High cholesterol levels can be fatal; however, because there are no symptoms indicated by it – individuals typically do not pay it any attention. This is in fact a very big mistake health wise. You see even – although there are usually no symptoms to indicate a high level of cholesterol, the dangers associated with it is very real. Just the other day I was having conversation with a friend of mine who is also my co-worker.
He indicated to me that he has recently gotten a cholesterol test done. And to his surprise, he was diagnosed with having a high cholesterol level. Never mind that this guy is under the age of 30 – yet the results of his test reveals that his numbers is way over 200mg / dl. This just goes to show – that you do not have to be of a very mature age in order to have a cholesterol level that is above the normal requirement.
Believe it or not, my friend is a member of one of our local gyms – which means that he exercise regular. Neverheless, exercising is only a small part of staying health and fit. The largest part of living healthy is in our daily diets. My friend is a big eater of the wrong things and like most of us, consume too much fat and cholesterol. You are probably asking yourself – if you do not know already, “what is cholesterol?” It is a fatty substance circulating in our bloodstream which is normally synthesized by the liver.
For individuals like you and I to keep our numbers down, we have to consume low cholesterol foods because we do not want to add to our numbers. Now if you are that person who – like my friend have been diagnosed with high cholesterol, chances are that you are still feeling good. Simply because you do not have any symptoms or there is now pain. The question for many, my friend included – “Can something so common be so detrimental to your health?
Unfortunately, the answer to this question is “yes it can”. Although cholesterol is naturally produced in our bodies by our liver, too much of it is the major contributor for us developing cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular disease my friend – is the culprit that will put individuals at greater risks of having strokes and heart attacks. While there have been major advances in medicines and treatments for cardiovascular disease, it is still the number one cause of death among men and women today.
High cholesterol- according to The World Health Organization, is directly linked to about 20% of all strokes and about 50% of all heart attacks that occurs. In the case of my friend, I told him that he can lower is numbers even though he has been diagnosed with a high cholesterol count. You can to – if you are in the same boat as he is. There is no need to be down about it.
You see even though high cholesterol is a high risk factor that contributes to strokes and heart attacks, you can reverse your position in relation to it. The way to do it is to seriously decide on a lifestyle change right now. You must make this decision now before your high cholesterol level put you at risk of developing other health issues.
High Cholesterol Numbers
The numbers or results for high cholesterol could have been a little misleading for many individuals; however, it is something that you have to understand and take very seriously. For proper bodily functions, cholesterol is needed. I guess you can say that there are some good uses for the fat substance. This fatty substance is needed by our bodies for the function of certain hormones and cells of the body. The truth of the matter is this – excessive levels of cholesterol will lead to trouble. It may not be today – it may not be tomorrow but it will cause you your health down the road.
The Types of Cholesterol
Did you know that there are several different types of cholesterol? Well there is. I did not know that – still doctors today only focus on two of the various types. They are known as LDL (bad) cholesterol and HDL (good) cholesterol. LDL – means Low Density Lipoprotein. This particular type of the fatty substance is what clogs your arteries; thus, increasing your chances of having a heart attack and / or stroke.
You should try to get your level down to 100mg / dl or less. My friend's was about 215mg / dl. “WOW” that's high. If you already have heart disease, you doctor may try to get your level under 70mg / dl. HDL means High Density Lipoprotein. This is the healthy or good guy. HDL cholesterol attach itself to the bad LDL culprit and transport it to the liver. From the liver the bad LDL is eliminated or filtrated from the body. When it comes to HDL “the good guy” – you would want to have a level of 60mg / dl or higher.
Usually a cholesterol test which is actually a blood test, is the only way of your doctor determining your numbers. It involves testing your triglycerides which is another type of fat in your blood stream. Triglycerides is not cholesterol but it can also increase your chances of developing cardiovascular disease. The results or numbers for you triglycerides level should be less than 150mg / dl. These numbers will add up your total cholesterol level.
