Cholesterol is a lipid substance that is present in all the cells of the body. It is essential for the production of some hormones and vitamin D. The liver produces some particles called lipoproteins to help travel cholesterol through the blood. They also carry another type of lipids called triglycerides through the bloodstream.
There are two major types of lipoprotein HDL (high density lipoprotein) and LDL (low density lipoprotein).If the blood carry a high quantity of LDL fat in the long term some complications might occur. It is important to check your cholesterol levels on a regular basis and to acknowledge what levels are recommended for your age.
The most common causes of high lipid levels are related to unhealthy eating habits, smoking and lack of physical activity. There are also causes related to genetic conditions, age, race and weight. This article illustrates the difference between good and bad cholesterol, triglycerides functions, causes and remedies and how to prevent and lower bad fat naturally.
Differences between good and bad cholesterol
Hdl High-density lipoprotein is defined like “good cholesterol” because, it help the body to remove LDL fat from the liver and prevent plaques from develop in the arteries.
Ldl Low-density lipoprotein is defined as “bad cholesterol” because it can deposit into the wall of the arteries reducing blood flow and in the worst cases cause heart attack or stroke.
Triglycerides are a different type of lipids used by the body as a source of energy. When your body stores more calories than those used they are converted into triglycerides. Triglycerides are also helped by the lipoproteins to circulate in the blood streams.
How can cholesterol can be diagnosed
There are no symptoms to alert if you have high lipids in your blood. The best way to measure it is to do a blood test and depending on your age, family history and risk factors, decide how often you should repeat them.
General advises for people who are 19 years old or younger the first test should be done between 9 and 12 years old or even earlier if there is a family history related to LDL.
Men and women aged between 45 and 65 should do it every 1 to two years.
What causes high cholesterol
Lifestyle factors can contribute to develop high fat like physical inactivity, smoking and also a diet which is rich in saturated and trans fats. Genetic also plays a role part in how your body process cholesterol and fat in brief, if your parents have high cholesterol big chances are that you might have it too.
Other health conditions like diabetes and hypothyroidism (thyroid dysfunction) can contribute to increase high fat concentration and other complications.
Consequences of high cholesterol
If untreated in the long term LDL can cause many healthy issues, one in particular called atherosclerosis which is when a great amount of plaque narrow the wall of the arteries. Plaques in your veins can cause a blood cloth which if become larger in time can cause a stroke and peripheral arterial disease.
High fat can also create a bile imbalance, angina (chest pain), hearth attack and chronic kidney disease.
How to lower cholesterol
The best way to reduce LDL is to change your lifestyle of course which means diet, quit smoking, physical activity and more. In some cases a doctor might prescribe some medication or refer you to a specialist.
Diet is a key element to reduce bad fat levels, some basic advises to eat more healthy food are:
- To opt for whole grains, vegetables and high- fiber food.
- To consume lean types of proteins like chicken, fish and legumes.
- Avoid fast food and fried aliments opting instead for broiled, baked or steam choices.
- Avoid processed food with palm, cocoa or coconut oil.
- Eat with moderation some type of baked food like muffins, pizza or cookies.
- Be cautious with red meat, egg yolks or dairy products with a huge amount of fat.
- Avoid deep-fried food like chips, fried chicken and fish.
- Eating food rich of Omega 3 like salmon, mackerel, sardines or walnuts, almond and avocados can help the body to lower your LDL levels (bad cholesterol) on your blood.
Natural remedies to lower blood cholesterol
In some cases you might also you can reduce LDL levels using herbal and nutritional supplements. Some might include:
- red yeast rice
- Oat bran found in
- ground flax seed
- grapefruit juice
Evidence of supporting this advise is much required even if some studies have also proved that fenugreek seeds and leaves, yarrow and holy basil might also help to reduce high lipids.
It is recommended to consult your doctor before taking any natural nutritional supplement as they also might interact with some medication you are taking.
Cholesterol levels chart
Cholesterol and gender
Generally women have good levels of LDL because the estrogen hormone helps to raise HDL levels. Once it comes menopause triglycerides levels start to increase that is why is it important to maintain also as women approach it, to keep a healthy weight and diet.
Children and cholesterol
Children with a family history of any form of coronary disease should have their cholesterol checked.
Hardening of the arteries is a process that can start in childhood and that can play a crucial role in the development of future pathologies. Healthy associations also recommend children should maintain active physical activity, and healthy low fat diet with a lot of fruits and vegetables.
In some cases the doctor might prescribe some medications to lower your LDL levels. statins are the most common treatment to block the liver to produce more cholesterol (lipitor, crestor ,zocor, lescor). Other medications are also prescribed like niacin or ezetimibe or a combination of drugs that can decrease the body absorption of cholesterol from food and also to reduce the fat production of from the liver.
LDL can be preventable and treatable as a combination of regular exercise, healthy diet and good habits can lower your LDL in the blood. Smoking is on of the main causes of hearth diseases. Checking also your fat levels in your blood is very important as you won’t have any symptoms if your bad cholesterol is high.
I hope this article can help you to understand more about Cholesterol and the way to monitor and lower it if need it, please share a comment if you wish and see you soon!