Cholesterol is a fat-like substance that is essential for all of us. The liver produces and uses this fatty substance that circulates in the blood.
It is vital for the synthesis of bile acids, vitamin D, and hormones, all of which aid in the digestion of food. Notably, cholesterol is an essential part of every cell membrane in the body.
Excess cholesterol levels in the blood are known as hyperlipidemia. They are the main risk factor for cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, and strokes. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), from 2015 to 2018, nearly 29 million Americans ages 20 and older had high cholesterol.
Based on scientific research, this article highlights important facts about high cholesterol that you need to know.
High cholesterol – an overview
Hyperlipidemia, or high cholesterol, occurs when your blood contains excess lipids (fats). However, certain types of cholesterol are essential for good health. Cholesterol is essential for critical physiological processes in your body.
Cholesterol can be divided into two categories: high-density lipoprotein (HDL), also known as “good cholesterol,” and low-density lipoprotein (LDL), commonly referred to as “bad cholesterol.” Adults with a total blood cholesterol level of 240 mg/dL or higher are considered to have high cholesterol levels.
If your body has “bad cholesterol” or bad cholesterol, The walls of blood vessels can become clogged. Atherosclerosis results from the buildup of excess cholesterol in the arteries and the formation of fatty deposits known as “plaques”. This buildup can limit blood flow to and from your heart and other organs by narrowing your blood vessels. When blood flow to the heart is restricted, angina (chest pain) and a heart attack or stroke can occur.
The “good cholesterol,” or high-density lipoproteins (HDL), transports cholesterol from other parts of the body to the liver. After that, the liver expels it from the body. As a result, HDL cholesterol levels may be a biomarker for the prevention of heart disease.
High cholesterol: How common is it?
Most of the time, there are no symptoms of high cholesterol. As a result, you may not realize that your cholesterol levels are exceeding the normal range, which can lead to cardiovascular disorders such as heart attack and stroke. In addition, it can lead to complications due to the accumulation of excessive cholesterol.
More than 4 in 10 Americans have high total cholesterol in the United States. One-third of every ten Americans also have LDL cholesterol levels of 130 mg/dL or higher. And nearly two in ten Americans have an HDL level of less than 40 mg/dL.
According to the World Health Organization, high cholesterol is estimated to cause 2.6 million deaths worldwide. In 2008, 39% of people globally (37% of men and 40% of women) had high total cholesterol. In addition, high cholesterol is a contributing factor to one third of all cases of ischemic heart disease.
She points out that total cholesterol, a risk factor for ischemic heart disease and stroke, is an important factor in disease burden in both developed and developing countries.
High cholesterol: causes and effects
Cholesterol levels can be elevated in healthy young adults, too. Older adults are more likely to have high cholesterol. As you age, your metabolism changes, and your liver becomes less able to get rid of LDL cholesterol. Excess body weight can also increase the risk because it reduces the body’s ability to get rid of LDL cholesterol.
Read more: The most important foods for increasing HDL cholesterol
Cholesterol levels can affect even healthy young adults, especially if they come from a family with a history of heart disease or high cholesterol.
In addition, a person’s genetic makeup may make it more difficult for the body to get rid of LDL cholesterol. As a result, people may have higher cholesterol levels even if they are physically active and healthy.
Everyone should have their cholesterol checked routinely, regardless of age or health status. The American Heart Association recommends cholesterol screening for children ages 9 to 11.
For people over the age of 20, it’s a good idea to check your cholesterol levels at least once every four to six years. However, if a person is taking medications or has other risk factors, they may need additional testing.
According to the National Institutes of Health, the cholesterol level chart below shows healthy levels of cholesterol by age.
