High Cholesterol, Heart Health & You: Understanding the Basics

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Your body gets cholesterol from the fat in your diet, and it is also made by your liver. It is crucial for numerous internal processes, including hormone manufacturing, the movement of chemicals throughout the body, and cell renewal, and it is an essential component of every cell’s membrane. Most of us normally don’t need to consume huge amounts of cholesterol in our diets because our bodies can produce everything we need. We are advised to restrict our nutritional consumption because of this.

Lipoproteins, which are molecules with the capacity to transport oils across water, are the particles that carry cholesterol throughout your body. There are various different kinds of lipoproteins, but low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) are the most famous onesy. There are various different kinds of lipoproteins, but low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) are the most famous ones. One of LDL’s functions is to deliver cholesterol to blood vessels, where it can assemble to form atherosclerotic plaques, which is why it is frequently referred to as “bad” cholesterol. These plaques have the potential to constrict or even block blood vessels over time, which can result in blood clots, heart attacks, and strokes. The “good” cholesterol, on the other hand, is HDL, which functions to transport cholesterol from the blood vessels and into the liver so that it may be broken down and expelled from the body.

High cholesterol Risk Factors and Causes

There are certain things you can do to reduce your risk of acquiring high cholesterol, even while you have no control over the hereditary factors that may do so, such as being born a boy or having a family history of hypercholesterolemia. Your chance of having high cholesterol rises if your BMI is over 30, especially if you are overweight around your midsection. A poor diet, smoking, and insufficient exercise are other risk factors associated with the condition. High cholesterol is also more likely to develop in people with Type 2 diabetes.

Familial hypercholesterolemia is a hereditary disorder in which your body has a mutation in one of the genes involved in metabolizing cholesterol. You get extraordinarily high cholesterol levels as a result of this. Ask your doctor to check to see if you might have this hereditary form if you have a family member who has high cholesterol, especially if they were diagnosed when they were young.


Hypercholesterolemia, sometimes known as high cholesterol, frequently has no obvious symptoms. A blood test is the only way to determine if your levels of this fat are abnormal. If symptoms do appear, they are probably the result of a high cholesterol complication, like cardiovascular disease. Heart attacks and strokes are frequently the first physical symptoms of excessive cholesterol.

The detection of high cholesterol

A blood test is used to identify high cholesterol. Your total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and triglycerides are all revealed through a test known as a “lipid panel” (a type of fat in the blood). You should fast for 12 hours before having blood drawn for this test in order to get the most accurate results.

The following values are considered normal by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, although normal levels differ from lab to lab.

  • Whole-body cholesterol
  • LDL cholesterol
  • HDL cholesterol is >60 mg/dL.

Borderline high total cholesterol is 200–239 mg/dL, while high total cholesterol is >240 mg/dL. Between 130 and 159 mg/dL, LDL cholesterol is borderline high, while 160 mg/dL and higher is high. Low HDL cholesterol is defined as levels below 40 mg/dL for men and 50 mg/dL for women.

Treatment for High Cholesterol

Making lifestyle changes is the first line of defense in lowering your cholesterol to manageable, healthy levels. The best strategies to decrease cholesterol are weight loss and dietary changes. Your LDL cholesterol can decrease by up to 8% after losing 10 pounds. To lower your LDL and increase your HDL, reduce the number of trans fats in your diet (found in fried and baked goods). Make an effort to work out for at least 2.5 hours per week. Increase the number of nuts, fish, and fiber in your diet, and choose fruits and vegetables over cake and chips.

Your doctor may decide to add drugs if lifestyle changes alone are unsuccessful in lowering your cholesterol. Your age, present health, and potential side effects are just a few of the variables that your doctor will consider when deciding which drug or medication combination is right for you. The HMG-CoA reductase enzyme that your liver needs to manufacture cholesterol is blocked by a class of drugs called statins. Bile that contains cholesterol is produced more frequently by the liver as a result of bile acid-binding resins, which lowers the blood cholesterol level and speeds up cholesterol excretion. Fibrates improve HDL cholesterol levels while reducing LDL cholesterol.

Keeping cholesterol low

By eating well and leading an active lifestyle, you can lower your cholesterol. You should strive to consume less saturated and trans fats. Animal products, including red meat, cheese, and dairy products, baked goods, fried foods, and fast food are among the foods high in these types of fats. Trans and saturated fats are also found in abundance in a variety of snacks, including chips and cakes. Aim to consume more fiber and unsaturated fats through the consumption of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.

Always keep your personal health in mind when choosing a diet. According to the American Heart Association’s general recommendations, you should consume no more than 300 mg of cholesterol each day. If your cholesterol is already high, try lowering it to 200 mg each day. If you have any worries about your diet or cholesterol levels, consult your doctor.

In addition to controlling high cholesterol, maintaining a healthy weight is essential for other health issues as well. Being at a healthy weight for your height lowers your risk of developing diabetes, lung conditions, heart problems, and even cancer. Increasing activity and exercise for at least 150 minutes each week—Your body and metabolism will remain healthy and active if you engage in regular exercises, such as a 30-minute stroll five times per week.

Get checked out first if you’re worried about your cholesterol. Ask your doctor whether there is anything you can do to cure or prevent hypercholesterolemia when you visit.

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