Do you know “what is high cholesterol” or do you understand what your doctor means when he / she says that you have it? Actually when you have a test done, the results are actually indicating that you have a very high LDL count and a very low HDL count. According to a medical statement made by Dr. Laurence S. Sperling, Director of Preventive Cardiology at the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, GA.
Someone can have a total cholesterol number that is under 200mg / dl – but still have unhealthy levels of LDL or HDL. This is why many experts are not really focusing on the total numbers – simply because they mean very little.
The Harmful Dangers of High Cholesterol
As was mentioned before, we all have a certain level of this fatty substance circulating in our blood stream; however, excessive levels of it can accumulate on the walls of our arteries. This build up is known medically as plaque and it causes your arteries to narrow and eventually become clogged. Plaque is no friend to our arteries – it leads to arteriosclerosis which is the hardening of the arteries. Arteriosclerosis makes normal flexible tissues brittle.
In fighting plaque, you have to monitor your diet to make sure that you are eating the right type of foods. Why? Because plaque can form anywhere in the body. For example, if it forms in the carotid artery in the neck – then you have what is called carotid artery disease. On the other hand – if it forms in the coronary arteries which supplies blood and oxygen to the heart, then you have coronary artery disease.
For this reason, you are also at a greater risk of developing a blood clot if the plaque breaks away. This is another high risk factor due to high cholesterol. One danger that stems from a blood clot is that it can become lodge in an artery and completely block or choke off your blood supply.
This means that if you blood cells do not receive the necessary nutrients and oxygen they need, they will begin to die. If you happen to develop a blood clot in your brain (God forbids) and blood flow is blocked, you will have a stroke. And if the clot is in the coronary arteries – you will have a heart attack.
Reasons Why High Cholesterol is Underestimated
In some populations or society, the risks of high cholesterol levels are evident. How do we know this>? Well – in these populations, the higher cholesterol, the higher the level of heart and blood vessel disease. Meanwhile, if you are into your health like I am, you will take the risks that are associated with high levels of cholesterol very seriously.
I mentioned earlier that there are usually no symptoms for high levels of this fatty substance but that does not mean that you should not have it checked regularly. Remember that old saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. As human beings, it is within our nature to respond only to medical conditions that causes symptoms.
So if we do not experience any symptoms for our high cholesterol levels, visiting a doctor is out of the question. And because high levels of the fat substance substance do not give symptoms or pain like other medical conditions – sticking to its treatment will be difficult for many. According to Dr. Laurence S. Sperling – “People on drug treatment or medication that lower their cholesterol level do not feel any better.
This is why many of them are less likely to stick to their cholesterol treatment plan. Another reason many individuals underestimate the risks associated with high cholesterol – is the fact that the dangers are usually not always immediate.
Steps on How to Lower Your High Cholesterol Risks
Conditions such as heart disease and arteriosclerosis which are caused by high cholesterol, can be treated. There are many good treatments available today; however, you should not wait for your health to get to the point where you need to take drugs. Making a conscious effort to change your lifestyle will prevent these life threatening illnesses development.
Lower your numbers require you to do certain things such as visiting your doctor and getting your cholesterol tested. If you are over the age of 19, you should have a cholesterol test done at least every five years. You should keep tract of your numbers yourself. Once you get your results from your doctor – write them down and indicate the number that you have to get to.
Now is you have already diagnosed with a high cholesterol level or if you have another health risk such as diabetes – then you need to be extra careful and little more serious. Because of the dangers involve, you can not and should not take a chance by not getting tested now. Do not be like many individuals who believe that because they feel good, all is well. Too many individuals like my friend are too casual about the risks of high cholesterol levels.
This applies to other medical conditions as well. You see many of us, will only stop and pay attention to our health, when our doctors tell us we have cardiovascular disease. My friend – if you have cholesterol levels that way above the norm, reducing it is a critical step. You need to begin lowering it now because it will have a detrimental affect on your life in the years to come.