"The essence of health is inner balance" - Andrew Weil

High cholesterol levels

Your liver produces cholesterol which is required for the formation of cell membranes, certain hormones, and vitamin D. It also produces low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) which carry cholesterol through your bloodstream. If your blood contains too much LDL cholesterol (cholesterol carried by low-density lipoprotein), you have a condition called high cholesterol.

Possible Causes: 

Primarily the cause of high cholesterol and low HDL cholesterol is a sedentary lifestyle combined with obesity and an unhealthy eating habit. High cholesterol causes include:

  • Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or "bad" cholesterol, lines the walls of your arteries, hardening and narrowing them.
  • High-density lipoprotein (HDL) or "good" cholesterol, moves the excess cholesterol back to your liver.

In some people due to genetic factors at play, your liver may produce too much cholesterol or a build-up of LDL cholesterol may occur in your blood.

Risk Factors: 

The following factors increase your risk of developing high cholesterol:

  • Age: changes in your body as you age, such as the inability of your liver to remove LDL cholesterol increases your risk.
  • Unhealthy diet: eating saturated fat, trans fats, red meat and full-fat dairy products increases your cholesterol.
  • Obesity: having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more.
  • Exercise: without exercise your body's HDL, or ‘good’ cholesterol does not get a boost and does not reduce the ‘bad’ cholesterol.
  • Smoking: smoking affects the walls of your blood vessels, which then collect fatty deposits.
  • Diabetes: increased blood sugar affects the lining of your arteries and is the culprit behind high levels of a dangerous cholesterol called very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL).  

Signs & Symptoms: 

There are no noticeable symptoms of high cholesterol. A blood test is the only way to detect if you have it. If your test results aren't within desirable ranges, our doctor may insist on regular tests. If you have a family history of high cholesterol, heart disease or other risk factors, such as smoking, diabetes or high blood pressure then your doctor may ask you to test yourself more often.

Diagnosis: 

Get your cholesterol checked regularly at Medcare. Ask your physician how often you should have it checked.

A blood test called lipid profile is done to gauge cholesterol levels. It gives details of the total cholesterol, LDL, HDL and triglycerides in our blood. Depending on the readings, your doctor will decide a line of treatment.

Treatment Options: 

At Medcare, internal medicine specialists will prescribe the best high cholesterol treatment for you.

Changes in your lifestyle, healthy eating habits and exercise are the main treatments recommended for combatting high cholesterol levels in the blood. Despite these modifications if your cholesterol levels continue to remain high, our doctors will recommend medication.

Depending on your age, health and medical history our specialists will usually prescribe statins, bile-acid-binding resins, cholesterol absorption inhibitors or other medications used for people with a genetic condition or those with a history of coronary disease.

FAQs: الأسئلة الشائعة:
  • What foods will help me to control my cholesterol?

    A: Avoid fats found in red meats and dairy products, as well as hydrogenated fats that are present in processed food. You can enjoy unsaturated fats from sources such as olives, fish, avocados and nuts. A high fibre diet is good for you, so do eat whole grains, beans, legumes and flax. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.

  • What is meant by ‘good’ cholesterol?

    A: High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol is called "good" cholesterol because it helps remove other forms of cholesterol from your bloodstream. It picks up excess cholesterol in your blood and takes it back to your liver where it's broken down and removed from your body. Higher levels of HDL cholesterol lower your risk of heart disease.

  • What is ‘bad’ cholesterol?

    A: Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or ‘bad’ cholesterol lines the walls of your arteries, hardening and narrowing them. It causes blockages and increases your risk of a heart attack.

  • What are the symptoms of high cholesterol in the body?

    A: A high level of cholesterol can cause stress on the heart and this can lead to several heart issues. While cholesterol by itself may not have a lot of obvious symptoms, there are a few signs that indirectly indicate the possibility of high cholesterol. 

    For instance, obese people have a higher risk of cholesterol; so if you are over the healthy weight range, it is wise to get yourself tested for cholesterol. Some men who start experiencing signs of impotence along with weight gain could also be experiencing high cholesterol. 

    Need an accurate diagnosis for high cholesterol? Book an appointment with a Medcare specialist today.
     

  • Is high cholesterol really bad?

    A: LDL or low-density lipoproteins and HDL or high-density lipoproteins are the two kinds of cholesterol present in the body. LDL is popularly known as bad cholesterol as high LDL levels can increase the risk of coronary artery disease. This occurs due to a plaque buildup in the arteries of the heart which hardens over a period of time, making the arteries narrow.

    Arteries are responsible for carrying blood into the heart and transport oxygen to the heart. When these arteries become narrow, the heart gets an inadequate amount of oxygen and blood, thereby, leading to heart diseases. So, yes; having high cholesterol can be bad for your heart and health.

    Want to maintain healthy cholesterol levels? Book an appointment with a Medcare specialist today.

  • How do you lower your cholesterol level?

    A: While medication can control cholesterol levels, there are several lifestyle modifications that can help lower cholesterol levels naturally and keep your heart healthy. This includes reducing consumption of red meat, sweets and confectionary, which are rich in trans fat and saturated fat and increase bad cholesterol in the body. 

    On the other hand, consuming foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, or taking supplements can positively affect your cholesterol levels. Lastly, exercising has shown fantastic benefits such as improving the cardiovascular endurance of the body and raising the good cholesterol, i.e. HDL cholesterol.

    Cholesterol leads to heart issues. Visit Medcare today for a consultation.
     

  • When should I be worried about cholesterol?

    A: Ideally, the cholesterol levels in the body should not exceed 200 mg/dl. If your cholesterol levels are above this recommended number, it puts your body at serious risk of heart diseases. Additionally, if there are genetic risks involved, then it is essential to get your children, even if they are below the age of twenty, checked by a doctor. 

    A majority of people don’t that cholesterol issues will affect them until well into their thirties. However, you must understand that cholesterol levels could start rising in your twenties. The signs show up much later as it takes years for the waxy fat to block arteries. This makes it critical to keep track of your health and get the necessary check-ups done as early as possible. 

    Want to get your cholesterol levels checked? Book an appointment with a Medcare specialist today.
     

  • What is a natural way to treat high cholesterol?

    A: Cholesterol is mostly affected by your overall lifestyle. Therefore, if you make gradual but permanent lifestyle changes, you can naturally reduce your cholesterol levels. Quitting smoking and limiting your consumption of alcohol are known to have a positive effect on cholesterol levels.

    It is also essential to avoid foods rich in saturated fats and trans fats, to lower LDL or bad cholesterol. Instead, consume foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish, flaxseed, etc., to drive up good cholesterol. Exercising daily also strengthens the heart and reduces stress through the release of dopamine and serotonin. 

    Are you suffering from high cholesterol and need expert's help? Book an appointment with a Medcare specialist today.

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