IS CHOLESTEROL REALLY THE BAD GUY?
Cholesterol is a form of fat found in the blood and all cells of the body. It is also known as the “Silent Killer” because there are no visible signs of increased cholesterol in one’s body. It’s almost too late when the signs of high cholesterol start blocking the arteries and compromises with the heart’s function potentially leading to a heart attack.
Though, at optimal levels, Cholesterol has four primary functions, without which we could not survive. It,
- Allows the body to produce Vitamin D
- Enables the body to produce hormones which regulate the body functions
- Produces bile acids in the intestine that help the body in digesting fat
- Provides extra support and stability to the cell membrane that surrounds all the cells in human body.
Cholesterol is waxy, fat-like substance that doesn’t mix well with the blood. Fats are insoluble in water and can therefore not be transported in blood on its own, Therefore, the body transports fat & cholesterol by coating them with a protein, which is known as “Lipoprotein”.
The cholesterol in the body is measured by performing a complete fasting lipoprotein profile (also known as lipid profile test or simply blood test). The test measures four major components:
High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL):
It is also known as the “good” cholesterol. It carries excess cholesterol from different body parts back to the liver to be broken down and be removed from the body. The higher the HDL, the lower is the risk of developing a heart disease.
Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL):
It is also known as the “bad” cholesterol. It carries cholesterol to the tissues where it gets stored. A high LDL level leads to a buildup of cholesterol in arteries, which carry blood from the heart to body. This can lead to heart blockages. The higher the LDL, the higher is the risk of developing a heart disease.
Total Blood Cholesterol (TBC):
It’s a composite (total) of the three types of cholesterols (mentioned below). A person’s TBC score is calculated by adding the HDL and LDL cholesterol levels and 20 percent of Triglyceride level.
They are a type of fat that human body uses as a source of energy. People with high triglyceride levels often have high TBC level, high LDL, and low HDL levels. The lower the Triglyceride levels, the better it is.
High Cholesterol is associated with a variety of serious health issues such as Heart Disease or Stroke, Varicose Veins, Diabetes & High Blood Pressure
The below ranges are guidelines and it is advisable to consult a doctor to understand the ideal values that would pertain to your specific situation.
|GOOD||<200||>=60|| < 100
(100-129) is ok
TABLE: Typical values for components of cholesterol measured in mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter)
MANAGE HIGH CHOLESTEROL
The good news is that it is possible to lower your cholesterol to optimal levels via lifestyle changes and healthy nutrition intake.
Lifestyle should include eating healthy food, exercising and losing weight to appropriately manage the fat content in your body, limiting/quitting smoking and consuming alcohol in moderation
Healthy Nutrition food intake that helps reduce cholesterol include whole grains, fiber from fruits, vegetables, flax seeds and fatty fish.
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My22BMI is a digital healthcare startup addressing the problem of managing lifestyle diseases through personalised diet plans. My22BMI empower lives to eat healthy and smartly and believe food should be your first medicine. The expert health coaches provide personalised diet plans for heart health, gut health, skin & hair health, weight management, mother & child nutrition and hormonal health. Download our Android app from the Google playstore.