To understand high blood cholesterol, it is necessary to learn about cholesterol. Cholesterol was a waxy, fat-like substance that is found in all cells of the body.
Our body needs some cholesterol to make vitamin D, hormones, and substances that always help you to digest foods. Our body makes all the cholesterol it needs. However, cholesterol also is found in some of the foods we eat.
Cholesterol travels in our body through our bloodstream in form of small packages called lipoproteins. These packages are made of fat (lipid) on the inside and proteins on the outside.
Cholesterol is carried through our blood which is attached to proteins. This combination of proteins and cholesterol is called lipoprotein. We may have heard of different types of cholesterol, based on what the type of cholesterol the lipoprotein carries. They are:
Low-density lipoprotein (LDL). LDL or "bad," cholesterol transport cholesterol particles throughout our body. LDL cholesterol builds up in the walls of our arteries, making them hard and narrow.
High-density lipoprotein (HDL). HDL or "good," cholesterol picks up excess cholesterol and takes it back to our liver.
Factors beyond our control may play a role, too. For example, our genetic makeup may keep cells from removing LDL cholesterol from our blood efficiently or cause our liver to produce too much cholesterol.
Poor diet (eating habit). Eating of saturated fat which is found in animal products and Tran’s fats which are found in some commercially baked cookies and crackers which can raise our cholesterol level. Foods that are high in cholesterol such as red meat and full-fat dairy products will always increase our total cholesterol.
Obesity (weight). Having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater puts us at risk of high cholesterol.
Waist large circumference. our risk increases if a man with a waist circumference of at least 40 inches (102 centimeters) or a woman with a waist circumference of at least 35 inches (89 centimeters).
Lack exercise. Exercise helps boost our body's HDL, or ‘good,’ cholesterol while increasing the size of the particles that make up our LDL, or ‘bad,’ cholesterol, which makes it considerably less harmful for our body.
Smoking habit. Cigarette and cigar smoking damages the walls of our blood vessels, making them likely to accumulate fatty deposits. Smoking can also lower our level of HDL, or "good," cholesterol.
Diabetes problem. High blood sugar contributes to higher LDL cholesterol and lower HDL cholesterol. High blood sugar can damage the lining of our arteries.
High cholesterol may cause atherosclerosis, a dangerous accumulation of cholesterol and other deposits on the walls of our arteries. These deposits (plaques) may reduce blood flow through our arteries, which can cause complications, such as:
Pain in chest
The same healthy lifestyle changes that can lower our cholesterol can help prevent us from having high cholesterol in the first place. To help prevent high cholesterol, we can:
Eat a low salt diet that includes many fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
Limit amount of animal fats and use good fats in moderation
Lose extra pounds and maintain healthy weight
Exercise at least 30 minutes
Drink alcohol in limit if we have it at all that to occasionally.
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