Tuesday, 25 February 2014

The Role of HDL Cholesterol in Protecting The Heart

Your cholesterol levels play an important role in determining your heart health. However, not all the cholesterol level in the body is entirely bad for your heart?

There are mainly two types of cholesterol; 

HDL – High density lipoprotein is a healthy cholesterol that clears the excess fat from your blood and
protects you from heart attack, Also known as good cholesterol, its good to have the required quantity of this in blood. The more, the better.
HDL and LDL are the two main types of cholesterols
LDL – Low density lipoprotein is bad cholesterol that clogs the  arteries. The lesser, the better.

Triglycerides is another type which also contributes in total cholesterol levels.

Why HDL is known as good cholesterol and how does it help the heart?

  • HDL acts as a cholesterol scavenger; it removes away the excess cholesterol in the blood and takes it back to the liver where it is broken down.
  • As per National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP), high HDL levels seem to protect against the plaque formation in the artery walls. This process is called atherogenesis.
Ideal HDL cholesterol levels

Cholesterol levels are measured in milligrams (mg) of cholesterol per deciliter (dL) of blood or millimoles (mmol) per liter (L).
  • HDL cholesterol levels greater than 60 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) are high. That is good for heart.
  • HDL cholesterol levels less than 40 mg/dL are low. That is not good for heart.

Ways to Improve HDL cholesterol

Aerobic exercises – Activities like walking, jogging, and cycling help in increasing the HDL cholesterol level. These exercises increase your heart rate. Ideally, 30 – 60 minutes of such exercise will help reduce bad cholesterol levels.

Reducing weight is an important part in maintaining cholesterol levels
Healthy weight – Obesity leads to an increase LDL levels and causes lowering of HDL level, this leads to a variety of heart risks. Maintaining an ideal weight help increase good cholesterol level.

Quit smoking – Tobacco smoking decreases HDL levels, Quitting smoking naturally leads to an increase  in the good cholesterol level.

Alcohol consumption – Drinking certain amount of alcohol is beneficial for your heart. The alcohol consumption stimulates the HDL level in the body. For example, red wine along with increasing HDL also reduces blood sugar & control blood pressure.

Diet – Foods that help increase HDL levels are fruits like prunes & apples, legumes & vegetables that contain soluble fibers that raise the good cholesterol level and lower bad cholesterol level.
  • Nuts – Almonds, Peanuts, Pistachios & Hazelnuts
  • Seafood – Fish like salmon, mackerel and tuna contain omega fatty acids that are beneficial for heart health.
  • Oils – Olive oil is high in unsaturated fats and thus increases your HDL
  • Oatmeal – It is an excellent source of soluble fiber that increases the HDL level and reduces LDL
Elimination of trans fatty acids – Hydrogenated fats or transfats not only reduce the HDL levels but also increase the LDL levels and lead to an increase in the blood pressure too. However eliminating foods that contain hydrogenated fats may not be easy task as they are a part of majority of our favorite foods.

Apart from the above, the drug Crestor is also used to lower cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood, thus lowering the risk of stroke, heart attack and other heart complications. You can visit www.planetdrugsdirect.com/drugs/crestor for more information.

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