CHOLESTEROL: THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE CONTROLLABLE

Human body is an intricate biological system that depends on several hormones and enzymes to control vital physiological processes. The adrenal glands, pituitary glands, thyroid glands, and pancreas are a few of the organs and tissues that create hormones, which are chemical messengers. By controlling bodily functions including metabolism, growth and development, reproduction, and the body’s response to stress, these hormones are essential for preserving homeostasis, or balance, in the body. Proteins called enzymes, on the other hand, catalyse or quicken chemical reactions in the body. They participate in a variety of biological functions, such as cellular maintenance and repair, energy production, and digestion. 

 In the same way, an essential form of fat for the body’s correct operation is cholesterol. It is essential for the synthesis of vitamin D, cell membranes, and hormones. But high cholesterol levels can cause major health issues like heart disease and stroke.

The fundamentals of cholesterol and methods for lowering high cholesterol levels will be covered in this article.

What is Cholesterol?

All of the body’s cells contain cholesterol, a waxy, fatty-like substance. It is naturally made by the liver and is also found in some foods, including meat, dairy products, and eggs. LDL (low-density lipoprotein) and HDL (high-density lipoprotein) are the two different forms of cholesterol.

LDL

The LDL cholesterol is frequently referred to as “bad” cholesterol because it can accumulate in the artery walls and create plaques that can cause the arteries to constrict and stiffen. This can result in atherosclerosis, a condition that raises the risk of heart disease and stroke.

HDL

Contrarily, HDL cholesterol, sometimes known as “good” cholesterol, aids in the removal of LDL cholesterol from the arteries and transports it back to the liver for processing and removal from the body.

Why Do Cholesterol Levels Rise?

Genetics, nutrition, and poor lifestyle are just a few of the causes of high cholesterol levels. Some people have a higher risk of having high cholesterol due to their genetic make-up or family history. Others could experience elevated cholesterol as a result of unhealthy eating habits or sedentary lifestyles.

Some foods like fried foods, full-fat dairy products, and red meat can raise cholesterol levels. Furthermore, taking an excessive amount of trans- and saturated fats can raise LDL cholesterol levels. Trans fats are found in processed meals like baked goods, fried foods, and snack foods, whereas saturated fats are found in animal products like meat, cheese, and butter. Usage of extra oil can also be responsible for changes in cholesterol levels and worsen your heart conditions.

Other lifestyle choices that might raise cholesterol levels include smoking, being overweight, and not exercising enough regularly. While smoking can lower HDL cholesterol levels and increases the risk of atherosclerosis (deposition of fatty material on the inner walls). A few other age-related factors also affect the levels of cholesterol. Additionally, raised LDL cholesterol levels can also increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. Having an overweight body also raises the risks for various heart diseases and makes your heart weak. Exercising daily or on a regular basis can help raise HDL cholesterol levels and can keep your heart healthy.

Guidelines for Lowering Cholesterol

Combining a change in lifestyle with medicine may be necessary to control high cholesterol levels. Here are some tactics that could be useful:

Eat Heart-Healthy Food

A heart-healthy diet is a crucial part of managing cholesterol. Consuming foods that are high in fiber and low in saturated and trans fats falls under this category. Heart-healthy foods may include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy products.

Exercise Frequently

Another essential element of managing cholesterol is regular exercise. Exercise has been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol levels. At least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity are advised.

Stop Smoking.

Smoking can raise the risk of atherosclerosis and lower HDL cholesterol levels. The risk of heart disease and stroke can be reduced and HDL cholesterol levels can be raised by giving up smoking.

Reduce Weight

The risk of heart disease and stroke might rise along with LDL cholesterol levels when a person is overweight or obese. LDL cholesterol levels can be lowered and general health can be improved by losing weight through a mix of diet and exercise.

Take Your Medicine

To treat high cholesterol levels, medication may be required in some circumstances. Low LDL cholesterol levels can minimise the risk of heart disease and stroke as well as reduce the need for statins (a class of medication). It is crucial to remember that medicine should not be taken in place of lifestyle changes but rather in addition to them.

Additionally, it’s critical to seek medical advice before beginning any cholesterol-lowering medicines. Based on the patient’s needs and medical history, doctors may assist in choosing the right drug and dosage.

When to see a doctor?

Our Indian setup and mindset is such that until our health deteriorates to the worst, we do not spend on health especially when it comes to regularly seeing a doctor. We have many examples around us when we meet friends or family. The weird reaction is why need to see a doctor if we do not have any health issues. But when you study the people of advanced countries they are aware of their health and they start following up with doctors as soon as they reach in their 30’s. 

So it is not just high cholesterol or any other complication in the body, one must make the habit of following a doctor once we enter our 20’s. You must not avoid it if you feel uncomfortable, heavy, indigestion, or have any kind of health-related alarming symptoms.

Conclusion

The risk of heart disease and stroke can increase with high cholesterol levels. But if necessary, a mix of dietary adjustments and medication can be used to control it. Manage high cholesterol levels with

  1. Following a heart-healthy diet.
  2. Consistent exercises.
  3. Stopping smoking. 
  4. Lowering weight.
  5. Prescription medication.
  6. Regular follow-ups with your doctor.

The optimum method for controlling high cholesterol levels should be determined in collaboration with a healthcare expert. People can improve their general health and lower their risk of heart disease and stroke by taking action to control high cholesterol levels.

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