High Cholesterol

What is High Cholesterol?

High cholesterol causes the development of deposits of fat within the blood vessels. This accumulation of fat within the arteries makes it difficult for blood to flow through the blood vessels making it hard for the heart to receive the oxygen rich blood that it requires to function properly and this, in turn, increases the risk of a heart attack.

High cholesterol may also cause an insufficient amount of oxygen rich blood to reach the brain which increases the probability of experiencing a stroke. Studies show that the main cause of high cholesterol stems from consuming foods that are high in cholesterol, trans fats, and saturated fat.

What are the Symptoms of High Cholesterol?

Symptoms are not usually present with high cholesterol and only emergency events such as heart attacks and strokes provide evidence of advanced stages of high cholesterol. It’s recommend that anyone over the age of 20 have their cholesterol levels checked about every five years.

High Cholesterol Causes

Many different factors can contribute to the rise in high blood cholesterol. These include lifestyle factors like alcoholism and smoking, lack of exercise as well as unhealthy diet. Your lifestyle choice can increase your risk of developing high cholesterol in your blood. For instance, foods rich in saturated fats can greatly increase your blood cholesterol levels.

Lack of exercise or physical activity can increase the levels of “bad cholesterol” in your blood (low density lipoprotein, LDL). Obesity can also increase your LDL and triglyceride levels while lowering high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels.

Chronic smoking and alcohol consumption can also increase your cholesterol and triglyceride levels. In addition, people who suffer from certain health conditions like diabetes and hypertension tend to suffer from high cholesterol. Other health conditions that can trigger a rise in cholesterol levels include liver disease, kidney disease and hypothyroidism.

Other high cholesterol risk factors include a family history of early coronary heart disease, age, gender and ethnicity.

How is High Cholesterol Treated?

Treatment for high cholesterol is focused on lowering your LDL (low density lipoprotein) or bad cholesterol to a level that will prevent a heart attack or hardening of the arteries. Changes in diet, the addition of regular physical activity, and weight management are additional tools used in treating high cholesterol. Bile acid sequestrants, statins, nicotine acids, fibric acids, and cholesterol absorption inhibitors are drugs that may also be employed to treat high cholesterol.

High Cholesterol Prevention

A healthy lifestyle can greatly help you prevent or keep your cholesterol levels low while lowering your risk of stroke and heart disease. This involves a healthy diet that incorporates lots of fruits and vegetables, maintaining good weight, limiting alcohol use, quitting smoking and getting enough exercise.

Eat foods that are low in trans-fat, saturated fats and cholesterol. Also, eat foods that are high in fiber and monounsaturated fats. These foods can help prevent or manage high levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides while boosting lipoprotein cholesterol levels.

Regular exercise can help you to maintain a healthy weight while lowering your cholesterol and blood pressure levels. Additionally, exercise can help you keep obesity at bay.

Finally, limit smoking and alcohol consumption. According to studies, men who have more than two drinks per day are at a greater risk of developing high cholesterol. Smoking, on the other hand, damages blood vessels while increasing your risk for cardiovascular infection.