Cholesterol Management

Cholesterol in blood

Last Updated December 20th, 2021

Overview of cholesterol management

Cholesterol is an important element of the body. It regulates several physiological mechanisms and helps maintain a healthy lifestyle. Any abnormalities in the level of blood cholesterol may give rise to multiple complications. This may predispose a person to several diseases. Hence cholesterol management has become an integral part of global health maintenance programs. In the mid 1980s, the National cholesterol Education Program and American Heart Association collaborated and initiated a national campaign to spread the mass awareness related to health risks of cholesterol and effective cholesterol management. A high cholesterol level in different countries has impacted the morbidity and mortality rates.

What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a whitish, waxy and fatty material that generates from the liver. Saturated fats present in diet can also generate cholesterol. It is carried by the circulating blood. It performs a few essential functions like-

  • Generation and maintenance of cell membrane
  • Produce bile (essential for absorption and digestion of consumed fat)
  • Prepare Vitamin D and regulate hormones such as oestrogen and testosterone

Cholesterol is naturally generated within the human body. It has a threshold level. A rise in this level of blood cholesterol  is known as “hypercholesterolemia”. It gives rise to serious complications within the body. For an effective cholesterol management, one should avoid a diet rich in trans fats and triglycerides.

What are the causes of high cholesterol?

A high cholesterol level in the body is a primary risk factor for several physiological complications. These conditions are common in men above 45 and women above 55 years of age. The common triggers are as follows-

  • Unhealthy diet: Diet rich in saturated and trans fat cause an increase in cholesterol in blood. Poultry, eggs, dairy products and red meat are few examples of fatty diet. High intake of sodium in diet also contributes to the disease.
  • Obesity: Increase in weight can increase the level of Low Density Lipoproteins (LDL) and triglycerides in the body.
  • Physical activities: Complete lack of physical activities and work-outs is affects health. It inhibits the absorption of fats and triglycerides.
  • Age: Different physiological changes occur with age. A few common changes are, weak heart muscles, kidney dysfunctions and the degeneration of the liver cells. This predisposes an individual to several diseases.
  • Gender: Men are more susceptible to the disease than women. High blood cholesterol symptoms manifest themselves within men after the age of 40. Women experience similar symtpoms after the age of 55.
  • Genes: High cholesterol conditions are hereditary. People who have a family history of the disease are more likely to develop it in future.
  • Existing diseases: Chronic diseases like Hypothyroidism, renal dysfunctions, cardiovascular disorders and liver diseases can be responsible.
  • Medications: Certain drugs like corticosteroids, diuretics, caffeine and narcotics can trigger high cholesterol (LDL) conditions.
  • Addictive habits: Smoking and alcoholism can impede normal liver functions and cause high cholesterol.

What are the different types of cholesterol?

High cholesterol condition mainly arises due to abnormal levels of mainly three types of lipids (fats) and lipoproteins in the body. These are as follows-

  • Low-density Lipoproteins (LDL): This type of cholesterol is called “bad cholesterol”. It can combine with other fatty substances which are then carried by blood to the different body tissues. These substances slowly deposit on the walls of arteries (plaque formation) and cause obstruction of arterial passages which leads to coronary heart diseases in future. LDL cholesterol concentration should be kept as low as possible (below 130 mg/dL)
  • High-density Lipoproteins (HDL): This is called “good cholesterol”. It usually carries excess cholesterol from the arterial tissues to the liver where they are excreted. Thus risks of heart blockage due to fat deposition are reduced. Higher HDL levels are desirable within the body (above 45 mg/dL). Regular exercise can help achieve this.
  • Triglycerides: These belong to the third category of fats and are present in the body of high blood pressure or alcoholic patients. They should be kept below 150 mg/dL).

Clinical complications of high cholesterol

This disease does not have noticeable symptoms. Hence after a certain age (normally 40), people should go for regular check-ups. Progress of the disease can give rise to some serious clinical complications. These are as follows–

  • Coronary heart disease: The deposition of excess cholesterol on the inner walls of the coronary artery of the heart can cause this disease.
  • Atherosclerosis: In this condition, the heart muscles become thick due to plaque formation.
  • Carotid artery disease: It occurs due to the formation of plaque inside carotid artery (supplies blood to brain). It may lead to brain stroke in future.
  • Peripheral artery disease: It occurs due to arterial blockage in the limbs.
  • Renal failure: Excess cholesterol cannot be excreted and exerts pressure on the walls of kidneys causing renal failure in future.
  • Muscular failure: Excess cholesterol might affect the skeletal muscles as well causing muscular dystrophy (muscle stiffening) in advanced stages.

Is there any genetic connection?

According to the reports of British Heart Foundation, 1 in 500 people in UK suffer from Familial Hypercholesterolemia.

It is common in people who have a family history of the disease.

Extensive research proves that the mutations of specific genes like APOB or PCSK9 (determine the amount of cholesterol produced in the body) can cause cholesterol in future generations.

Diagnosis of high cholesterol

Doctors recommend lipid profile tests to determine the levels of –

Treatment and Prevention

Cholesterol-related health complications are mostly tied closely to lifestyle and diet choices.It is thus important to maintain special care in having a healthy diet, rich in fresh fruits and vegetables that is rich in fibre, essential nutrients, healthy fats etc. Having a physically active routine,  that includes atleast 20-30 minutes of exercise 4-5 days a week.

One should stay away from toxic habits such as drinking and smoking. Nicotine, alcohol, trans-fats, and sugar are the biggest culprits for bad cholesterol management that inevitably lead to heart issues.

