Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance. Some body hormones are made from it, and it is a crucial part of the ouster wall of every cell in our body. Only one-third of your cholesterol comes from your diet: the other two-thirds is produced by your liver. In your blood, cholesterol attaches to carries called lipoproteins. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) carry cholesterol into the wall of your arteries, where it can build up and block blood flow. That’s why LDL cholesterol is called “bad” cholesterol. High-density lipoprotein (HDL) snatch cholesterol away from the artery wall, then carry it to the liver where it is dumped into the intestines and passed out of your body. That’s why HDL cholesterol is called “good” cholesterol.
Cholesterol is a major cause of atherosclerosis ( hardening of the arteries). Then atherosclerosis strikes the coronary arteries, it leads to angina and heart attacks. When it hits arteries that supply blood to the brain, it can cause a stroke. When it involves leg arteries, it causes peripheral artery disease. To prevent these illnesses, protect your arteries by controlling blood pressured blood sugar as well as correct any problems with cholesterol.
A heart healthy lifestyle is important, even for people on cholesterol-lowering medication. You should reduce your intake of saturated fats which are found in many animal products such as red meat, poultry skin, and whole dairy products. Reduce your consumption of transfers which are found in partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, fried foods and many snacks. Limit your dietary cholesterol, simple sugars and rapidly absorbed carbohydrates including white bread, white rice, soft drinks and sugary snacks and desserts. Eat lots of fish, high-fiber and whole grain products, fruits, vegetables and nuts. Cook with olive or canola oil. Manage your weight by limiting your intake of calorie-dense foods and limit portion sizes.
Participating in regular exercise can help boost your HDL cholesterol. Exercise will also help you burn unwanted calories and protect your hear by lowering blood pressure and blood sugar. Make sure you discuss your exercise program with your doctor. Exercise along with a healthy diet will help you lower your LDL cholesterol and raise your HDL cholesterol. Stick with a balanced diet and exercise plan for slow and steady weight loss. You should avoid tobacco as it has a double whammy of rising your LDL cholesterol and lowering your HDL cholesterol. Smoking also damages your heart, lungs, and many other organs. The only safe dose of tobacco is zero!
Even with a healthy lifestyle, many people need medicines to reach their cholesterol goals. Your doctor will discuss what medications may be right for you.