High Cholesterol
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Your body needs cholesterol to operate properly. High cholesterol may be linked to genetics, but it is quite often caused by unhealthy lifestyle choices, which cause it to be preventable and treatable. A nutritious diet, regular exercise, and sometimes medication can help reduce high cholesterol.

What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol may be one of the most misunderstood and controversial topics in health. It is a waxy substance found in your blood. A vital function of the liver is to create and clear cholesterol within the body. The majority of the attention focused on cholesterol describes its potential for damaging health effects. But cholesterol is essential for the production of hormones, vitamin D, and enzymes required for digestion. Your body needs cholesterol to construct healthy cells, but elevated levels of cholesterol can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease.

With high cholesterol, it is possible to develop fatty deposits in your blood vessels. Finally, these deposits grow, which makes it hard for sufficient blood to flow through your arteries. At times, those deposits may break suddenly and form a clot that causes a heart attack or stroke.

High cholesterol may be linked to genetics, but it is quite often caused by unhealthy lifestyle choices, which cause it to be preventable and treatable. A nutritious diet, regular exercise, and sometimes medication can help reduce high cholesterol.

Your body needs cholesterol to operate properly. But in case you have too much in your bloodstream, it can follow the walls of your arteries narrow or even block them. This blockage can put you at risk for heart disease.

See: Ayurveda Panchakarma and Medicines Help a 24 year old recover from PreDiabetes, High Cholesterol and Heart Disease

What causes high cholesterol?

Reasons for high cholesterol

Cholesterol is transported through your blood, attached to proteins. This mix of cholesterol and proteins is called a lipoprotein. There are various sorts of cholesterol, based on what the lipoprotein carries. They are:

Low-density lipoprotein (LDL). LDL, or "bad" cholesterol, transports cholesterol particles through your body. LDL cholesterol accumulates in the walls of the arteries, which makes them narrow and hard.

High-density lipoprotein (HDL). The HDL or "good" cholesterol, picks up excess cholesterol and carries it back to your liver for removal.

A lipid profile also measures triglycerides, a kind of fat in the blood. Having a high triglyceride level may also raise your risk of cardiovascular disease.

Factors you can control - such as inactivity, obesity and an unhealthy diet -- contribute to elevated cholesterol and reduced HDL cholesterol. But some other factors beyond your control may play a role, too. As an example, your genetic makeup may prevent cells from eliminating LDL cholesterol in the blood economically or cause your liver to produce too much cholesterol.

See: Ayurvedic treatment for High Cholesterol and Triglycerides

Types of cholesterol

Cholesterol travels through your blood on proteins known as lipoproteins. One form, LDL, may be referred to as the "bad" cholesterol. A high LDL level contributes to a buildup of cholesterol in your arteries. Another kind, HDL, may be known as the "good" cholesterol. It carries cholesterol from other areas of your body back to your liver. Then your liver removes the cholesterol in your body.

- LDL is labeled the bad cholesterol because it's saturated in cholesterol and low in proteins.

- On the other hand, HDL is high in proteins and low in cholesterol and therefore called good cholesterol. Triglycerides are a distinct lipid in the blood flow that provides a means for the body to store excess energy, but if they're high is another warning sign.

 If plaque continues to build over a long period, long term, it considerably increases the risk of experiencing a heart attack or stroke.

Typically, cholesterol is stored in equilibrium. But, the normal western diet, which comprises many polyunsaturated fats and refined carbohydrates, contributes to an upset in this equilibrium. The imbalance is shown in elevated LDL (bad cholesterol) and a low HDL (good cholesterol) that raises our risk for heart attack or stroke. Other causes include inactivity, diabetes, anxiety, and hypothyroidism. As most know, with visits to their physician, there are three lipoproteins in our blood. These are the low-density lipoproteins (LDL), high-density lipoproteins (HDL), and triglycerides.  There are some lifestyle & dietary modifications you can make to lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol and increase your HDL (good) cholesterol. You can decrease your risk of heart ailments by keeping your cholesterol levels in check.

See: How long does it take to reduce cholesterol

Natrual remedies for high cholesterol

What are the remedies for high cholesterol?

The primary treatments for high cholesterol are lifestyle changes and medications.

- Lifestyle changes to lower cholesterol

Heart-healthy lifestyle changes that will help you reduce or control your cholesterol include

- Heart-healthy eating. A heart-healthy eating plan restricts the amount of saturated and trans fats that you consume. It recommends that you eat and drink just enough calories to remain at a healthy weight and lose weight gain. It encourages you to decide on various nutritious foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats. Examples of eating plans that can decrease your cholesterol include the Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes diet and the DASH eating plan.

- Weight Management. If you're overweight, shedding some weight may help to reduce your LDL (bad) cholesterol. This is particularly important for individuals with metabolic syndrome (a group of risk factors that includes low HDL (good) cholesterol levels, high triglyceride levels, and being overweight with a large waist measurement).

