Cholesterol is a type of fat found in the bloodstream and body cells. However, it is vital for various body functions, such as hormone production and the formation of cell membranes. In addition, too much cholesterol can be harmful to our health. High cholesterol levels in the blood, also known as hypercholesterolemia, can lead to a range of health problems.
Lipoproteins carry cholesterol in the bloodstream, which comprises proteins and fats. There are two types of lipoproteins, including:
LDL cholesterol is often called "bad" cholesterol because it can accrue in the arteries walls and increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. On the other hand, HDL cholesterol is known as "good" cholesterol because it helps remove extra cholesterol from the bloodstream and protects against heart disease like attack or stroke.
High cholesterol can significantly affect the human body, affecting various organs and systems. When LDL cholesterol levels are too high, it can build up cholesterol in the arteries walls. This is a condition which is known as atherosclerosis. This buildup can narrow the arteries and restrict blood flow, increasing the risk of various health problems, such as:
Further, serious health problems and high cholesterol can also contribute to developing other conditions such as gallstones and fatty liver disease. It can also affect the function of the pancreas, which produces insulin, leading to insulin resistance and diabetes.
Many risk factors can contribute to high cholesterol levels in the blood. In addition, in order to avoid these risks, people have to makes some changes in their lifestyle changes as some risk factors can be modify. On the other hand, others are non-modifiable, such as age and genetics, that can’t be modified. In addition, here are some common risks that can cause higher cholesterol problems.
A major modifiable risk factor for high cholesterol is an unhealthy diet. Consuming foods high in saturated and trans fats can increase the level of cholesterol in the blood. For example, foods like fatty meats, full-fat dairy products, fried foods, and baked goods made with hydrogenated oil. They can contribute to high cholesterol levels. People should eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins as they may help reduce their risk of high cholesterol.
Physical inactivity is another risk factor for high cholesterol. Regular exercise can help raise HDL cholesterol levels, which can help remove excess cholesterol from the bloodstream. Conversely, a sedentary lifestyle can lead to high LDL cholesterol levels.
Genetics may also play a role in determining cholesterol levels. Some people may have a genetic predisposition to high cholesterol, even if they maintain a healthy lifestyle. Additionally, genetic disorders, such as familial hypercholesterolemia, can cause high cholesterol levels.
Smoking is also a modifiable risk factor for high cholesterol. Smoking damages the walls of blood vessels, which can lead to the accumulation of cholesterol and other substances in the walls of the arteries. Additionally, smoking can lower the level of HDL cholesterol in the blood.
High cholesterol can lead to various complications affecting different body parts. These complications may arise due to the cholesterol accumulation in the walls of the arteries that leads to atherosclerosis. In addition, dysfunction of other organs, such as the liver, can also be the reason of occurring high cholesterol complications. There are some life-threatening complications that one may have to face, such as:
High cholesterol can also affect the liver, causing fatty liver disease. When the liver can't process excess cholesterol, it can accumulate in the liver cells that can cause inflammation. This can cause liver damage and increase the risk of liver cancer.
In addition, high cholesterol can contribute to the gallstones formation that can cause huge pain and other symptoms of high cholesterol.
Controlling high cholesterol is essential to reduce the risk of associated health problems. Several lifestyle changes can help manage high cholesterol levels, including:
In addition, it is a good idea to consult with a doctor or professional as they have excellent knowledge of this field and will suggest the best possible suggestion. Apart from this, Statins are a class of drugs commonly used to lower cholesterol levels. These medicines work by stopping the production of cholesterol in the liver. Other medications, such as bile acid sequestrants and cholesterol absorption inhibitors, may also be used to control high cholesterol levels.