Doctors call cholesterol ‘the gentle killer’ because the desire to eat cake or steak does not cause pain, so the accumulation of harmful substance is often asymptomatic.
There are many ways to maintain cholesterol in normal ranges from a properly chosen diet to a doctor-prescribed medication such as lipostat or any other belongs to a group of medicines called statins.
When the concentration of cholesterol rises, atherosclerotic plaques form in the body, which lead to cardiovascular and other health problems.
Elevated blood cholesterol is indicated by a number of non-specific signs:
- Chest and joint pain
- Cardiac abnormalities. Coronary artery disease is a consequence of narrowing of the coronary arteries
- Fat granulomas, a painful inflammation of the skin
- Appearance of clots when there is significant bleeding
- Yellow circles under the eyes
These are just the main signs that should be examined when detected. Signs of the disease often appear only when cholesterol levels have already become critical.
Types of cholesterol and ways to low it
Cholesterol is necessary for normal functioning of the body – it is present in all cells, and not only comes with food, but is also produced by the liver. However, it is important that the different types of “good” cholesterol (HDL) and “bad” cholesterol (LDL) are in balance.
- Synthesis of bile acids
- Hormone production
- Formation and maintenance of cell membranes
- Insulation of nerve fibres
- Vitamin D production
- Cholesterol is a fat-like substance; its main carrier in the blood is lipoproteins. There are different types of lipoproteins.
Cholesterol can be both dangerous and good for your health, it depends on which one prevails in the body.
If your blood levels of low-density lipoproteins are higher than normal, you should consult a doctor immediately! Let’s check some ways to low your cholesterol level:
Diet is the easiest way to lower cholesterol. Doctors recommend:
- Avoid eggs on your plate.
- Eat low-fat milk and cottage cheese.
- No fat and no fat meat.
- Beans, oats, corn, fruits and vegetables, all foods that contain pectin are greeted.
- Eat nuts and berries.
Give up bad habits – the use of alcohol and smoking.
Be physically active – exercise and physical activity greatly reduce cholesterol. It doesn’t necessary to do some hard physical training. You can walk, run or swim.
Medications – there are many medications that lower blood cholesterol. However, you should only take them after consulting your doctor.
Despite the variety of simple methods to reduce your levels of ‘bad cholesterol‘, do not self-medicate. Diet and medicines should be chosen for you individually. Only a doctor will approach this question professionally.
Why is high cholesterol dangerous?
High cholesterol concentrations over a long period of time create the conditions for the formation of severe pathologies:
- Coronary heart disease, caused by difficulty in oxygenating the blood
- Vascular thrombosis
- Cerebral stroke
- Myocardial infarction
- Kidney and liver failure
- Alzheimer’s disease
Excessive cholesterol provokes the development of hypertension. Damage to the walls of blood vessels creates the risk of developing leg diseases – varicose veins, thrombophlebitis.
Diabetes mellitus is accompanied by dyslipidemia – a change in the proportions of different types of lipoproteins. As a result, diabetics have an increased chance of getting heart and vascular disease.
As we can see, high cholesterol significantly increases the chances of serious vascular diseases, it can literally kill a person, so our main task is to avoid significant fluctuations.
12 rules if your cholesterol level is high
A healthy diet will help you lower your blood cholesterol levels, delay the development of atherosclerosis, and significantly reduce your chances of heart attacks and strokes. Your blood vessels will stay ‘clean’ and healthy for longer.
- Try to use at least 20 types of food throughout the day. You will provide your body with all the nutrients it needs.
- Replace meat with fish, legumes (beans, lentils, peas) and poultry. Give preference to lean meats, remove fat from meat and skin from chicken. Portions of meat, fish or poultry should be small (90–100 grams in a cooked form), and red meat (beef, mutton, pork) should be cooked less than two times a week. Sausages, sausages, smoked meats, hamburgers, hot dogs should be excluded.
- When cooking, use vegetable oils: linseed, soybean, corn, olive, sunflower.
- It is recommended to consume no more than 2–3 egg yolks per week (taking into account the eggs used in cooking). Limit the consumption of by-products.
- Limit confectionery, ice cream.
- Give preference to low-fat dairy products: yogurt, kefir up to 1% fat, 0-4% cottage cheese, white cheese.
- Control your weight.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables (at least 400 g per day), not including potatoes. Fruits and vegetables contain B vitamins, C, minerals: magnesium, potassium, calcium, and fiber, which removes cholesterol.
- Do not forget porridges and wholemeal bread (but without butter). Walnuts, almonds, dried fruits are useful, you can with porridge.
- Include in your diet seafood: mussels, scallops, clams (but not shrimp), seaweed.
- Steam, boil, and bake foods. Reduce the addition of oils, salt, and sugar.
- Give preference to green tea. Alcohol: not more than 20 ml per day in terms of “pure” alcohol (40 ml of vodka or 330 ml of beer) for men, half as much for women. If you already have any cardiovascular disease (arrhythmia, high blood pressure, angina, etc.), alcohol consumption should be limited or excluded.
If you have no abnormalities, it is recommended to be checked for excess cholesterol once a year (after 40 years of age). For young people, it is enough to have a blood test once every 2–3 years. An integrated approach of the mentioned ways of lowering cholesterol (Physical activity, diet and consultation on individual medicines) definitely give you results if you discipline yourself.
Robert Haynes did his degree in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. He is interested in mental health and well-being.