For many people, when they hear the word ‘cholesterol’ they will likely think the worst. In fact, when it comes to cholesterol, things are not so ‘black and white.’ Cholesterol can be both bad for you and good for you.
What is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a white fatty substance that you need for your body to work normally. While it exists in some foods, the production of cholesterol happens in the body’s liver. It can move around the body in the blood by what are known as lipoproteins. The two main types are:
- High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL).
- Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL).
Of the two proteins, LDL tends to be referred to as ‘Bad Cholesterol.’ It’s bad because it can build up on the walls of the blood vessels, narrowing them and reducing blood flow. HDL is the opposite of LDL in that it’s seen as being ‘Good Cholesterol.’ Unlike LDL it has the reverse effect in that it soaks up excess cholesterol. HDL can remove bad cholesterol from blood vessels.
What are the effects of High Cholesterol?
If our bodies are to work properly, we need healthy levels of cholesterol. If, however, the levels are too high this may not happen. The problem is that there may be no obvious symptoms. That’s why taking action to identify and reduce the level of cholesterol in your body is important. If you don’t, you might find your health is at risk. This might show itself as issues that affect your heart and the blood moving around your body.
There is evidence that high cholesterol levels can have a number of effects on the body. Because of this, a person might be at risk of experiencing one of the following conditions:
- Heart Attack
- Clogging of the arteries
- Mini Stroke
- Peripheral Arterial Disease
We know that cholesterol can build up on the walls of the body’s arteries. Because of this, high cholesterol can be a risk to your health. Elevated levels can impact on your heart, brain and other parts of your body. Another outcome is that there is a danger of a blood clot occurring. This can happen if the cholesterol breaks away from artery walls. The chances of you experiencing coronary heart disease increase as cholesterol levels rise.
How can I reduce my Cholesterol?
The key to bringing down your cholesterol is being able to follow a healthy, balanced diet. With healthy eating, it’s important to reduce the amount of fatty food you eat. One way of doing this is to swap out foods that contain saturated fat. It is better to replace it with things like fruit, vegetables, and whole grain cereals. Diet is one thing that can help you lower your cholesterol.
Another way of reducing your cholesterol includes taking regular exercise. If you’re a smoker then stopping will help.
Bringing together both diet and exercise will help you lower your cholesterol. If this doesn’t work and you are at a high risk of developing heart disease your GP may decide to prescribe medication. You might find that they prescribe you with medication like statins to lower your cholesterol level.