What is High Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a sticky, wax-like, fat-like substance which is naturally produced by the liver and required by the body to function properly. The body needs cholesterol to build healthy cells. High Cholesterol is the condition when levels of total cholesterol and Low density cholesterol is increased in your blood.
The liver produces lipoproteins, to help transport cholesterol. Lipoproteins are made of protein and fat. Lipoproteins carry triglycerides (Lipids) through the bloodstream. There are 2 major types of lipoprotein – LDL (low-density lipoprotein) and HDL (high-density lipoprotein).
LDL is known as bad cholesterol and HDL is known as good cholesterol. When LDL increases it’s known as high cholesterol.
When you have high cholesterol level, it develops fatty deposits in your blood vessels. These deposits decrease the amount of blood flow through arteries and different parts of the body. It increases the risk of certain diseases such as heart attack, stroke, and others. High cholesterol level shows no symptoms, that’s why it should be checked on regular basis.
High cholesterol is usually the result of unhealthy lifestyle and can be treated with the help of few home remedies. A healthy diet, regular exercise, maintain a healthy weight, reduce alcohol consumption, etc are few lifestyle changes that help to reduce cholesterol level naturally.
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High cholesterol doesn’t show any symptoms. The only way to detect high cholesterol is through a blood test. Many people don’t even realize that they have high cholesterol unless and until they develop serious complications, such as stroke or heart attack.
Cholesterol levels in the body can be measured with the help of simple blood test known as lipid panel/lipid profile. Your doctor will take a sample of your blood but make sure to avoid eating or drinking anything (except water) for at least 9-12 hours before the test. That is why it is best to provide the blood sample in the morning, before having breakfast.
The blood test to measure cholesterol known as lipid profile will include reports of:
- Total cholesterol levels
- Triglycerides levels
- High-density lipoprotein (HDL)
- Low-density lipoprotein (LDL)
- Lack of physical activity is a major cause for undigested fat and cholesterol formation.
- Diabetes can also cause an increase in LDL levels
- Liver/kidney disease can impair their function and cause increased LDL levels.
- Being overweight or obese makes you more prone to get high Cholesterol.
- Smoking and alcohol consumption can also increase cholesterol levels.
- Aging and reduced activity of internal organs can increase the cholesterol levels. Such patients should check the LDL levels at regular intervals.
- Poor diet or unbalanced diet habits, especially foods with high amounts of fats, preservatives, oily and greasy foods can increase LDL levels.
- High cholesterol can also be a hereditary character. If you have a family history of cholesterol abnormalities, you are more prone to have high cholesterol.
- Certain medication and dietary supplements can also increase your cholesterols levels. Hence, you should never take any medicine or supplement with your doctor’s advice.
You can control your cholesterol levels easily without using any medicines. Here are some simple things you can do to prevent high Cholesterol:
- Exercise regularly. Exercising burns excess fat in the body and prevents the increase of LDL levels. Click here to see effective Weight Loss Exercises.
- Also, Maintain a healthy weight – eat low-fat food and lean meat. Eat more vegetables and whole grains. Avoid sugary, oily and greasy foods.
- Limit the intake of animal fats.
- Avoid excessive alcohol consumption.
- Quit smoking.
Garlic is very helpful to reduce LDL level. It is probably the most popular and effective remedy to keep the cholesterol levels in control. It also decreases triglycerides level. Furthermore, Garlic prevents clogging of arteries, reduces high blood pressure and prevents the formation of plaques.
- For better results eat 2-3 raw garlic cloves daily
- It can also be used in cooking
- You can also use them as seasoning
- It can also be consumed in the form of tablets, powder or capsules.
Oats are the best source of soluble fiber. Soluble fiber prevents the absorption of bad cholesterols into the bloodstream. It is best to eat a bowl of oatmeal for the breakfast. Also, You can spice up your oatmeal by adding almonds, walnuts, raisins, apples, bananas, strawberries, etc. It is one of the best home remedies to reduce cholesterol level.
