Cholesterol is present in everyone. A person who is said to be suffering from cholesterol problems means his arteries are blocking up. This level of blockage often increases with age. A person who crosses 20 years of his age should get screened for cholesterol levels.
The lipoprotein that contains cholesterol can be further divided into three major categories:
- LDL (Low-Density lipoprotein cholesterol)
- HDL (High-Density lipoprotein cholesterol)
LDL is also termed as bad cholesterol because of their chemical included in them. As cholesterol circulates through the blood, it leaves deposits on the artery walls. The White Blood Cells try to combat this LDL and in the process convert it to a toxic chemical substance. A person whose blood vessels harden or are narrowed, he would suffer from a disease known as atherosclerosis. Later on, he may be prone to heart attacks and strokes.
If LDL is bad, HDL is the good cholesterol. It cleans the deposits of LDL wherever it passes through. A person who shows high levels of HDL usually is at a low risk of heart disease. HDL primarily recycles LDL contents in cholesterol by transmitting it to the liver where it is refined.As it cleans the inner walls of arteries, the risk of atherosclerosis is reduced.
One type of fats found in the blood which is used to produce energy is triglycerides. High levels of it can raise problems relating to the heart. Also, it can trigger metabolic syndromes including a high level of sugar, blood pressure, low HDL and too much waist line fat.
What are the normal cholesterol levels?
Cholesterol levels are calculated to see if a person is healthy. The normal levels of cholesterol are
A person at a level more than 200 is prone to heart conditions. To find out the cholesterol ratio, the total cholesterol is divided by HDL level. A score of 50 equals to 1 HDL. . The lower the ratio, the better it is for health.
How to control the cholesterol levels?
It mainly comes from two major sources - body and food. People with family history relating to cholesterol problems may develop it through the genes that are passed on. Others might develop it owing to the eating habits.
The genetically developed cholesterol cannot be rectified as it is present in the genes. The dietary habits may be corrected with immediate effect. A person needs to know how much he has to reduce by if his cholesterol level is more than 240.
One may follow these steps to control the cholesterol levels:
- Eat less of saturated fat products such as meat, eggs and dairy products.
- Eat more of fibrous food such as whole grain bread, cereals, fruits, vegetables, kidney beans and oatmeals.
- Fish is an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids which improves the good levels of cholesterol.
- Multiple health risks can be linked back to obesity. One of them is that obese people may develop high cholesterol levels.Hence, reducing weight helps to reduce LDL, triglycerides and the total cholesterol. With every extra pound lost, HDL increases marginally thus helping to maintain a balance.
- A quick fix of nearly 10% HDL is by quitting smoking. Although it might seem difficult, smoking cessation can improve good cholesterol content in blood.
- Exercising is one of the best ways to lower LDL content. A healthy body needs to be active as well. As majority of people have very tight work schedules, they find it hard to find time to exercise. However it can increase HDL levels within months of regular exercise.
- Herbal remedies such as garlic, fenugreek seeds, holy basil, and artichoke leaf can help in controlling the levels of cholesterol.
- Medication such as Lipitor may be prescribed by your doctor to lower LDL and triglycerides and increase HDL levels in the body.
A combination of diet, exercise, medication and self management can bring the cholesterol levels to a normal level. The information presented here does not substitute the expertise of a medical practitioner so always consult the doctor before starting any of the control methods stated above.