High Cholesterol - What It Is, Symptoms and Treatmentsthis condition. In addition, theHigh cholesterolusually causes no symptoms. It is important to eat healthy and regularly monitor your cholesterol levels. When it is not treated, theHigh cholesterolcan lead to many health problems, including a heart attack or stroke. Cholesterol is a substance that the liver naturally produces. It is vital for the formation of cell membranes, vitamin D and certain hormones.
Cholesterol is a waxy, fatty substance. It does not dissolve in water and therefore can not go through the blood alone. Lipoproteins are other particles formed in the liver that help transport cholesterol through the bloodstream. There are several major forms of lipoproteins that are important to your health. Low-density lipoproteins (LDL), also known as "bad cholesterol can accumulate in the arteries and lead to serious health problems such as a heart attack or stroke cerebral. High-density lipoproteins (HDL), sometimes called "good cholesterol help to bring LDL cholesterol back to the liver for elimination.
Your liver produces all the cholesterol you need, but fats and cholesterol are present in many of the foods we eat today. Eating too many foods that contain excessive amounts of fat increase the level of LDL cholesterol in the blood. This is calledHigh cholesterol. High cholesterol is also called hypercholesterolemia. OHigh cholesterolis especially dangerous when HDL cholesterol levels are very low and LDL cholesterol levels are very high..
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Causes of High Cholesterol:OHigh cholesterolis usually aggravated by eating many unhealthy foods that are high in cholesterol, saturated fats and trans fats. Examples of foods that contribute to theHigh cholesterolinclude:
- Red meat
- Liver and other organ meats
- Fat-filled dairy products such as cheese, milk, ice cream and butter
- Eggs (the yolk)
- Fried foods such as chips, fried potatoes, fried chicken and onion rings
- Peanut butter
- Some baked goods, such as muffins
- Processed foods made with cocoa butter, palm oil or coconut oil
OHigh cholesterolit can also be genetic in many cases. That means it's not simply caused by food, but by the way your genes instruct your body to process cholesterol and fats. Genes are transmitted from parents to children..
Other conditions such as diabetes and hypothyroidism can also contribute to theHigh cholesterol. Smoking can also increase cholesterol problems
Symptoms of High Cholesterol:In most cases, theHigh cholesterolis a silent problem that typically causes no symptoms. For most people, if they have not had regular checkups and followed their cholesterol levels, their first symptoms are events like heart attack or stroke. In rare cases, there are familial syndromes where cholesterol levels are extremely high (familial hypercholesterolemia).
These people have cholesterol levels of 300 milligrams per deciliter (mg / dL) or higher. Such people may show symptoms ofHigh cholesterolwhich are due to cholesterol deposits (xanthomas) on your tendons or under your eyelids (xanthalasmas). While theHigh cholesterolaffects a large part of the United States, familial hypercholesterolemia affects only about one in 500 people..
High Cholesterol Risk Factors:More than a third of American adults have raised LDL or "bad" cholesterol levels, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). People of all ages, ethnicities and genders may haveHigh cholesterol.
You may be at higher risk ofHigh cholesterolif you:
- Has a family history ofHigh cholesterol
- Consume a diet containing an excessive amount of saturated fat
- Are you overweight or obese
- You have diabetes, kidney disease or hypothyroidism
High Cholesterol Diagnostics:OHigh cholesterolis very easy to diagnose with a blood test called a lipid panel. Your doctor will take a blood sample and send it to a laboratory for analysis. Your doctor may ask you not to eat or drink anything (fast) for at least 12 hours before the test..
A lipid panel measures your total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and triglycerides. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines the following levels of blood cholesterol as "desirable or what you should aim for):
- Total cholesterol:less than 200 mg / dL
- LDL cholesterol:less than 100 mg / dL
- HDL Cholesterol:40 mg / dL or greater
- Triglycerides:less than 150 mg / dL
These recommendations are for the general public and healthy. Cholesterol levels may be different if you already have other conditions, such as diabetes. Your doctor can tell you what your healthy levels should be.