- Physical Activity. Everybody should get routine physical activity (30 minutes on most, if not all, days).

- Managing stress. Research indicates that chronic stress can occasionally increase your LDL cholesterol and reduce your HDL cholesterol.

- No Smoking. Quitting smoking can increase your HDL cholesterol. Since HDL helps to remove LDL cholesterol in your arteries, using more HDL can help lower your LDL cholesterol.

See: Heart healthy diet plan to prevent heart disease

Symptoms & risk factors

Symptoms: High cholesterol, unfortunately, has no symptoms. The only way to discover your cholesterol levels is by getting a blood test.


When to see a doctor: Consult your doctor if you need to have a cholesterol test. 

If your test results are not within desired ranges, your physician may recommend more frequent measurements. Your physician may also suggest more-frequent tests when you've got a family history of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, or other risk factors, such as diabetes, smoking, or high blood pressure.


Risk factors: Some factors that can boost your risk of bad cholesterol include:

- Unhealthy diet. Eating trans fats and saturated fat found in animal products can increase your cholesterol level. Foods that are high in cholesterol, such as red meat and full-fat dairy products, will also increase your cholesterol.

- Obesity. With a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher puts you at risk of elevated cholesterol.

Insufficient exercise and physical activity. Exercise helps to increase your body's HDL, or "good," cholesterol 

- Smoking. Cigarette smoking can damage the walls inside your blood vessels, which makes them more likely to accumulate fatty deposits. Smoking might also decrease your level of HDL, or "good," cholesterol.

- Age. Since your body's chemistry changes as you get older, your risk of elevated cholesterol increases. As an example, as you get older, your liver gets less able to remove LDL cholesterol.

-Diabetes. High blood glucose contributes to high levels of harmful cholesterol known as very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) and lower HDL cholesterol. High blood glucose also damages the lining of your blood vessels.

See: Best Low Cholesterol Diet & Meal Plan

Normal cholesterol range

Diagnosis: A blood test to check cholesterol levels -- called a lipid panel or lipid profile -- normally accounts:

- Total cholesterol

- LDL cholesterol

- HDL cholesterol

- Triglycerides (this a type of fat in the blood).

For the most precise measurements, you are advised not to eat or drink anything other than water for 8-12 hours before the blood test.


Cholesterol Normal Ranges

The lipid profile blood test reports the ratio of triglycerides and cholesterol in the bloodstream. The main point to think about is the ratio of LDL to HDL cholesterol that ought to be around 2:1.

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends a triglyceride level of 100 mg/dL or lower is considered "optimal."

Interpreting the amounts: In the USA, cholesterol levels are measured in milligrams (mg) of cholesterol per deciliter (dL) of blood. In Canada and several European nations, cholesterol levels are measured in millimoles per liter (mmol/L). To interpret your test results, you can use these general guidelines.

Total cholesterol (the U.S. and various other states ) based on U.S. guidelines.

Below 200 mg/dL Desirable

200-239 mg/dL Borderline large

240 mg/dL and above High


See: Low cholesterol food list in diet

Foods which lower & raise Cholesterol

Cholesterol Reducing Foods

If you would like to reduce cholesterol, diet is crucial. Listed below are the top foods and nutrition, which can naturally lower cholesterol.

- Omega-3 fats -- Foods high in omega-3 fats can help increase HDL cholesterol and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

- Foods high in soluble fiber -- Soluble fiber binds cholesterol in the digestive tract causing it to be excreted from the body. Include a lot of fruits, vegetables, sprouted seeds and nuts, and other fiber-rich foods.

- Olive oil -- Helps raise HDL cholesterol.

- Garlic and onions -- These two cholesterol-reducing foods help lower LDL cholesterol due to their sulfur-containing compounds that help cleanse the arteries.

- Herbs -- include a number of spices like basil, rosemary, and turmeric to your foods that contain antioxidants which are cardio-protective and help lower cholesterol naturally.


Avoid these bad cholesterol foods:

Sugar and refined carbohydrates -- Both stimulate the liver to make more cholesterol and increase inflammation.

Alcohol -- additionally stimulates the liver to make more cholesterol, increasing cholesterol levels, and inflammation. A glass of red wine daily may be cardioprotective, but anything more than that increases your cholesterol.

Hydrogenated fats -- Vegetable oils are pro-inflammatory and might increase cholesterol.

Caffeine -- Too much caffeine may increase cholesterol. Limit tea or coffee to no more than 1-2 cups every day.

Trans fats -- Increases LDL cholesterol, inflammation, and risk of cardiovascular disease.

See: Yoga for heart disease prevention

Medicines to lower cholesterol

For many people, making some lifestyle changes alone doesn't their lower cholesterol. They might also have to take medicines. There are lots of varieties of cholesterol-lowering drugs available. They work in various ways and may have different side effects. Speak with your medical care provider about which medication is ideal for you.

