All that you need to know about Cholesterol

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Types of cholesterol : All that you need to know about Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a waxy lipid that is naturally produced by the liver. This is required by the human body for forming certain hormones, cell membranes and also Vitamin D. As this cholesterol cannot dissolve in water so it is not possible for this to travel through the blood on its own. The lipoproteins, which are produced by the liver, help in the transportation of cholesterol.

Types of Cholesterol present:

The three main types of cholesterol present in the human body are

*HDL or High Density lipo-protein is termed as the ‘good’ cholesterol and helps in removing the excess cholesterol from the body.

*LDL or the low-density lipo-protein is the ‘bad’ cholesterol which can build up plaque in the arteries and lead to different heart diseases.

*VLDL or very low-density lipo-protein can also build up plaque and is known as the ‘ugly’ cholesterol.

HDL or High Density Cholesterol:

HDL prevents any formation of plaque build-up in the arteries as this returns all the LDL cholesterol to the liver which removes it from the body.

LDL or Low Density Cholesterol:

LDL causes a build-up of plaque in your arteries which is known as cholesterol plaque. This

not only limits the flow of blood but can narrow the arteries and also lead to the formation of blood clots. When this clot blocks an artery in either your brain or the heart it can lead to a stroke or a heart-attack.

Triglycerides:

Triglycerides are a form of lipid which is required by the human body as a source of energy. Consuming more calories than the requirement of the body leads to triglycerides. This is stored in the fat cells. Lipoproteins are used for the transportation of triglycerides into your blood cells. Regular consumption of more calories can raise the level of triglycerides. This leads to strokes and heart attacks.

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Symptoms of High Cholesterol:

High cholesterol does not have any specific symptoms and is thus termed as a ‘silent’ killer. Many people are not even aware that they suffer from any high cholesterol until some serious problem is detected. This can be a heart attack or a stroke.

It is thus important to monitor the cholesterol levels on a regular basis.

Causes of High Cholesterol:

You can manage the cholesterol levels by reducing intake of fats in your diet. It is advisable to cut down on foods that contain

*Saturated fat: This is present in specific types of meat, baked goods, chocolates, dairy products, processed foods and foods which are deep fried.

*Cholesterol: This is present in cheese, meat and other animal foods.

*Trans fats: This is present in processed and fried foods.

High cholesterol is also due to weight gain and obesity. Conditions like kidney or liver disease, diabetes, polycystic ovary syndrome, a thyroid gland which is under-active, pregnancy and other conditions which affect the hormones can lead to this high cholesterol.

Diagnosis of High Cholesterol:

Your doctor or health care provider can check the levels of cholesterol through a simple blood test. This is ‘lipid panel’. With this test, the levels of triglycerides, LDL and HDL can be assessed. You need to fast for 12 hours before you take this blood test.

Managing High Cholesterol Naturally:

If the cholesterol levels are not too high you can manage this by following some tips listed below.

  1. Changes in Diet:

Making changes in your regular diet helps in managing the cholesterol levels. You need to increase the intake of foods which are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and soluble fiber. Whey protein also helps in bringing down the level of cholesterol. Avoid foods which contain trans fats and saturated fats.

  1. Losing Weight:
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A few extra pounds can be the reason for the high cholesterol. Drinking plain water instead of all those sodas and sugary drinks can help you lose the required weight. This works well only if your diet is balanced and you exercise regularly.

  1. Quit Smoking:

There is a vast difference to the levels of cholesterol once you give up on smoking. In a span of 20 minutes of giving up smoking, the heart rate and blood pressure recover from the spike due to smoking. The lung function and blood circulation tend to improve after 3 month once you have quit smoking. In 1 year’s time, the risk of heart disease is lowered by 50% as compared to those who smoke.

  1. Consumption of Alcohol:

Drinking alcohol in moderation is not as risky as over-drinking this. This means, one or two drinks everyday can work well for managing cholesterol levels but not more than that.

  1. Exercising Regularly:

30 minutes of exercise can work wonders for the cholesterol levels. This can be done five times a week. Any type of physical activity done in short intervals is also helpful. You can take a walk during your lunch break, play your favorite sport or use your bicycle for commuting to work.

Complication of High Cholesterol:

Dangerous levels of cholesterol are accumulated on the walls of the arteries with this high cholesterol. These deposits reduce the flow of blood through the arteries, causing complications like

*Heart Attack: If these plaques rupture or tear, there is a possibility of a blood clot forming at this site. This blocks the flow of blood or can also break free and plug an artery. You suffer from a heart-attack if the blood flow to any part of your heart stops.

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*Chest Pain: If the arteries supplying blood to your heart are affected in any way you experience pain in chest, also known as angina along with multiple symptoms of coronary heart disease.

* Stroke:  A stroke is similar to a heart attack and you suffer from this when a blood clot clocks the flow of blood to the brain.

Ensure you get your cholesterol levels checked on a timely basis so as to avoid serious health complications. You need to be aware that this high cholesterol can be fatal and also lead to death.

Types of cholesterol:

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