Cholesterol and Heart Diseases – Exposed

You must have heard of the term blood lipids? Which is a medical name given to all the fatty substance in the blood, including cholesterol? Cholesterol is a soft, fat-like, waxy substance found in the bloodstream and in all body cells. It is produced by the body, and is important for the body to function properly. In fact, the body makes about 80 per cent, the rest 20 per cent comes from dietary sources. Without cholesterol, our bodies would be unable to function properly. About half of American adults have high level of cholesterol and about 1 in 5 has a high-risk zone level.

Cholesterol is particularly important in the formation of brain cells, nerve tissue, and the spinal cord. It helps to produce bile that metabolizes fat soluble vitamins such as A, D, E, and K. But too much cholesterol in the blood is a major risk for coronary heart disease and stroke.

As we all know, fat deposits in the arterial wall is the major cause of Coronary Artery Disease (CAD). The deposits of fats in the arteries make the wall narrower and so reduce blood flow to the heart muscles (myocardium). The arteries can become clogged and narrow, and blood flow reduced. If this plaque ruptures, a blood clot may form here or a piece may break off and travel in the bloodstream. If a blood clot blocks the blood flow to your heart, it causes a heart attack. If a blood clot blocks an artery leading to the brain, a stroke results. This whole process is more likely to happen to a person with a high level of bad blood cholesterol in the blood.

But Cholesterol is difficult to measure because the level in the blood includes several different types, and put simply, there are good and bad cholesterol in our body. There is enough evidence to show that the risk of Coronary heart disease rises as total cholesterol level increases.

First get to know the different types of cholesterol to determine which one is actually a threat to our health. Blood cholesterol is referred to as total cholesterol (TC) and there are two types:

High Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol (HDL-C) often called the good cholesterol helps to protect against heart diseases. This type of cholesterol transfers the fatty deposits away from the arteries and they are usually low in hyperinsulinism which is dangerous to the heart.

Low-density Lipoprotein Cholesterol (LDL-C) is a bad form of cholesterol which deposits blood fats in the arteries and therefore is associated with increased risk of heart attack. Triglycerides are another common type of fat in the body. They’re a good energy source that our body also makes mostly. High levels of blood triglycerides are often found in people who are overweight, have high cholesterol levels, heart problems, and diabetes.

So, we no know that a measure of cholesterol by itself does not count since if the cholesterol level is high, it may be due to high HDL-C (good one) or high LDL-C (bad one). So a breakdown of the type of cholesterol has to be measured.

There is enough evidence to show that the risk of heart disease rises as total cholesterol (TC) and LDL-C levels increases. And because HDL-C is the good cholesterol, it is expected that high level of it will help lower the risk of coronary heart disease. So high level of HDL-C appears to neutralize the potential adverse effect of raised total cholesterol level in our blood.

Blood cholesterol level are measured by blood test and the ideal total is less than 5.0mmol/L. for instance, in the Framingham Heart study, people with a total cholesterol level of about 6.5mmol/L had a heart attack risk two or three times higher than people with level less than 5mmol/L.

Your genetic makeup is partly responsible for determining your blood cholesterol level. Some families carry genes for raised level of various kinds of blood fats. But in all, diet plays the most important role in determining cholesterol levels in the body.

Animal and dairy fats like beef, pork, eggs, cheese, some vegetable oil raises blood cholesterol, do the first step of preventing heart diseases significantly in both men and women is to reduce the amount of saturated or animal fats contents in meals. But rather, replace animal and dairy fats with vegetable fats which are low-saturated and may lower
blood cholesterol. Eat more of fruits, wholegrain meal, and fresh vegetables. Do physical activities at least 30 minutes on most or all days of the week.

Many people who have angina or a heart attack have high lipid level which are partly as a result of diet and partly genetic. By good and careful dieting plan, you can reduce blood cholesterol levels by 10-20 per cent. For greater lowering of cholesterol, drugs are usually necessary. Drugs like Statins, Resins and Fibrates are very useful. See your doctor for effective treatment plan.

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