Cholesterol is a waxy substance your body uses to protect nerves, make cell tissues, and produce certain hormones. Your liver makes all the cholesterol your body needs. Your body also gets cholesterol directly from the animal products in the food you eat (such as eggs, meats, and dairy products). Too much cholesterol can have negative impacts on your health.
Why Is Cholesterol Important?
High blood cholesterol is one of the major risk factors for heart disease. In fact, the higher your blood cholesterol, the greater your risk of developing heart disease or having a heart attack. Heart disease is the #1 killer of men and women in the Caribbean.
Each year, more people die of cardiovascular diseases than any other cause. Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of mortality, premature death, and morbidity! There are usually no signs or symptoms that you have high blood cholesterol, but it can be detected with a blood test. You are likely to have high cholesterol if members of your family have it, if you are overweight or if you eat a lot of fatty foods.
How Does Cholesterol Cause Heart Disease?
When there is too much cholesterol (a fat-like substance) in your blood, it builds up in the walls of your arteries. Over time, this buildup causes “hardening of the arteries” so that arteries become narrowed and blood flow to the heart becomes slowed down or blocked. This may cause chest pain or even a heart attack.
High blood cholesterol itself does not cause symptoms, so many people are unaware when their
cholesterol is too high. It is important to find out your cholesterol numbers. Lowering levels that are too high lessens the risk of developing heart disease or dying from it if you already have it.
“Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it.” ― Proverbs 4:23
What Do Your Cholesterol Numbers Mean?
Getting a blood test called a fasting lipoprotein profile will give information about your:
- Total cholesterol—It is desirable to have a measurement of less than 200 mg/dL or 5.2 mmol/L. Cholesterol can be measured in milligrams (mg) of cholesterol per deciliter (dL) of blood or millimoles (mmol) per liter (L) – see charts below
- Low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or “bad”) cholesterol—the main source of cholesterol buildup and blockage in the arteries. It is optimal to have an LDL level lower than 100 mg/dL. (The higher your LDL cholesterol level, the greater your chance of getting heart disease.)
- High-density lipoprotein (HDL, or “good”) cholesterol—which helps keep cholesterol from building up in the arteries. An HDL of ≥ 60 mg/dL will help lower your risk for heart disease. (The higher your HDL cholesterol level, the lower your chance of getting heart disease.)
- Triglycerides—another form of fat in your blood. Levels that are borderline high (150–199 mg/dL) or high (≥ 200 mg/dL) may need treatment in some people.
What Affects Cholesterol Levels?
A variety of things can affect cholesterol levels. These are things you can do something about:
- Diet—Saturated fat and cholesterol in food may increase your cholesterol level.
- Animal product and their preparations are your only dietary source for cholesterol – this includes meats, dairy, milk, cheese, some causes, some snack treats such as biscuits, cakes, bread, etc – always read your food labels before purchasing and eating or drinking.
- Weight—Being overweight tends to increase your cholesterol level.
- Physical activity—Being inactive is a risk factor for heart disease. Regular physical activity can help lower LDL cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol.
Things you cannot do anything about also can affect your cholesterol levels. These include:
- Age and gender—As people get older, their cholesterol levels rise.
- Heredity—High cholesterol can run in families.
Treating High Cholesterol
The main goal of cholesterol-lowering treatment is to lower your LDL level enough to reduce your risk of developing heart disease or having a heart attack. Four risk categories (numbered I–IV) will affect the type of treatment that is right for you. Talk with your doctor to learn your risk category and recommended treatment.
The main ways to lower your cholesterol
Therapeutic lifestyle changes (TLC)—includes a cholesterol-lowering diet (called the TLC diet), physical activity, and weight management. TLC is for anyone whose LDL is above goal. The TLC Diet. This is a low-saturated-fat, low-cholesterol eating plan that calls for less than 7 percent of calories from saturated fat and less than 200mg of dietary cholesterol per day. The TLC diet recommends only enough calories to maintain a desirable weight and avoid weight gain. If your LDL is not lowered enough by reducing saturated fat and cholesterol intakes, the amount of soluble fiber in your diet can be increased. Certain food products that contain plant stanols or plant sterols (for example, cholesterol-lowering margarine) can also be added to the TLC diet to boost its LDL-lowering power.
When to act – Now!
Just a single less healthy meal can be the source of your next attack
Studies with medical students: serial before and after meal ( mac muffins vs. cereals)blood vessel measurement showed: Impaired vasodilation
High-fat meals injure your blood vessel functions
- Drug therapy—If cholesterol-lowering drugs are needed, they are used together with TLC treatment to help lower LDL. To reduce your risk for heart disease or keep it low, it is very important to control any other risk factors you may have, such as high blood pressure and smoking.
Your Health is your greatest wealth
Make this pledge with a friend today :
My default personal rule for my diet and living is to make healthier choices first every time.
Connect with us by email at admin@essentialmedicalservicescom, for:
- More information and updates
- Referral for doing or repeating your cholesterol or cardiovascular disease risk testing
- Book an appointment for a consultation to discuss your concerns – in office or online