What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a type of fat that exists in the blood steam that plays an important role in maintaining cell membranes. In the right amounts, cholesterol is a normal and essential component required for good health. But if blood cholesterol levels are too high, it can increase your risk of developing health issues such as heart disease and stroke.
Cholesterol comes in two forms of proteins known as ‘lipoproteins‘: low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and high-density lipoproteins (HDL). High levels of LDL-cholesterol can lead to fatty deposits in the artery walls that cause them to harden and narrow, a condition known as atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis consequently increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. This form of cholesterol is sometimes referred to as "bad" cholesterol. HDL-cholesterol however, is "good" cholesterol that helps remove excess cholesterol from the arteries and other parts of the body, reducing the risk of heart disease.
How do I know that I have high cholesterol?
It is not always possible to tell from physical signs that your cholesterol levels are too high. Instead, a simple blood test can be done to determine your cholesterol health. This is usually done together with other measurements of your cardiovascular health, such as blood pressure testing.
In some cases, someone with undetected or poorly managed high cholesterol levels may suffer from chest pain (angina) or leg pain during exercise due to the narrowing of the arteries. High cholesterol levels may also cause symptoms related to gallstones such as episodic abdominal and back pain, especially after eating fatty foods.
What causes high cholesterol?
Cholesterol levels are determined by diet and the amount of cholesterol naturally produced by the body. High consumption of saturated fat, trans fats and high-cholesterol foods may make raise your cholesterol levels rise.
What are some natural therapies for high cholesterol?
If you’re overweight, achieving a healthy body weight may aid the management of healthy cholesterol levels.
Healthy living to manage high cholesterol
Having high cholesterol is an important indicator of your risk of developing heart disease. Thus, maintaining healthy cholesterol levels is essential to prevent a serious health problem.
Your cholesterol level is only one aspect of your cardiovascular health profile and should be addressed in conjunction with other risk factors. Talk to your healthcare professional for more information.
This article is published courtesy of Blackmores Singapore Pte Ltd.