Even if you take drugs to decrease your cholesterol, you still must continue with lifestyle changes.

See: How do statins work

Cholesterol-Lowering Natural Remedies

Cholesterol-Lowering Natural Remedies

Taking the appropriate supplements and natural remedies can help lower cholesterol levels if coupled with a healthy diet.

- Fish Oil: EPA and DHA (omega-3 fats) found in fish oil help reduce overall cholesterol levels.

- Garlic: Increases HDL cholesterol and lowers cholesterol.

- Niacin: Niacin (vitamin B3) can reduce LDL cholesterol by 25 percent and raises good cholesterol by 35 percent

- CoQ10: If you are on cholesterol-lowering drugs, take CoQ10 per day as these drugs decrease levels of the important enzyme.

- Red Yeast Rice: Red yeast rice may reduce cholesterol by up to 32%. Take with CoQ10 to prevent deficiency.

- Exercises to Balance Cholesterol: Exercise with weight training can boost HGH (human growth hormone) that can improve HDL cholesterol and lower LDL cholesterol.

- Essential Oils for Cholesterol: Cypress oil reduces cholesterol as it enhances circulation, and rosemary oil reduces cholesterol because of its unique antioxidant properties and is cardio-supportive. The lavender essential oil has been shown to lower cholesterol levels as it reduces emotional stress. 


Prevention

The exact same heart-healthy lifestyle changes that could decrease your cholesterol can help keep you from having high cholesterol in the first location. To prevent the buildup of high cholesterol, you can:

Lose weight & maintain a healthy weight

Eat a low-salt diet with fruits, veggies, and whole grains

Manage stress

Exercise for at least 30 minutes

Drink alcohol in moderation, if at all

Limit the amount of animal fats and make use of good fats in moderation

Quit smoking


See: Lowering Your Cholesterol with Diet Plan

References

1. American Heart Association. What your cholesterol levels mean. Updated April 30, 2017.

2. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. High blood cholesterol: also known as hypercholesterolemia.

3. Mayo Clinic, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/symptoms-causes/syc-20350800

4. Cholesterol. Lab Tests Online. American Association for Clinical Chemistry. https://labtestsonline.org/understanding/analytes/cholesterol. Accessed Dec. 6, 2018.

5. High blood cholesterol. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/high-blood-cholesterol#. Accessed Dec. 6, 2018.

6. Statins: Actions, side effects and administration. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed Dec. 6, 2018.

7. AskMayoExpert. Hyperlipidemia: Lifestyle measures for prevention of coronary artery disease (adult). Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2018.

8. Integrated Guidelines for Cardiovascular Health and Risk Reduction in Children and Adolescents. Bethesda, Md.: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/cvd_ped/index.htm. Accessed Jan. 10, 2019.

9. Cholesterol management at a glance. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. https://nccih.nih.gov/health/cholesterol/at-a-glance. Accessed Jan. 10, 2019.

10. Natural medicines in the clinical management of hyperlipidemia. Natural Medicines. https://naturalmedicines.therapeuticresearch.com. Accessed Jan. 10, 2019.

11. Red yeast rice. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. https://nccih.nih.gov/health/redyeastrice. Accessed Jan. 17, 2019.

12. Acharjee S, Boden WE, Hartigan PM, et al. Low levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and increased risk of cardiovascular events in stable ischemic heart disease patients: A post-hoc analysis from the COURAGE Trial (Clinical Outcomes Utilizing Revascularization and Aggressive Drug Evaluation). J Am Coll Cardiol. 2013;62(20):1826-1833. doi:10.1016/j.jacc.2013.07.051 AskMayoExpert. Hyperlipidemia: Screening for coronary artery disease (adult). Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2018.

13. AskMayoExpert. Hyperlipidemia: Treatment. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2018.

14. FDA drug safety communication: Important safety label changes to cholesterol-lowering statins drugs. https://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/ucm293101.htm. Accessed Dec. 6, 2018.

15. Singh K, Rohatgi A. Examining the paradox of high high-density lipoprotein and elevated cardiovascular risk. J Thorac Dis. 2018;10(1):109-112. doi:10.21037/jtd.2017.12.97 

16. American Heart Association. American Heart Association Recommendations for Physical Activity in Adults and Kids. Updated April 18, 2018.

17. Weissglas-Volkov D, Pajukanta P. Genetic causes of high and low serum HDL-cholesterol. J Lipid Res. 2010;51(8):2032-2057. doi:10.1194/jlr.R004739

18. Wilkins JT, Ning H, Stone NJ, et al. Coronary Heart Disease Risks Associated with High Levels of HDL Cholesterol. J Am Heart Assoc. 2014;3(2):e000519. doi:10.1161/JAHA.113.000519

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