Individuals with high cholesterol are prone to heart disease, atherosclerosis, and stroke. Cholesterol levels can be considered to be within a healthy range when the levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, also known as “good” cholesterol are high in the body. When the body has high levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, also known as “bad” cholesterol, it leads to heart problems.
Cholesterol has different types, out of which three are considered the main types, that include HDL or good cholesterol, LDL or bad cholesterol, and triglycerides. It becomes problematic when the levels of HDL fall much lower than necessary.
High cholesterol is a rise in the levels of LDL and other forms of cholesterol that are harmful to your health. When you have adequate levels of HDL in your body, then it will prevent the health risk. It does so by eliminating the surplus amounts of LDL along with other forms of harmful cholesterol.
Although cholesterol is essential for carrying out essential functions in the body. It is necessary for metabolic functions in the body. Besides, cholesterol also aids in cell building, producing vitamin D, and synthesis of vital hormones in the body. But when the LDL exceeds more than the necessary amounts, it can potentiate the risk of vascular disorders, heart attack, stroke, and atherosclerosis.
Damaging impacts of high cholesterol
Cholesterol is a waxy substance that is produced by your liver. The liver makes all types of cholesterol that your body needs. It then gets released into the bloodstream, which aids in building healthy cells and producing vitamins, and making several essential hormones.
Cholesterol is tiny spherical particles that can also be introduced into the body through foods that you consume. The liver converts the saturated or trans fat present in the food particles into cholesterol. This is why one must avoid consuming foods that are rich in saturated fats.
When there is a drop in HDL or good cholesterol in the bloodstream, the levels of LDL and other cholesterol increase steeply. This happens because HDL cholesterol helps in reducing the levels of harmful cholesterols by getting them thrown out of the body by taking them again to the liver where they were produced. The liver removes them from the body.
Low Levels Of HDL In The Blood
However, when there are low levels of HDL in the blood, it can cause a surge of LDL and other forms of cholesterol in the body. Since cholesterol is a waxy substance, the tiny spherical particles of bad cholesterol stick to the inner linings of the blood vessels, and gradually as more particles travel in the bloodstream get deposited onto the walls of the blood vessels.
The deposition of cholesterol leads to plaque formation in the vascular passages. Which grows thicker and thicker and causes the narrowing of the vascular passages. Plaque accumulation further causes blockages in the blood vessels and hinders the flow of blood through them. The arterial plaque may even burst sometimes, which can cause clot formation.
When the blood is not able to pass through the vascular passages due to clogging, the heart will have to apply enormous pressure by pumping the blood with a greater force than usual. Thus, the plaque deposits increase the risk of heart damage.
Ways to fight cholesterol
To prevent the accumulation of stubborn plaque, you need to increase the levels of HDL cholesterol in your body. This can be done in the following ways:
Staying physically fit and active will help you in eliminating your risk of developing health problems due to an increase in cholesterol levels. When you exercise, you engage every muscle of your body and your heart rate increases along with blood circulation. Exercising helps the blood to reach every organ of your body.
Doing some aerobic exercises regularly will cause an increase in the levels of HDL cholesterol in your body. You can perform some aerobic exercises as simple as walking, brisk walking, running, jogging, cycling, and swimming.
An increase in the levels of LDL and triglycerides potentiates the risk of heart ailments, but exercise boosts HDL levels, which reduces these bad cholesterols and gets them thrown out of your body. Thus, aerobic exercises must be performed regularly, which will help you in managing your cholesterol levels.
Eating a diet which is free from saturated fats or trans fat and rich in monosaturated fats can help you in lowering your LDL levels. Try to consume minimally processed foods. Include a lot of vegetables, leafy greens, and fruits such as citrus fruits, strawberries, grapes, apples, etc. in your diet.
Usually, foods that are processed meat, baked products like cakes, biscuits, cookies, pastries, etc., and whole-fat dairy products are loaded with high amounts of saturated fats or trans fat. You must limit their consumption, or it is even better if you stop consuming them. Moreover, use vegetable oils like olive oils, canola oil, and sunflower seed oil, to keep your heart healthy. Lastly, stay away from junk, fried, and processed food.
Get fit, lose those extra pounds
Obesity and weight gain are the primary causes of high cholesterol. With the help of regular fitness exercises and a clean diet, you can achieve a healthy weight. Do not sit in one place for too long, keep moving. Also, try to control your food cravings, and stick to a clean and nutritious diet.
No smoking, no drinking!
Alcohol and smoking have a bad effect on your lifestyle. These habits deteriorate an individual’s quality of life. Smoking can worsen cholesterol levels, as it makes the LDL particles stickier which causes them to get easily deposited in the arterial walls. Alcohol does not directly affect cholesterol, but it does increase your blood pressure, which can be a contributor to high cholesterol. So, you need to give up these habits to lower your cholesterol levels.