Cholesterol is a substance that is similar to fat. It can be found in the cell membranes of all body tissues and is transported through the blood plasma. There is “bad cholesterol” and “good cholesterol” in the human body, and both of them are cholesterol carriers. “Bad” cholesterol carriers are low-density lipoprotein or LDL and deposit cholesterol in the artery walls, thus thickening them-a key cause of heart disease. “Good” cholesterol carriers are high-density lipoprotein or HDL and help to keep the arteries healthy by clearing cholesterol out of the system. When levels of “bad” cholesterol are high, treatment is imperative.
The American Heart Association and the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) suggest that HDL levels should be around 60 mg/dL. If the HDL level count is less than 40 mg, the chances of coronary artery disease are greater. LDL cholesterol levels should be around 130 mg/ dL. A diet rich in saturated and trans fats and low in beneficial fats (monounsaturates and polyunsaturates) can lead to high LDL levels. Smoking, drinking large amounts of alcohol, other poor dietary habits and lack of exercise are all dangerous factors. These are lifestyle habits which need to be altered in the treatment of high cholesterol(http://www.mitamins.com/disease/High-Cholesterol.html).
If your total cholesterol level is less than 200 mg/dL, you are less likely to suffer from a heart attack. For maintaining low cholesterol, a diet full of fruits and fiber and low in fat, is effective. A diet should be low in saturated fat, higher in monounsaturated fats and foods rich in Omega 3 , thus raising the levels of good cholesterol and lowering bad cholesterol.
A significant portion of the adult population in the USA has cholesterol levels of 200 to 239 mg/dL, which are classified as borderline high-risk. It is also dangerous if the HDL level is below 40 mg/dL. If the HDL cholesterol count is high and the LDL count is low, a cholesterol level of 200 to 239 mg/dL may not necessarily represent a borderline high risk. But pay attention if some dangerous factors appear, such as hypertension and diabetes, and make sure to have regular check ups to ensure suitable treatment of high cholesterol(http://www.mitamins.com/disease/High-Cholesterol.html).
A total cholesterol level of 240 or more is considerably high. With cholesterol levels this high, you are at greater risk for heart attack and stroke. At this level, a complete change in dietary habits as well as increase in heart-friendly exercise (such as swimming or walking) is essential. Cholesterol-lowering drugs are included in the the treatment of high cholesterol.
The American Dietetic Association suggests keeping a cholesterol-friendly diet by eating plenty of vegetables, fruits and wholegrain foods. Some other advice is to limit saturated fats by choosing lean cuts of meat, chicken without the skin and low-fat dairy products.Reduce the intake of fattening fast food and processed cakes, sweets and chips. Choose canola or olive oils, which are better for the heart, when cooking. In fish such as mackerel and salmon, nuts and avocadoes, you can also find some other helpful oils. Remember to limit dietary cholesterol(http://www.mitamins.com/disease/High-Cholesterol.html) from egg yollk and meat.