High Cholesterol Treatments:Committing to exercising a healthy diet is usually enough to lower your cholesterol levels. Sometimes medication is needed. This is especially true if LDL cholesterol levels are very high..
Medicines:The most commonly prescribed medications used to treatHigh cholesterolare called statins. Statins work by blocking your liver from producing more cholesterol. These medications also indirectly lower blood levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides and some of them can also raise the level of "good" cholesterol, HDL.
Examples of statins include:.
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- Atorvastatin (Lipitor)
- Fluvastatin (Lescol)
- Rosuvastatin (Crestor)
- Simvastatin (Zocor)
Other medicines forHigh cholesterolinclude:.
- Bile acid resins or sequestrants such as colesevelam (Welchol), colestipol (Colestid) or cholestyramine (Prevalite)
- Cholesterol absorption inhibitors, such as ezetimibe (Zetia)
There are also combined products that decrease the absorption of the cholesterol you eat and also reduce the production of cholesterol in the liver. An example is a combination of ezetimibe and simvastatin (Vytorin).
Lifestyle Changes:Since a person's lifestyle typicallyHigh cholesterol, lifestyle changes are crucial to lessen it. Take these steps to help lower your cholesterol:
- Eat a diet low in saturated and trans fats. Lean meats like chicken and fish that are not fried, and many fruits, vegetables and whole grains are useful. Avoid fried or fatty foods as well as many processed carbohydrates and sugars
- Eat fish containing omega-3 fatty acids, which can help lower LDL cholesterol. Salmon, mackerel and herring, for example, are rich in omega-3s. Nuts, flaxseeds and almonds also contain omega-3s.
- Avoid excessive amounts of alcohol.
- Exercise at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week.
- Stop smoking.
Herbal and Nutritional Supplements:Some foods and supplements have been suggested to help lessen theHigh cholesterol, although none of them have been clearly proven to do so. These include:.
- Oat bran (found in oats and whole oats)
- Psyllium blonde (found in seed bark)
Certain herbs have also been suggested to be beneficial. The level of evidence supporting these claims varies. None has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treatment ofHigh cholesterol. Some of these include:
- Olive Seed Extract
- Green Tea Extract
Always talk to your doctor before taking any nutritional or herbal supplements. Herbal supplement may interact with other medications you take.
High Cholesterol Complications:When not treated, theHigh cholesterolcan contribute to the formation of plaques in your arteries and lead to atherosclerosis. Over time, cholesterol (plaque) deposits can reduce your arteries and let less blood pass through..
Atherosclerosis is a serious condition that can result in many life-threatening complications. These complications include:
- heart attack
- Angina (chest pain)
- Peripheral vascular disease
- High pressure
- Chronic kidney disease if plaque builds up in the renal arteries, which supply blood to the kidneys
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Prevention of High Cholesterol:OHigh cholesterolcaused by genetic factors can not be avoided. There are things you can do to help lower your cholesterol to a more desirable level or prevent it from ever becoming a serious problem:
- Exercise regularly.
- Eat a healthy diet with low animal fat.
- Eat cooked, grilled, steamed, grilled and baked foods instead of fried foods.
- Choose lean meat.
- Choose low-fat or fat-free dairy products.
- Avoid fast food and junk food.
- Eat a high-fiber diet.
- Do not smoke. Smoking harms the blood vessels and greatly increases the risk of heart disease and stroke.
- Avoid excessive alcohol consumption. Despite this, moderate alcohol consumption (no more than two drinks a day) can increase levels of HDL beneficial cholesterol.
- Check your cholesterol regularly. The American Heart Association recommends that your cholesterol levels be checked every four to six years if you are an adult over the age of 20. You may need to have your cholesterol checked more often if you are at an increased risk ofHigh cholesterol.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
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