Things you need to know about high cholesterol
What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a waxy fat-like substance that your body produces naturally mostly in your blood and liver. Though high cholesterol risks your life your body cannot function without it, as it is important for building healthy cells.
You need cholesterol for producing hormones like estrogens, testosterone and it is the key ingredient in cortisol, which helps control inflammation. Without cholesterol, you cannot make vitamin D from sunlight. The best part is your body makes all the cholesterol you need on its own. You either get high cholesterol by inheritance or by unhealthy choices like foods that contain saturated and trans fats. Too much of cholesterol causes plaque to build up in your arteries making it harder for your heart to pump blood to your body. Plague can also cause blood clots to form which can lead to heart attack or stock. Therefore, it is very important to keep your cholesterol healthy and balanced.
Types of cholesterol
Since your body needs good cholesterol to function it is important to know the difference between good and bad cholesterol. The two big components are called LDL and HDL
- Low-density lipoprotein (LDL): LDL travels through your bloodstream delivering cholesterol to the cells that need it. If your body had too much of LDL, it can build up in the walls of your arteries. LDL and other substances in your artery wall form a fatty deposit called plaque and over time, plaque narrows down the artery reducing the blood flow. LDL carries the cholesterol into the plague, hence it’s called the bad cholesterol.
- High-density lipoprotein (HDL): Your liver produces the HDL also known as the good cholesterol. It helps remove excess cholesterol from cells, tissues and from a plague in your blood vessels. HDL returns the excess cholesterol to your liver, which removes it from your body.
Causes of high cholesterol:
- Lifestyle: Unhealthy eating habits like fast food and fried food and food rich in sugar are primary causes of high cholesterol levels. Lack of physical activity leads to gain in weight and being overweight tends to increase the cholesterol levels. Intake of alcohol and smoking habits are also causes of high cholesterol.
- Medical conditions: Diabetes tends to increase LDL that can further increase Total cholesterol. Hyperthyroidism slows down the body’s ability to process cholesterol, which causes high levels of cholesterol. Certain liver diseases can cause inadequate liver functioning, resulting an increase in cholesterol levels.
- Uncontrollable factors: Although you are not facing any of the above-mentioned problems your body can still produce more cholesterol with increasing age. Having a family history of high cholesterol can gradually catch up with you.
Signs of high cholesterol levels:
- Frequent tingling: If you get a frequent tingling sensation in your hands and feet, it means that it is a sign of low blood circulation. This occurs due to high levels of cholesterol in the blood. The tingling sensation is the implication of disfluencies blood flow in certain parts of the body.
- Headaches: Headaches are the most common in people with hypertension. This is a very dangerous condition because the possibility of blood pressure is very high. Blood flow that too tight for the arteries can cause blood vessels to leak or rupture, this can cause a huge damage to the blood vessels in the brain. Headaches can also be a sign of stroke that becomes the initial indication of a newly emerging attack.
- Left chest pain: The left side of the chest is related to the heart. When the blood vessels around the heart face blockage, it can cause much pain as if one has been pierced. The discomfort and agony could go up to the chest and even the neck. This could be a warning sign that one’s blood cholesterol levels could be too much.
- Coldness extremities: If you feel that your extremities are getting cold for no reason it could relate to poor blood flow. If you notice unusual coldness on one foot or hand and not in the other, it is very important to bring it up to the doctor. Cold feet can be due to peripheral arterial disease.
Food to lower cholesterol:
- Salmon: Offering protection against high cholesterol is the presence of the omega 3 fatty acids DHA and EPA that are present herein. These fatty acids help decrease the triglycerides levels and augment the good HDL cholesterol, in turn decreasing the risks of heart disease. What’s more, salmon also contains less saturated fat as well as cholesterol.
- Orange juice: Sweet, tangy, and juicy oranges are another super-food that has cholesterol-lowering properties. It improves blood lipid profiles in people who have hypercholesterolemia. This happens due to the presence vitamin C in oranges.
- Almonds: The heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, fiber, and almonds help raise the good HDL cholesterol and reduce the bad LDL levels.
- Oatmeal: Having a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast daily is an easy way to lower your high cholesterol levels. The high soluble fiber content in oatmeal helps lower LDL.