Cholesterol is a word that most of us dread. High cholesterol exposes us to risks of many heart and kidney diseases.
But truth be told, cholesterol is both a friend and an enemy. At normal levels, it is an essential substance for body's normal functioning;
only when the levels get too high, its dangerous.
Cholesterol is a waxy substance that comes from two sources:
our body and food. Our body, and especially liver, makes all the cholesterol it needs. It is essential for
proper functioning of our cell membranes and production of hormones. This cholesterol circulates through our blood.
Cholesterol is also found in some foods like dairy products, processed food and red meat. Liver produces more cholesterol when we eat a diet,
high in saturated and trans fats. Cholesterol travels through our bloodstream in tiny packets called lipoproteins. These packets are made of fat and
Two kinds of
lipoproteins carry cholesterol throughout the body: low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and high-density lipoproteins (HDL). LDL is more commonly known as
"bad cholesterol" because it transports cholesterol from liver to other parts of the body, causing a build up of cholesterol in arteries.
This leads to heart diseases. Whereas, HDL is known as "good cholesterol" "cause it transports cholesterol from various organs to liver,
which is excreted out by our body later.
The Cholesterol Meter
- Total Cholesterol
Normal: below 200 mg/dl. High: above 240 mg/dl.
- Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL)
Normal: below 130 mg/dl. High: above 160 mg/dl.
- High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL)
Normal: above 35 mg/dl.
Best: above 60 mg/dl.
Normal: below 200 mg/dl. High: 400-999 mg/dl
Effects of High Cholesterol
Dr. Adarsh Mittal, a general physician, tell us about the harmful effects of high LDL. He says,
"Excess cholesterol can form plaque between layers of our blood vessels making them harder and inelastic. A plaque is a hard patch in the blood vessels.
This makes them dysfunctional to circulate blood. Such patch can even break and lead to blood clots. This clot travels through our whole body and blocks
the vessels. Such blockade can have a very dangerous effect on brain, heart or any other vital organ."
What can be done?
- Do regular monitoring of your cholesterol levels
The kind of lifestyle we all enjoy
today makes us prone to high cholesterol. Junk food, sedentary habits and improper timing of sleep-wake cycle are high risk factors. Make sure that you get
routine cholesterol tests done to detect any pathology at the earliest.
- Cut down trans-fat
There are high levels of trans fat in processed food like packed chips, cookies and everyday fried snacks.
Small amounts can add up to be very dangerous. Eliminate these foods to include healthy fibers and protein rich food in your diet.
After the age of 30, its very
important to do cardio exercises 20 minutes a day. This can be anything form a normal brisk walk to jogging or treadmill. It helps in lowering down
cholesterol and keeping our heart healthy.
- Quit smoking and alcohol
Studies point out to increase in the "good cholesterol" levels on quitting smoking. If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation.
This means up to one drink a day for women of all ages and men older than age 65. For young men up to two drinks a day.
- Take your medications
Though these tips will help you control cholesterol while you take your medications, it's most important to follow your doctor's prescription.
Cholesterol lowering drugs are mostly long-term medications, so don't ditch them half way.
Take a full course and consult your doctor regularly.
HealthPotli cares for you. We like our people happy
and healthy. We recommend you to do routine cholesterol profile monitoring. For those with a family history of heart diseases or high BP,
its all the more important.
We also cater to your medications, to order medicines