People often say that they’re suffering from cholesterol problems, but do you know what exactly cholesterol is?
Cholesterol is a fat-like matter with a waxy structure, found in every cell of the human body. It is quite essential for producing Vitamin D & hormones, building healthy cells, and improving digestion. Our body automatically produces the necessary amount of cholesterol. Our body can also acquire it through various food items obtained from animals such as meat, milk, cheese, and eggs, etc. A specific amount of cholesterol is proven to be good for the body. If it’s present in too high or too low amount, then it can lead to various health issues.
Why low or high cholesterol is unsafe?
Cholesterol is not a water-soluble substance, which is why it can’t move across the whole body through blood. Therefore, some particles produced from the fat/lipid are used to transport it. These particles are known as Lipoproteins. There are many different kinds of lipoproteins, but the two most important ones are called Low-Density Lipoproteins (LDL) & High-Density Lipoproteins (LDL).
- Low-density lipoproteins (LDL)
LDL is commonly known as ‘bad cholesterol’ as it can lead to serious health issues. High amounts of LDL can lead to deposition of cholesterol in the arteries, in the form of plaque. As the blood is carried to your whole body through arteries, the plaque causes blockage in the blood flow. Therefore, it leads to many serious health issues like Stroke, Heart Attack, etc.
- High-density lipoproteins (HDL)
Also known as the ‘good cholesterol’, HDL facilitates the removal of LDL from the body by sending it back to the liver. Thus, it helps in preventing health issues caused by low-density lipoproteins.
HIGH CHOLESTEROL (HC) – CAUSES & SYMPTOMS
If the LDL levels increase to a very high level in the body, it can cause high cholesterol. If you have high cholesterol, then it can cause blockage in your arteries and restrict the blood flow. This blockage is caused due to accumulation of cholesterol (as plaque) in the arteries. Thus, the blood is not able to flow properly through the whole body and can easily lead to Heart Attack or Stroke.
High cholesterol level causes
There are many different causes behind high cholesterol, some of which are listed below:
- No physical exercise can also lead to HC as all the organs and body systems work like a machine. If you don’t use a machine for a long time, it gets jammed internally & eventually stops working.
- Being overweight or obese is also the biggest reason behind this problem. So people with body mass index (BMI) greater than 30 are more likely to suffer from HC.
- Saturated fat products like milk, cheese, processed meats, bakery items, and high-fat meats, etc. can lead to HC.
- Heavy smokers are also highly prone to this problem. Smoking a lot of cigarettes can cause damage to arteries by forming lesions inside them. This leads to blockage in the blood flow, which is the main reason behind heart attacks and strokes.
- Diabetes is one of the main reasons behind the decrease in the HDL levels and an increase in the LDL levels. Thus, it can cause HC and various health problems related to it.
High cholesterol symptoms
Although, there are no specific symptoms of HC, yet there are a few that might point towards the problem. These include high blood pressure, blood circulatory issues, obese body, diabetes, stroke, angina, male impotency, and yellowish soft bumps on the skin, etc.
LOW CHOLESTEROL (HC) – SYMPTOMS & CAUSES
Low LDL levels are considered to be good for the human body, but very low levels of LDL can lead to Low Cholesterol. This happens when the LDL levels drop below the ideal level i.e. 40mg LDL per 10ml of blood. Thus, it can lead to serious health issues like psychological problems, pregnancy complications & the development of cancer.
What causes low cholesterol
Some of the main causes behind LC include the following.
- As the liver is responsible for metabolizing the saturated fat in the body, liver disorders can obstruct this process. Thus, it causes an imbalance in cholesterol levels and leads to LC problems.
- Medical research has proven that patients with Leukemia are often suffering from low cholesterol due to an excessive decrease in LDL levels.
- The deficiency of manganese can also lead to LC.
- Overactive thyroid or Hyperthyroidism can lead to an extreme drop in the LDL levels, causing low cholesterol.
- Other common causes include lack of nourishment, adrenal insufficiency, statins, and malabsorption, etc.
LC symptoms & diagnosis
For LC also, there are no specific symptoms but there are many that might indicate the presence of this problem. These include sleep disorders, sudden mood changes, emotional distress, depression, understandability issues, pregnancy complications, cancer, stroke & irrational thinking, etc.
Both high cholesterol and low cholesterol can be diagnosed by a general physician. For this, the Lipoprotein panel blood test is performed to check the LDL levels in the body.
How to cure cholesterol problems?
Exercise and diet are the two most important things responsible for the overall health of our body. Getting involved in physical activities like dance, running, workouts, etc. can help in regulating the organs and systems in the body. Moreover, a healthy diet keeps your body fit and disease-free. Contrarily, poor diet and zero physical activities can cause internal as well as external problems in the body system & organs.
Best exercises to cure cholesterol
- Brisk walking
Brisk walking is great for increasing levels of HDL (good cholesterol) in the body. It also helps in losing weight, improving digestion, building stamina, enhancing metabolism, etc.
Cycling is an excellent full-body workout. Regular cycling helps in improving digestion, boosting metabolism, weight loss, and burning extra fat to balance LDL and HDL levels.
Aerobics is an intense full-body workout that helps in weight loss and removing harmful LDL from the body. It is good to have a twenty minutes aerobics session 3-times a week.
Playing sports helps you to burn down unnecessary fat and losing weight. You can choose to play any sports like basketball, football, cricket, volleyball, etc.
Running includes sprinting and jogging. Always, start with jogging rather than going straight for sprinting, as it will cause muscle cramps.
Swimming is one of the best body workouts to burn excessive fat, lose weight, build stamina and stay healthy. It helps in improving metabolism functioning and thus, helps in lowering the levels of harmful LDL in the body.
Here are the most important factors that you need to consider in your diet.
- Avoid saturated fat foods
Saturated fat food items like dairy products, processed meats, red meat, bakery products, etc. can increase the levels of LDL. Therefore, you need to avoid these foods to maintain the perfect balance between LDL and HDL levels.
- Consume soluble fiber foods
Various foods with soluble fiber help in preventing cholesterol from accumulating and blocking the arteries. Some examples of soluble fiber foods include oatmeal, citrus fruits, sprouts, beans, rice bran, etc.
- Avoid trans-fats
Trans-fats can increase the levels of cholesterol in the body and thus, it is better to cut down these from your diet. Some examples of trans-fats include bakery products, junk foods, frozen snacks, cakes, etc.
- Consume whey protein
Dairy products are known to contain whey proteins. Whey protein can help in reducing the LDL levels and BP levels.
- Consume foods with omega-3 fatty acids
Various foods with omega-3 fatty acids can help in improving the heart-health and reducing BP. Some examples of these foods include salmon, oysters, caviar, walnuts, chia seeds, mackerel, etc.
So these were the best exercises and diet plans to control and cure your cholesterol problem. If you know someone with a cholesterol problem, you may share this blog with them & help them in getting rid of cholesterol. If you are suffering from a cholesterol problem, contact a licensed dietician to get a personalized diet plan for yourself.