Cholesterol: Types, Causes and how to manage it
What is cholesterol?Cholesterol is an organic lipid molecule that is essential and found in all animal cells because it is found in all animal cell membranes. Apart from that, your body needs cholesterol for making hormones, vitamin D, and in digesting your food.
The amount of cholesterol needed for regular functioning is produced naturally by your body. It is also found in foods such as egg yolk, meat, and cheese. If the amount of cholesterol in your body is in excess, it combines with other elements in your blood and forms plaque. Plaque sticks to the walls of your arteries and this buildup can lead to coronary artery diseases, narrowing your arteries or blocking them.
Types of cholesterolThere are several types of cholesterol and they are:
- High-density lipoprotein (HDL)
- Low-density lipoprotein (LDL)
- Intermediate-density lipoprotein (IDL)
- Very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL)
The 2 major types of cholesterols are HDL and LDL. HDL is called good cholesterol because it carries cholesterol from other parts of your body back to the liver. It is then removed from your body as waste. LDL, on the other hand, is called bad cholesterol because it leads to an increase in the buildup of plaque in your arteries.
What causes high cholesterol?There are several risk factors that cause high levels of cholesterol in your bloodstream. They include:
- Unhealthy diet: particularly when you consume high amounts of saturated and trans fats.
- Obesity: A body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher puts you at risk of high cholesterol levels.
- High visceral fat: Even thin people can sometimes have very high levels of visceral fat which is a risk factor for cholesterol
- Lack of exercise: Exercise helps boost the amount of HDL in your body
- Smoking: Smoking cigarettes damages your arteries, making them more susceptible to fatty deposits.
- Diabetes: High blood sugar levels also lead to higher LDL and lower HDL in your body.
How do I manage high cholesterol?
- Balanced diet: The first step to lowering your blood cholesterol levels is following a healthy and balanced diet. A diet that has low amounts of saturated and trans fats is bound to be beneficial for you.
- Regular exercise: Achieving the recommended amount of exercise every week is something you should do to reduce the levels of cholesterol in your body.
- Quit smoking: If you are someone who is addicted to smoking, you have another reason to quit it right away. Smoking is another major risk factor for high blood cholesterol.
- Scale down: If you’re overweight, shedding 5-10 pounds can significantly lower your body’s cholesterol levels.
- Eat more fiber: Increase your intake of fiber slowly; it helps you feel fuller for longer and also reduces the LDL in your body.
- Relax: Stress also contributes to high levels of cholesterol in the body regardless of whether the person has any of the other risk factors or not. Thus, relaxation techniques such as meditation, art or music therapy, etc are good options to release stress.
- Laugh it away: Laughter is said to be the best medicine and with good reason. It increases the production of HDL in the body and helps you feel better.
- Switch red meat with fish: Fish has less amount of cholesterol and many other benefits such as omega-3 fatty acids which are really good for your heart’s health too.
There are many ways to control and lower high cholesterol levels without the use of medicines if need be. However, if the cholesterol is too high, your doctor may recommend some medicines to aid in the process. If you’re battling high cholesterol, visit our website to find your nearest homeopath for consultation.