Cholesterol is a type of lipid, a waxy or fat-like substance that our liver produces naturally. It is an essential factor for the formation of cell membranes, specific layers, hormones, and vitamin D. Even if the body itself produces cholesterol, we gain extra cholesterol from the food we consume which can lead to trouble. Cholesterol plays important functions including, helping the cell membrane to form protective layers which control the cells to prevent entering unwanted substances into the body. It helps the liver to produce bile which is required in the digestion process. It also supports the body in producing certain hormones.
Although cholesterol is important for health, overconsumption of fat-contained food is unhealthy and triggers the liver.
High levels of cholesterol build plaque deposits which is a fatty substance formed in the blood vessels. This lead to a high risk of having a heart attack, stroke, or other health problem.
There are primarily two types of cholesterol which are low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL). In the human body, LDL is known as bad cholesterol while HDL is known as good cholesterol.
Overproduction of LDL cholesterol contributes to the fatty buildup in the arteries which eventually leads to blockage and increases the person’s risk to have several health conditions such as heart attack, stroke, and peripheral artery diseases. Whereas HDL is considered a good cholesterol that helps to lower the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. HDL transports LDL cholesterol back to the liver where the liver breaks it down and removes the excess cholesterol from the body.
Triglycerides are fat carried in the blood from the food a person consumes. Extra calories, alcohol, fatty food, dairy products, or sugar turn into triglycerides and shore in fat cells throughout the body.
If the person wants to get out of risk it is important to maintain the level of cholesterol in the body. In some cases, the body does not show any kind of symptoms when the level increases. A regular checkup of the blood shows the level in the blood which is called a lipid profile. For an effective test result, a person needs to fast for 8-12 hours.
Level Of Cholesterol In The Human Body
Cholesterol levels may increase with age. Sometimes it can even increase to a dangerously high level. It is important to maintain a normal level of cholesterol in the blood to avoid health issues. Taking steps to maintain the level earlier in life may prevent it from becoming dangerous over time. Children are less likely to have high cholesterol so the doctor recommends checking twice a year. Typically male cholesterol level increases throughout life than female. Studies show that females tend to have high cholesterol levels after menopause. The result of cholesterol is calculated in form of numbers. Total cholesterol is a measure of LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and other lipid components which is present in the blood. The cholesterol level can guide us to control the amount of cholesterol in the body.
Cholesterol Level Test
The total cholesterol level is calculated within a specific range, with LDL being lower and HDL being higher. Total blood cholesterol is calculated by adding HDL and LDL cholesterol levels and 20% of triglyceride levels. If the person is having total cholesterol level over 200 mg/dl that condition is known as hyperlipidemia. If someone has triglycerides above 150mg/dL they are diagnosed with hypertriglyceridemia which indicates too many triglycerides in the blood. Triglyceride levels over 500 mg/dL indicate moderate hypertriglyceridemia and blood level shows over 886 mg/dl indicates severe hypertriglyceridemia.
Factors That Increase Cholesterol Levels Over 500
- Diet– unhealthy food is the major factor to increases the level of cholesterol in the body. Food that contains trans fat, saturated fat, and sugar raises the total LDL cholesterol level. Cutting off such food and including healthy food can control the rise of cholesterol to some extent.
- Lack of Physical activity: if the person is not physically active the fat deposit in the body will not burn. The calories which are gained by eating unhealthy food remain in the body and produce cholesterol. So increased physical activity helps to lower the LDL and rise HDL cholesterol levels.
- Weight: being overweight increases the risk of having a high level of LDL cholesterol level and a lower HDL level.
- Type 2 diabetes: diabetes lowers the good cholesterol level in the blood and rise triglycerides. An unhealthy diet or poor nutrition and low physical activity are considered the prime factor which drives the disease.
- High blood pressure: high blood pressure does not cause high cholesterol but it shares similar risk factors like lack of exercise, aging, obesity, and unhealthy diet. And both conditions increase the chance to have heart disease.
- Smoking: smoking damages the blood vessels, which collect fatty deposits in the blood vessels
How To Control The High Levels Of Cholesterol
- Limit refined carbohydrates and high amounts of sugar-contained foods such as candy, chips, soda, baked products, ice cream, etc
- Avoid trans food and reduce saturated fat intake
- Eat small, fatty fish which includes sardines, trout, and salmon
- Practice exercise for at least 30-490 minutes per day
- Contro overweights and maintains a healthy body.
- Include fiber-rich food such as whole grains, legumes, veggies, and fruits, and gradually increase the intake.
- If the cholesterol level is high and uncontrollable, consult a doctor and consume prescribed supplements.