High Cholesterol

High Cholesterol–Facts about Fats

The term cholesterol confuses a lot of people in terms of its nutritional value. Most people think that cholesterol in itself is bad but this is a big misconception. Cholesterol is actually needed by the body to function properly. You can find this fatlike substance in cell membranes everywhere in the body. It is also needed for hormone production as well as bile acid production which useful for breaking down fat. As such, only a low amount of cholesterol is needed in the blood to meet these functions. Thus, if you take in a bigger amount of what is ideally needed, the excess of which can be deposited in arteries which causes the blood pathways to be blocked or narrowed down.

Having high cholesterol levels is a major contributor to coronary heart disease. The narrowing of arteries supplying nutrients to the heart caused by the deposited fats on its wall can result to angina, clot formation, and even a heart attack. To prevent these conditions from developing, one is recommended to get cholesterol tests ranging from simple blood tests to complete lipid profiles once every five years.

High cholesterol is a condition that a lot of Americans face today. The typical diet of an average American is high in saturated fats which increase LDL levels, also known as the bad cholesterol. Aside from saturated fats, trans fat found in processed foods and fast foods can increase LDL levels.

But the kind of food being eaten is not the only contributor to this condition because genetic factors affect the likelihood of one developing high cholesterol. Gender and age are other factors for this condition since men younger than 55 and women beyond that age are at a risk of developing it. Studies also show that stress can increase cholesterol levels in the long-term.

One thing about high cholesterol is that no symptoms are felt and is only discovered through routine screening tests called lipid panel and lipoprotein profile. Since high cholesterol is a risk factor in developing heart disease, your doctor will inform you of the overall risk as well as the treatment options that are available for your condition. You have to be aware that there are risk factors you cannot control such as age and genetics. Thus, you have to focus more of your efforts to the risk factors which you can do something about namely bad and good cholesterol levels, obesity, physical inactivity, and smoking.

To combat high cholesterol and reduce the risk of developing heart disease, you should follow a low fat diet, increase your physical activity, and lose weight. A vegetarian diet is recommended for those afflicted with this condition, however, the reality of going on one is very minimal as shown in the eating patterns of people today. For a more serious condition, doctors can prescribe medicine to keep one’s cholesterol levels in check.

If you want to prevent the development of high cholesterol and lessen the risk of coronary heart disease, you should also do your part. Aside from regular medical advice, personally watch your diet. Food that lower cholesterol levels include whole wheat breads, cereals, rice, grains, fruits, fresh juice, tuna, low fat yogurt, etc. It is important that you take the first step now even if you haven’t been diagnosed with high cholesterol because as always, prevention is better than cure.

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