Table of Contents
The crucial facts about high cholesterol you need to be aware of
There is an important aspect about cholesterol everybody needs to understand. It is not automatically bad. Contrary to popular belief, it is a substance we need for our organisms to function properly on a daily basis.
For many people, the word association high cholesterol is what triggers their precaution and for good reasons. However, there are some that tend to extend this wary attitude towards cholesterol itself.
But this is a misrepresentation because the existence of the substance in our organisms is essential. It is the high cholesterol levels we need to be careful about and understanding this aspect is crucial if we are to have a good grasp of what is good for us and what isn’t.
In our bodies, this important substance is responsible for 4 essential processes:
- Improves the cellular formation
- Contributes to the creation of digestive acids in the stomach
- It plays a major role in the production of vitamin D in the body
- It serves as a catalyst in the manufacturing of different hormones our organism needs.
Aside from this, here are some important facts about this subject, that you may or may not have known, but you need to keep in mind:
- It is a natural substance
Aside from the fact that our own bodies produce it, it can also be extracted from food, more specifically from animal-derived products.
- High cholesterol levels can be controlled
Although it can increase in level due to certain diseases and health affections, high cholesterol levels are usually caused by our lifestyle choices, which is to say we are responsible for our state of health.
- The high cholesterol problems may be inherited
It is actually an affection that could be transferred through genetic inheritance, which means that the health problems could be eventually triggered by the inherited predisposition, pretty much regardless of the lifestyle choices.
- There are no symptoms announcing the health problems
This is what makes it so dangerous in the first place and many people only notice that they have a problem either during a random health check or when the situation has already worsened enough that it becomes a medical emergency.
- It increases the risk of heart attack
Studies have shown that a large portion of those suffering from heart attacks also had high cholesterol levels and it has been determined that it was one of the co-factors in the incident.
What can throw us off balance?
In other words, we are going to talk about the causes, while completely skipping the symptoms section. Why? Because, as we have mentioned before, there are no symptoms of high cholesterol levels, making the affection that much more dangerous.
Which means we need to really pay attention to the causes that may contribute to its appearance in the first place.
Overall, there are 2 types of causes: controllable and uncontrollable.
- High cholesterol controllable causes
These refer to our own lifestyle choices, among other things, which can be controlled and influenced according to our own will. Meaning that we can take measures to prevent them.
In this regard, our sedentary lifestyles could drastically increase the risk of contracting the health affection, because the lack of regular physical activity has an important toll on the evolution of the problem.
Aside from this, our daily eating habits also play a major role in determining the risk we are being subjected to. This is why we need to change our diets consistently, limiting our consumption of animal foods, more precisely egg yolks, cheese, and red meat, among others.
Also, we should limit the intake of saturated fats and trans ones, usually found in baked products and overcooked and processed aliments.
As a combination of the lack of physical exercise and poor eating habits, obesity is another modifiable high cholesterol cause, due to elevated levels of LDL (Low-Density Lipoprotein, also known as “bad cholesterol, as opposed to HDL, which is the “good cholesterol”). And, as you can imagine, we can control our weight, regardless of how hard it could be in some cases.
- High cholesterol uncontrollable causes
Now, by uncontrollable we mean you have not directly caused the problem yourself, but it appeared as a result of certain factors that are out of your ability to control them.
In this regard, high cholesterol levels may be triggered by affections like diabetes, health problems with the liver, kidneys or the thyroid gland and even various drugs that may be used to treat other conditions, like corticosteroids or anabolic ones.
Another high cholesterol uncontrollable cause is the genetic inheritance, which does not necessarily trigger the affection itself, but it predisposes you to it.
Treatment and prevention
The treatment of the high cholesterol levels related affections, as well as the problem itself, encompasses several methods, but before that you need to know exactly what values determine whether you have a problem or not.
According to specialists, the optimal levels of LDL cholesterol should be placed bellow 100mg/dL, with every unit over 130 mg being too high, and every unit over 190 mg being critically high. The HDL one should be placed below 40 mg, but no more than 60 mg, for safety measures, and if we are talking about total cholesterol value, this has to be ideally placed under 200mg/dL.
The situation will become dangerous when it goes over 240 mg, so be wary if the numbers rather point in that direction.
Regarding the treatment and prevention methods in the case of high cholesterol levels, the situation is somewhat pretty clear. There are two types of measures to be taken, according to the types of causes leading to the problem in the first place:
- Lifestyle changes
This is where your actions count because you can keep the high cholesterol levels under strict control, as long as you know the course of action. So there are several things you can do in order to prevent the problems from ever appear in the first place.
First and foremost, quit all the bad habits you are used to, like smoking. Aside from clothing your veins and directly contributing to the rise of the LDL cholesterol, it will also cause other health problems as well.
Also, quit your sedentary lifestyle and use your spare time to take care of your body. Go for some aerobic or even weight lifting and build up some physical condition for yourself.
It is a great method of improving the quality of your life and staying away from the high cholesterol levels at the end of the day. It will also help you gain control over your overall weight and stay away from any obesity-related health risks.
As a final measure, improve your eating diets considerably. Stay away from saturated fats, include vegetables and fruits at least twice a day and consume more fibers.
Even though these measures can only control and prevent the high cholesterol levels in a relatively small measure, it is by working in tandem that they make their influence known.
- Drug therapies
Hypercholesterolemia is the affection that it is being triggered by the gene predisposition and you have little to no control over its emergence. However, you can take measures to make sure the high cholesterol levels are being held in place in a professional and safely manner.
The procedure is being called the lipid-lowering therapy and it works great when combined with a healthier lifestyle.
The lipid-lowering therapy consists in administering drugs like statins, but only after a thorough examination, to see whether there is any heart problem that could interfere with the medication itself.
Among the drugs that are being currently used to lower the high cholesterol levels we need to mention: fluvastatin, lovastatin, atorvastatin, simvastatin, rosuvastatin calcium, inhibitors, and niacin, just to name a few.
However, the persons suffering from hypercholesterolemia represent the minority. The large majority of the people are those who manifest high cholesterol levels due to their lifestyle choices and they are part of the lucky ones because they have control over their lives.
If you are among them, you need to take measures while you can, because time is short and you may end up in the point of no return pretty fast. Before ending up in that situation, take the matters into your own hands.