If you think cholesterol is the bad guy and should be completely banned, then you are wrong. As with everything there are two sides to cholesterol as well.
Cholesterol is not all bad. it is essential for your body to function right. It protects your nerves and is required to make healthy cells and hormones. You get some cholesterol from the food you eat and your liver makes some more. Cholesterol cannot travel in your blood on its own. It requires a protein covering to be carried to cells that require it. There are two types of cholesterol and it becomes unhealthy only when you have more of one and less of another.
LDL and HDL
LDL or Low-Density Lipoprotein forms the major portion of the cholesterol in your blood. LDL is commonly called as ‘bad cholesterol’ as it causes major health problems when your blood has to much of it. When you have high levels of LDL, it gradually starts accumulating on the walls of your blood vessels as plaque. Over a period of time, the vessels may become narrowed and blood flow will be affected. If you have a blocked blood vessel in your heart, you may get a heart attack. If it is in the brain, you may get a stroke. High blood cholesterol is a dangerous condition and has to be managed with medication.
HDL or High-Density Lipoprotein is the ‘good cholesterol’. HDL is beneficial to health in many ways. It takes LDL to the liver, which reduces, reuses and recycles LDL, thereby reducing the amount of LDL in your blood. HDL also cleans and maintains the inner walls of blood vessels and prevents damage. This will prevent development of atherosclerosis. A high level of HDL could keep you healthy by clearing your blood of bad cholesterol.
Managing cholesterol will reduce the risk of heart disease, coronary artery disease, peripheral artery disease and stroke.
You will have to have a regular check up with your doctor if you have heart disease, diabetes or a family history of cholesterol. Early diagnosis and treatment will help you stay healthy and prevent major diseases.
Tips to manage cholesterol
Eat healthy food
Avoid foods rich in saturated fat, sugar and white flour. Include fiber rich fruits and vegetables, and nuts in your diet.
Manage your weight
If you are overweight, take steps to reduce the excess weight. Your cholesterol levels will come down as you lose weight.
If your doctor has prescribed cholesterol medication, take them regularly as recommended. Do not miss, reduce or increas doses on your own.
Regular exercise keeps your weight under control and helps your heart and circulatory system perform in top condition.
Smoking is the cause of multiple health issues. Quit smoking or get help quitting if it is difficult to give up cigarettes.
As with everything in life, moderation is the key in managing cholesterol. To manage cholesterol and lead a healthy life, consult our experts.