When it comes to health articles, cholesterol is no stranger. This fatty acid is mentioned so often that it’s become a household name. Despite this, there are plenty of inaccuracies surrounding it. Cholesterol is an essential part of our bodies, but when it exists is excessively high levels, it raises the risk of heart disease. Let’s delve into more details about this substance and why it’s so important to us!
What Is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a waxy kind of fat that travels throughout your body in your blood. It’s a type of lipid, so it doesn’t dissolve in water nor separate from blood. While your body is capable of producing cholesterol, you can also obtain it from food sources.
Good vs Bad Cholesterol
Contrary to popular belief, not all cholesterol is bad for you. There are good cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and bad cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL). HDL takes in cholesterol before transferring it to the liver. Your liver then gets rid of it from your body. HDL can help to reduce the risk of heart disease. On the other hand, LDL makes up majority of the cholesterol in your body. High levels of it increase your risk for heart disease.
Is There a Link Between High Cholesterol and Heart Disease?
Your body requires cholesterol to create healthy cells. However, high levels of cholesterol can increase your chances of developing heart disease. Cholesterol accumulates with other substances, like calcium and fat, to build up in plaques on your arterial walls. As time passes, the blood vessels become thinner and this results in complications like heart attack and stroke. As the plaque increases, it makes it hard for sufficient blood to travel through your arteries.
Warning Signs of High Cholesterol
What are the warning signs that your cholesterol levels are hitting the roof? Unfortunately, this is considered a silent condition. It usually doesn’t lead to any symptoms, and many people don’t realise they have a problem until problems happen. However, you can expect these life-threatening complications to occur:
Stroke Chest pain,
or angina Chronic kidney disease,
High blood pressure,
What Should You Avoid if You Have High Cholesterol?
As mentioned, you can get cholesterol from different types of food.
Some of them have more unhealthy cholesterol than the others, and these are the foods you want to avoid if you have high cholesterol levels:
Processed meat e.g. hotdogs, bacon and luncheon meat
Fried foods e.g. fries, nuggets, fried chicken
Baked products e.g. croissants, bread, cakes, cookies and doughnuts
Sweets and chocolates
Full-fat dairy e.g. whole milk and butter
On the other hand, there are foods high in cholesterol but considered healthier alternatives because of their lower saturated fat content.
Lean meat e.g. liver, tripe, heart and kidney
Shellfish e.g. prawns
Even though high cholesterol can also be a hereditary issue, there are many lifestyle habits you can adopt or change to achieve healthy cholesterol levels.
For example, you can review your diet. What are the unhealthy foods you’re eating that are high in cholesterol, and how can you incorporate healthier choices instead?
You can also exercise regularly and reduce stress because stress can raise cholesterol levels.
If you have high cholesterol and suffer from heart disease as a result, a house doctor can help to review your lifestyle choices and manage them together. You can easily find a house doctor near Singapore to aid you!