- Anyone 19 years of age or younger: Less than 170 mg/dL
- Men 20 years of age or older: 125-200 mg/dL
- Women 20 years of age or older: 125-200 mg/dL
- Anyone 19 years of age or younger: Less than 120 mg/dL
- Men 20 years of age or older: less than 130 mg/dL
- Women 20 years of age or older: less than 130 mg/dL
- Anyone 19 years of age or younger: Less than 100 mg/dL
- Men 20 years of age or older: less than 100 mg/dL
- Women 20 years of age or older: less than 100 mg/dL
- Anyone 19 years of age or younger: More than 45 mg/dL
- Men 20 years of age or older: 40 mg/dL
- Women 20 years of age or older: 50 mg/dL
Regular cholesterol testing helps determine if you have high cholesterol. A cholesterol level of 240 mg/dL or higher falls under “dangerously high cholesterol levels.” The average blood cholesterol level is less than 200 mg/dL. Between 200 and 239 mg/dL is considered high.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children have total cholesterol levels less than 170 mg/dL.
Ways to manage high cholesterol
You can do many things to lower your cholesterol and keep it healthy. Some people can make heart-healthy lifestyle changes to lower their cholesterol levels. Others may need medication.
Read more: How to reduce and control high blood cholesterol?
You can do the following to control your cholesterol:
- Exercise: Adults should get 150 to 300 minutes of moderate exercise per week.
- Quit Smoking: Smoking damages blood vessels and atherosclerosis, which greatly increases the risk of heart disease. If you don’t smoke or stop, your risk of heart disease will be lower.
- Eat healthy foods: Avoid foods that are high in saturated fat. Instead, choose food options that are naturally high in fiber and unsaturated fats.
- enough sleep: Sleep at least seven hours every night.
- Weight loss: Shedding a few pounds to reach a healthy weight
- Reduce your alcohol consumption
- Avoid stress
- Check your cholesterol at least every five years.
If your cholesterol is dangerously high, you may increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. Knowing how other factors, such as food and family history, affect your risk is crucial because some people are more likely to develop heart disease than others. If this is the case, you will need to continue to practice a healthy lifestyle. You’ll also need to continue taking your medications and attend follow-up appointments with your provider. On the other hand, you may not have serious health problems if you and your doctor can control your cholesterol level.
Maintain healthy cholesterol levels like a pro
We need to make small changes in our lifestyle to stay healthy. One of these changes is to reduce your intake of saturated fats. In addition to lifestyle modifications, some require interventions through medication to maintain healthy cholesterol. While taking medications recommended by your primary care physician can be beneficial, you can also get the most benefit from these medications by changing your lifestyle.
Discuss your medical history and lifestyle choices with your dietitian. Your healthcare provider will create a plan to lower your cholesterol levels.
The easiest way to improve your overall health and fitness is to subscribe to the HealthifyMe app. Speaking with HealthifyMe’s qualified coaches can help you understand in depth the implications of diet and lifestyle.
Plus, thanks to the more than 60 metabolic panel test parameters in the latest version of this app, HealthifyPro 2.0, you can get real-time information about your health. You can tailor your meals and lifestyle according to healthy blood sugar levels and standards with the help of qualified nutritionists.
HealthifyMe, India’s leading digital health and fitness platform, creates highly individualized, tried and true diet plans based on your current state of health. After signing up, you can choose the health and fitness coach that works to lower your cholesterol levels.
As a result, millions of customers can take advantage of a wide range of premium options to help them achieve their goals.
The effects of food and activities vary from person to person. In fact, even as you pursue food-related choices, you can use HealthifyPRO as an assistant.
HealthifyMe also provides users with information and encourages them to make informed decisions. As a result, it makes it possible for you to live a healthy life.
Through a one-on-one consultation with a HealthifyMe health coach, you can develop a diet and exercise plan tailored to your specific health requirements. In addition, you can use HealthifyPRO and HealthifyPRO 2.0 to monitor your diet, activity, and other health-related factors to see what you’re doing right and wrong to lower your cholesterol levels.
High cholesterol is silent, but deadly. You may not be aware that it has been in your blood for a long time. There are no symptoms of high cholesterol levels. The only way to find out is to have a quick blood test.
High cholesterol affects people of all ages, including those who exercise regularly and are otherwise healthy. Lifestyle change is the only way to control high cholesterol. Reducing salt or sodium intake is crucial to lowering cholesterol.
In addition, smoking is a significant risk factor for cardiovascular disease and vascular problems. Therefore, quit smoking and using tobacco products.
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