3. Olive Oil
Olive oil is rich in antioxidants and full of nutrients which helps to lower bad cholesterol. It is also helpful in increasing the levels of good cholesterol. Olive oil contains Phenolics. Phenolics are helpful in preventing the formation of plaques. Olive oil can be used for cooking and can also be used for salad dressing. 2 tsp of olive oil every day is enough to decrease cholesterol level.
4. Indian Gooseberry
Indian gooseberry is another rich source of antioxidants, minerals, and vitamin C. It has the properties to reduce the formation of fats and cholesterols. Also, It increases High-density lipoprotein (HDL) and decreases total cholesterol (TC) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL).
- Mix 2 tsp of Indian gooseberry powder to a glass of warm water. For taste, you can add a pinch of black salt or 1 tsp of honey in it. Drink it daily for better results in the morning on an empty stomach.
5. Coriander seeds
Coriander seeds are very effective in the treatment of improving cholesterol levels, lowering blood pressure and diabetes management. It increases High-density lipoprotein (HDL) and decreases total cholesterol (TC) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL). Add 2 tsp of coriander seeds powder to a cup of boiling water. Let it boil for few minutes, strain it and drink it once or twice daily.
Treatment of High cholesterol depends on different causes such as heredity, lack of physical activity, gender, age, diabetes, smoking, poor diet, overweight, etc. But with the help of few lifestyle changes, cholesterol levels can be maintained. If the lifestyle changes and home remedies don’t seem to work for you, there are few medications are available for the treatment of high cholesterol.
Statins: Statins are very common medicine prescribed for the treatment of high cholesterol. They slow down the production of cholesterol. They also increase the ability of the liver to remove LDL cholesterol present in the blood. It includes atorvastatin (Lipitor), fluvastatin (Lescol), lovastatin (Altoprev, Mevacor), pravastatin (Pravachol), rosuvastatin (Crestor), pitavastatin (Livalo) and simvastatin (Zocor).
Fibrates: These medicines are very effective in lowering triglycerides level. It includes fenofibrate (Tricor) and gemfibrozil (Lopid). Both of these medicines speeds the removal of triglycerides and LDL from the blood.
Niacin or nicotinic acid: This medicine decreases triglycerides level and total cholesterol level while increases HDL cholesterol level. It decreases livers ability to produce LDL cholesterol which decreases triglycerides level.
Bile acid sequestrants: Our liver produces Bile Acids with the help of cholesterol. The bile acid is necessary for digestion. In few cases, bile acid sequestrants are prescribed in combination with statins to enhance cholesterol reduction. It includes cholestyramine (Prevalite, Questran), colesevelam (Welchol) and colestipol (Colestid).
Cholesterol absorption inhibitors: Cholesterol absorption inhibitors such as ezetimibe (Zetia) help to reduce the cholesterol. It limits the absorption dietary cholesterol. In few cases, a doctor can prescribe Ezetimibe in combination with statins.
High Cholesterol is a serious condition. If not diagnosed and treated on time, it can cause serious health problems, even heart attacks. The problem is even critical as it doesn’t have any prominent symptoms. Doctor’s can identify the High levels of cholesterol only with blood tests only.
However, you can keep your cholesterol levels under control by using simple home remedies discussed above. Also, start doing exercising and eating low-fat foods. These lifestyle changes will bring the cholesterol levels in control.
Check your cholesterol levels regularly. If the remedies and healthy lifestyle changes seem ineffective, then you can take medicines discussed above to control the disease. First, let a doctor diagnose you. The doctor will prescribe the suitable medicine for you.
What level of Cholesterol is High Cholesterol?
Generally, the total Cholesterol levels under 200 mg/dL are safe according to doctors. Furthermore, Levels above 200 mg/dL are known to be High Cholesterol. If your cholesterol levels are above 240 mg/dL, seek medical help immediately. Such high levels can be fatal.
Can High Cholesterol cause Heart diseases?
Yes, High level of cholesterol is directly linked to many heart problems. Reducing cholesterol can decrease your chances of getting heart diseases and heart attacks.