People asking, “What is high cholesterol?” will find it as having readings of lipids within the blood above 240 mg/DL. Since high cholesterol levels increase risks for heart disease and stroke it is a good idea to see a physician about ways to lower lipid levels. Hardening of the arteries can be a result of high cholesterol especially if the LDL levels are high and HDL levels are low. With narrowing of the arteries blood flow becomes restricted and since blood carries oxygen to the heart, a decrease in oxygen can result in chest pain and eventually a heart attack. What causes high cholesterol can be several factors including heredity, age, gender, not enough exercise, and being overweight. Eating foods abundant in saturated fat and foods that contain trans fatty acids can contribute as well.
It is a good ideal to have a physician perform a lipoprotein profile to check lipid and fat levels in the blood. This will give numbers on total lipids including good and bad as well as triglycerides. Bad lipids known as LDL is the main source of blocked arteries and good lipids known as HDL help keep arteries from becoming blocked. Triglycerides are another form of fat within the blood that contributes to blocked arteries and has been linked to heart disease and diabetes. A patient asking, “What is high cholesterol needs to understand the importance of the dangers associated with it and ways to bring lipid levels down to an acceptable range. Being a recipient of bad news can bring on depression and feelings of hopelessness. Seeking professional help is wise as well as spiritual help from a church counselor or support group. Christ offers us hope and peace if we take our troubles to him. “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).
Diet, weight, and exercise can have a positive effect on what causes high cholesterol. Reducing weight with exercise and eating healthy by eating foods low in cholesterol, sodium, and saturated fat will contribute to lowering lipid and fat levels. Recommended foods for optimum results include lean meats, low fat dairy, whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and healthy oils such as canola, or olive oil. Foods that should be avoided include high fat meats, high fat dairy products, high sodium foods, and foods that are listed as trans fatty acids or contain partially hydrogenated soybean oil. Foods containing omega 3 fatty acids have been shown to help in lowering LDL lipids. Salmon is a good choice of protein and omega 3 fatty acids especially when wild. Consider using soy products in place of animal products since soy is an excellent source of protein and contains rich sources of vitamins, minerals, and contains fiber. Some sites online recommend the following foods as containing excellent sources greatly beneficial to health: flax seed, garlic, pomegranates, tomatoes, tea, coffee, mushrooms, whole grains, yogurt, ginger, and all fruits and vegetables.
Health websites provide valuable information that helps to answer, what is high cholesterol, and what can be done about it? Some sites seem to wholeheartedly agree that staying away from trans fats is essential when diagnosed with accelerated lipid levels in the blood. Commercially fried foods and packaged goods usually contain trans fats as well as some margarine, vegetable oils and shortening. Look on nutrition labels when making selections at the supermarket and steer clear of any products that contain “partially-hydrogenated vegetable oils” as these usually contain trans fats and will likely increase LDL cholesterol in the body. What is partially-hydrogenated oil? They are liquid oils that have been heated up so that they can withstand the production process and provide benefits in prolonging shelf life. Beware of some fast food chains that use vegetable oil when frying foods such as french fries, chicken nuggets, and other fried offerings, especially since most vegetable oils contain trans fats.
Statin drugs have shown to be very effective in reducing cholesterol by inhibiting the production of an enzyme in the liver. Statin drugs for the most part are well tolerated and provide great benefits. A physician will often prescribe a statin to combat against what causes high cholesterol. Some side effects commonly experienced might include nausea, upset stomach, headache, and sleep disturbances. Care should be used with some products that interact unfavorably with statins including grapefruit juice, certain antibiotics, and some muscle relaxers. Ask a physician or pharmacist about concerns related to taking statin drugs to help lower lipids in the blood.
Arteries are tubes made up of muscle that have a smooth lining so the blood can flow freely throughout the body. Fatty matter known as fat and cholesterol can build up within the arteries causing blockages depriving the heart and body of oxygen. Blockages that are significant could result in heart attack and or stroke. It is important for individuals who have been diagnosed or suspect that they have high cholesterol to seek medical attention and make lifestyle changes where needed. Ask lots of questions at the doctor’s office including the main questions, what is high cholesterol and what can be done if diagnosed? Understanding what factors within the body contribute to serious health risks and what causes high cholesterol will help towards motivation to make some crucial lifestyle changes.