WHO reports show that one-third of the ischemic heart diseases worldwide occur due to high levels of cholesterol. Nearly 2.6 million fatalities have been reported globally due to high cholesterol levels. The steadily increasing morbidity rates have made National Stroke Association spread the mass awareness related to heart diseases (especially in low and middle-income countries ) that might arise due to increased cholesterol levels in the body.

Facts

  • Losing a significant amount of weight is not a big priority for controlling cholesterol. One can achieve 8% reduction in LDL by losing 10 pounds.
  • High cholesterol causes twice as many deaths as lung cancer and thrice as many as breast cancer.

Facts

  • Only 33% of all individuals diagnosed with high cholesterol have the condition under control.
  • Controlling cholesterol can significantly reduce your chances of developing cardiac diseases and needing a by-pass surgery.

Facts

  • Currently, over 70 million Americans suffer from high cholesterol condition.
  • 2-3 hours of exercising is a minimum required to control cholesterol level. This figure may differ from person to person depending upon the age, weight, and LDL levels.

Related Conditions

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Dos and Don'ts

Dos
  • Remove all trans-fats from the diet. If any packaged or processed food label reads, partially hydrogenated oil, understand that it contains trans-fats.
  • Eat more of whole grains and fiber-rich foods to control weight gain.
  • Soy products are effective in removing LDL from the body. They can be used to replace conventional dairy and meat products from the diet.
Don'ts
  • Consume red meat. Substitute it with fish since fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids which are the good kind of cholesterol.
  • Lead a highly sedentary lifestyle. Have a fixed routine for performing physical exercises.
  • Binge-eat processed snacks and junk foods. These are high in trans-fats and refined sugar.

 

 

 

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Blood Element Analysis Test A blood element analysis is a blood test performed to measure the level of toxic elements such as…
Strep throat pain
Anti-Streptolysin-O Test The ASO or Anti-Streptolysin-O is a blood test designed to check for the presence of streptococcus bacterial infection…
Unbelievable health benefits of gooseberries (and a few tasty recipes) Gooseberries are antioxidant-rich tasty fruits that can be easily added in daily diet to improve overall health and…
liver detox facts
7 liver detox facts and why ignoring these could kill you! Are you taking care of this organ that handles over 500 different vital functions in your body? Your…
L-theanine attention
L-Theanine: Better sleep, higher focus, and many other benefits Did you know that L-theanine found in green tea can make you sleep better and be focused at…
Oil of Oregano: The one-stop essential oil you’ve been looking for Are you plagued by a weak immune system? High body inflammation accompanied by pain and infections? Why not…
Valerian Root: The best way to achieve tranquil sleep every night Valerian root is probably one of the oldest and safest way to cure your insomnia. Find out how…
Did you know drinking alkaline water could be the healthier choice for you? Ever wondered how safe is your drinking water in terms of pH? Recent studies have revealed that Alkaline…
Kava: Is it the healthy substitute for alcohol you have been waiting for? Native to the beautiful South Pacific islands, Kava is a famous beverage rooted in the local culture. It…
Goji berry: A traditional Chinese berry that packs the best of antioxidants Goji berry is an ancient berry that is considered to be power-packed with nutrients and antioxidants. Which means…
The Cabbage Soup Diet: The healthiest way to instant weight loss Cabbage soup diet rapid weight loss diet for those who want to shed those extra pounds in less…
shakeology woman
Meal replacement or protein drink? Learn all about Shakeology and its claims Shakeology from Beachbody claims to be the most suitable shake that can aid in weight loss, regulate blood…
GGt test
GGT – Gamma-Glutamyl Transferase Test GGT or gammaglutamyl transferase test is a liver function test that is used to detect the extent of…
C-Reactive Protein Test A CRP or c-reactive protein blood test is an important diagnostic tool used to determine the risk of…
free psa test
Free PSA Test The free PSA test is used to detect the level or percentage of free PSA in the body…
Thyroid disorders
Thyroid Profile Thyroid profile is a panel of blood tests performed to check if an individual is suffering from any…
shiitake mushrooms healthy
What are Shiitake Mushrooms and why should you eat them? Shiitake Mushrooms are well known for their smoky and robust taste. However, did you know they are replete…
DHEA wrinkles
DHEA: Now get unbelievable age defiance with this wonder hormone! DHEA is known popularly as the age-defying hormone. This supplement is widely used to slow down aging and…
How seitan proved to be a blessing in disguise for vegans worldwide Can only meat-eaters enjoy delicious juicy steaks and burgers? With seitan, the best meat substitute available today,even vegans…
Surgery or home-remedy; what is the right way to treat a burn The treatment of a burn injury depends on its severity. You can save a life by offering the…
phenytoin test
Phenytoin test Phenytoin is a drug that is administered mainly to epilepsy patients. The phenytoin blood test measures the level…
asab antisperm antibody test
Antisperm Antibody Test The ASAB or anti-sperm antibody test is a blood/semen test that analyzes the level of sperm-killing antibody protein…
AHBC Igm
Anti-Hepatitis B Core Antigen (AHBc) IgM Anti-hepatitis B core antigen (AHBC) IgM is an investigative procedure to detect the presence of IgM antibodies in…
hidden causes obesity
8 hidden causes of obesity you probably didn’t know! Did you know that around 2 billion people worldwide are either overweight or obese? Are you too a…
lose weight fast
12 easy and instant steps to successful weight loss Do you want to lose weight without losing your mind? Does weight loss always mean saying goodbye to…