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High Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a waxy, fatlike substance that is essential for the normal functioning of the body. Cholesterol is present in cell walls or membranes and is also present in organs like the brain, skin, liver, intestines, and heart. The body uses only a small amount of cholesterol in the blood to produce, hormones, vitamin D, and bile. Excess of cholesterol in the bloodstream gets accumulated in the arteries to the heart, the carotid arteries to the brain, and the arteries that carry blood to the legs results in the narrowing and blockage of the arteries leading to decreased blood supply and producing signs and symptoms originating from that part of the body. Factors that contribute to high cholesterol levels are if you:

  • High cholesterol levels runs in the family
  • Are overweight
  • Are physically inactive
  • Have diabetes
  • Eat a high-fat diet
  • Are a 45 old man or a 55 old woman.
  • Drink too much alcohol.
  • Are under too much stress.

High cholesterol does not have any noticeable symptoms and the only way you can know if your levels are too high is to get your cholesterol checked. Your cholesterol numbers gives vital information about the potential of you being at risk from heart disease. A complete cholesterol test is known as a lipid panel or lipid profile in which the blood is drawn and the amount of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood is measured. The ideal numbers after the test are:

  • Total cholesterol level should be 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or less.
  • Ideal HDL level is 60 mg/dL or higher is good.
  • An LDL level of less than 100 mg/dL is perfect.
  • 200 mg/dL or greater is considered to be high levels of triglycerides.

In most cases people can bring down their cholesterol and triglyceride levels back to normal by bringing about certain changes in their lifestyle:

  • By exercising daily.
  • Vegetables, fruits and healthy fats that are healthy should be included in your diet.
  • Avoid foods with saturated fats.
  • Getting plenty of sleep.
  • Lose weight if your weight is above than normal
  • Avoid alcohol.
  • Stop smoking.

If your cholesterol levels still above the normal levels then cholesterol lowering drugs like Statins are prescribed. These block an enzyme in your liver that produces cholesterol thus decreasing the cholesterol levels.