine, and for throwing against a rebounder. It has five weight options, from a small two-pound ball to a fifteen-pound ball one. Its the soft exterior textured surface of the ball that makes it easy to grip.

2. TheraBand Professional Resistance Bands and Tubing

These bands are great for upper and lower body muscle training and will help improve balance, posture, and motor function. Regular usage decreases pain, increases grip strength, and cardiovascular fitness.

3. Body Sport Vinyl Dumbbells

Train anywhere and anytime!and make the most of strength training with these dumbells. Their compact size make it easy to work out at home or away. Great for squats, bench presses, step-ups, etc. These dumbbells help build muscle and muscle strength which aid in increasing your metabolism.   

Remember, your body wont warn you about high cholesterol levels, only a blood test can tell the true story. Therefore, it becomes even more important to be extra diligent in our efforts to maintain healthy levels of good and bad cholesterol. Regular workouts, avoiding saturated and trans-fats, limited alcohol consumption, and not smoking are ways to keep cholesterol levels in check. Remember to see your doctor for annual checkups which include a complete blood panel that measures cholesterol levels.

Exertool Soft Shell Exball

 

TheraBand Professional Resistance Bands and Tubing

 

Body Sport Vinyl Dumbbells

 

 

Disclaimer: All content found on our website, including images, videos, infographics, and text were created solely for informational purposes. Our reviewed content should never be used for the purpose of diagnosis or treatment of any medical conditions. Content shared on our websites is not meant to be used as a substitute for advice from a certified medical professional. Reliance on the information provided on our website as a basis for patient treatment is solely at your own risk. We urge all our customers to always consult a physician or a certified medical professional before trying or using a new medical product.


HPFY Akanksha Nigam

Akanksha Nigam

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Akanksha Nigam has been a Health Products For You contributor since 2021. With a Masters Degree in Finance, she began her Marketing career in the banking industry. However, her interest in human ...

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