Both high blood pressure and high cholesterol are directly related to an inactive, sedentary lifestyle and poor diet. Unfortunately, the millions who suffer from high cholesterol also suffer from high blood pressure, which raises the question of whether or not there is a direct relationship between the two conditions.
High blood pressure and high cholesterol are two major causes of heart disease and stroke. Although these symptoms are common and preventable, approximately two-thirds of adults with high cholesterol and the other half with high blood pressure are unable to control it. As a result, more needs to be done to address these health risks.
It is necessary to take action when you have more than one risk factor for heart disease, such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
These risk factors don’t work independently — they work together to cause more damage to your blood vessels and heart. If left unchecked, it can lead to disastrous consequences such as: Heart attackstroke, kidney dysfunction, and vision loss. Therefore, if you have two or more risk factors, it is essential to make lifestyle changes to reduce your risk and protect your health.
High cholesterol – an overview
If you are diagnosed with high cholesterol, your blood contains more cholesterol than what is considered healthy.
Cholesterol is a fatty substance that the body needs to produce hormones, produce vitamin D, and form healthy cells. We produce some of it in our bodies, while some of it comes from our food. However, too much cholesterol in the blood can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, heart attack, and stroke.
When cholesterol is too high, it can stick to artery walls, forming a fatty buildup that hardens over time. It builds up plaque that can damage arteries, making them stiff and narrow and causing blood to not flow smoothly. If an artery becomes too narrow, a blood clot can block blood flow, resulting in a severe cardiovascular event.
Genetic and lifestyle factors can lead to high cholesterol, with many different genes associated with the condition. A diet high in cholesterol and saturated fat, not getting enough exercise, and smoking all contribute to this lifestyle. In addition, certain diseases and medications, such as low thyroid hormone levels, nephrotic syndrome, steroids, protease inhibitors, and some birth control pills, can also cause high cholesterol.
Understanding the relationship between cholesterol and blood pressure
If you’ve been diagnosed with high cholesterol, you may already be taking medications and making lifestyle changes to help lower your levels. However, paying attention to blood pressure is also essential because individuals with high cholesterol often end up dealing with high blood pressure as well.
The CDC reports that about half of adults in the United States have high blood pressure, but only half receive appropriate treatment. In addition, two-thirds of American adults suffer from high cholesterol, while only one-third receive the necessary treatment.
So what is high blood pressure? The American Heart Association states that high blood pressure occurs when the pressure of blood on the walls of blood vessels is too high.
For further illustration, think of an old garden hose, full of dirt and stiff with age. You have to turn the tap high enough to get the water out with enough pressure. Likewise, if you have high blood pressure, your heart and arteries have to work harder to pump blood through them because the arteries narrow due to the buildup of cholesterol.
It forces your heart to turn the tap up and push blood through to get enough oxygen and nutrients to all the body organs that need it, which increases your blood pressure.
The long-term effects of high blood pressure can damage arteries and other blood vessels, as they cannot carry a steady, high-pressure flow. Damage to these vessels can lead to ruptures and other forms of damage, providing a home for cholesterol buildup.
High levels of cholesterol in the blood can lead to plaque buildup and narrowing of the arteries, which puts extra stress on the heart to pump blood. This vicious cycle of high pressure and cholesterol puts extra stress on the heart and other organs, such as the eyes, kidneys, and brain.
The interaction between high cholesterol and high blood pressure is more complex than previously thought. When these conditions occur together, their effects are compounded to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, such as heart disease and stroke. Therefore, treating both conditions is more effective in reducing this risk than treating either one alone. Furthermore, high cholesterol is associated with high blood pressure, so it is essential to look for other risk factors and treat them when one is present.
Take steps to control your cholesterol and blood pressure
High cholesterol and high blood pressure are the most common risk factors for heart disease. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to reduce your risk of heart disease.
