Our body has them all – the Good and the Bad cholesterol. Make no mistake, a higher than normal level of cholesterol is bad for your heart and will lead to heart diseases ultimately. Get acquainted with Cholesterol, and learn how you can battle them to good health.
What Is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a soft, wax-like substance found in our body system including the bloodstream and cells. Our body needs a certain level of Cholesterol for building healthy cells and vital sex hormones like estrogen and testosterone.
How Does Cholesterol Gets Into Our Body?
There are two main sources where cholesterol is derived from:
1. 25% Of Cholesterol Comes From The Food We Eat
We are what we eat! The main sources of Cholesterol are from meat, fish, dairy products and poultry. Animal fats and their organs such as liver contributes the highest levels of cholesterol to our body. After consumption, the intestines take over the digestion of fat, after which they are transported to the liver to be processed into cholesterol.
2. Our Liver Produces 75% of Cholesterol In Our Body
Our body is capable of producing up to 75% of cholesterol. A large capacity is produced by the Liver, while a smaller percentage is produced by the other body cells.
What Is The Difference Between Good And Bad Cholesterol
The Cholesterol are being carried around the body and into our blood by lipoprotein, a combination of lipids (fats) and proteins. Lipoproteins are classified into two categories.
Low-density Lipoprotein (LDL) Cholesterol
Our body can produce them naturally, or we genetically inherit them from our parents or grandparents. When we consumed food that are high in saturated or trans fat, the amount of LDL Cholesterol raises dramatically. Also known as “BAD Cholesterol”, LDL Cholesterol transport fats from our liver to other parts of the body.
When the level of LDL Cholesterol increases, our coronary arteries may get clogged up thus preventing oxygen and nutrients from reaching our heart. In the long term, cholesterol built-up formed plague and narrowed our arteries. This condition, known as Atherosclerosis may caused us to suffer from a heart attack.
High-density Lipoprotein (HDL) Cholesterol
HDL Cholesterol is called the “GOOD Cholesterol” because it helps to transport excess cholesterol from the cells in our blood to the liver for purging.
A high level of HDL Cholesterol helps lower our risk of getting coronary artery diseases as it prevents fat from building up on the walls of our heart arteries.
Controllable Risk Factors
Overweight & Obesity
Excessive fats in the body almost always equate to a high level of cholesterol. If you are overweight, start an exercise regime to lose weight and maintain a BMI of below 24 consistently. If you are obese, seek the help of health professionals to combat your weight problems.
Keep The Fats Off Food
Limit food high in saturated and trans fats. In general, cut down on red meats and eat more fruits and vegetables.
Limit Alcohol Intake
Although a small consumption of alcohol may increase your Good Cholesterol, it does nothing to lower your Bad Cholesterol. Thus, alcohol should not be used as a means to control your cholesterol levels.
Snub The Cigarettes
Time and again, the effects of smoking has been proven to increase the bad cholesterol. It’s time to snub out.
Get Out Of That Couch
Stop being a couch potato. Instead of watching TV excessively, get active and start an exercise regime. Get 30-45 minutes of exercise for 3-5 times weekly.
Uncontrollable Risk Factors
This fact cannot be altered but you can make some lifestyle changes to delay the onset. Pick up a sport and put efforts in managing the controllable risk factors.
From the start of menopause, a woman’s LDL Cholesterol level in her body raises naturally.
Our cholesterol level increases as we aged. Men over 45 years old and women above 55 years old have higher risk of high cholesterol.
If you already have high cholesterol, be sure to take the prescribed medication to maintain it at the normal level, and have your physician review the levels on a regular basis.
You may have high Cholesterol for many years without any symptoms, visit a doctor if you have any reasons to suspect. All that’s required is a simple lipoprotein profile blood test after a 9-12 hours fast for accuracy. Be in control of your cholesterol, for heart’s sake,