It is essential to stay in touch with your doctor and monitor your blood pressure and cholesterol levels closely. In addition, lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking, exercising regularly, eating a balanced and nutritious diet, and maintaining a healthy weight can help maintain cardiovascular health and protect against any adverse effects.
Manage your cholesterol and blood pressure like a pro
Focus on eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise to control high cholesterol. However, it is always a good idea to consult a dietitian who can create a plan tailored to your needs.
HealthifyPRO 2.0 comes with a metabolic panel to help you measure your levels and a smart scale to monitor your weight and BMI. With this information, HealthifyPRO’s nutritionists and fitness coaches can put together a diet and exercise routine that doesn’t require drastic changes to your lifestyle.
Plus, HealthifyPRO is powered by an AI, Ria, that can analyze your meals and break them down into macronutrients and micronutrients. This way, you can identify any major contributors that caused you to exceed your calorie limit.
Potential health risks
Here are the possible health risks from high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
The condition in which the buildup of plaque in the arteries leads to blockage and narrowing of the lumen, hardening of the walls, making them fragile.
CAD, or coronary artery disease, refers to the buildup of plaque in the arteries directly connected to the heart. It can lead to a heart attack, heart failure and eventually death.
peripheral arterial disease;
Plaque buildup in the arteries connected to the extremities can cause lameness or pain when walking or moving the extremities. In addition, severe blockages can lead to ischemia, where insufficient blood reaches the lower extremities resulting in non-healing wounds that eventually require amputation.
When blood flow to the throat, neck, and brain is obstructed by plaque deposits, it is called carotid atherosclerosis and can lead to stroke.
Plaque is deposited in the blood vessels and blood supply to the intestines, which leads to severe pain after eating meals and losing weight.
There is a direct relationship between high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Left unmanaged, either way can be difficult to control; However, with proper diet and exercise, it can be controlled. To ensure that these conditions are diagnosed at an early stage, regular testing is essential. They are closely related because high cholesterol causes plaque to build up and block the arteries, which restricts blood flow and causes an increase in blood pressure, which in turn puts more stress on the heart.
Reference meal plan for cholesterol management
For your reference, here is a diet to help manage your cholesterol levels.
- Make: 2
- Sambar: 1 cup
- Tomato sauce: 1 tsp
- Milk (toned): 1 cup
Medium apple: 1
- Multigrain chapati – 2
- 1 cup fish curry with 80-100 grams of fish
- Cabbage Sabzi 1 cup
- Tomato and cucumber salad 1 cup
- Boiled green gram sprouts with lemon: 1 cup
- Green tea: 1 cup
- Multigrain chapati: 2
- Palak Dal: 1 cup
- Green Bean Sabzi: 1/2 cup
- Vegetable salad: 1 cup
Other ways to manage high cholesterol
Effective management of high blood pressure and cholesterol includes making lifestyle changes and taking medications when necessary.
The American Heart Association recommends getting at least 150 minutes of aerobic exercise per week, such as walking, running, or cycling.
A healthy diet should include plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and nuts while limiting saturated fat to less than 6% of your daily calories. In addition, red meat, foods high in salt, and sugary foods and drinks should be avoided. A vegetarian diet is very beneficial.
Losing 5-10% of excess weight can also help lower cholesterol and blood pressure.
Smoking and alcohol consumption should be avoided or limited, because smoking destroys high-density lipids (HDL) or “good cholesterol,” and alcohol increases triglycerides in the body and thus raises blood pressure.
If lifestyle changes are not effective, it is best to consult a doctor and get regular check-ups. Commonly prescribed medications include statins to lower cholesterol and RAS blockers to control blood pressure, which can reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack.
The last word
Although they may not show signs, high cholesterol and high blood pressure should not be overlooked, especially if they are seen together.
In addition, exercising and eating a diet rich in heart-healthy foods can significantly reduce your chances of having a heart attack or stroke in the future.
Some people may need medication to lower their numbers, depending on the situation. Talk to your healthcare provider to find out what your risk of heart disease is and what you can do to avoid further heart problems and strokes.