Cholesterol can be defined as the fatty, wax-like substance which is imperative for the normal functioning of our body. However, an excess of cholesterol can start forming depositions on the walls of the arteries leading to cardiovascular diseases and stroke. Cholesterol is carried in our blood by proteins. When it combines with the proteins it forms lipoproteins. There are both good and bad lipoproteins. The good lipoproteins are known as HDL and the bad lipoproteins are called LDL. Higher levels of HDL are good for our body but higher levels of LDL may lead to cardiovascular diseases. Therefor cholesterol management is very important.
Unhealthy diet, lack of exercises, obesity, and excess consumption of alcohol can lead to an increased level of blood cholesterol.
For Cholesterol management and lower your cholesterol, the doctor would advise you to make certain lifestyle changes. Moreover, if the levels are considerably high, then doctor might also advise drug therapy. Some simple steps that can be taken to cholesterol management are listed below:
Eating a Heart-Healthy Diet:
A heart-healthy diet comprises optimum levels of fruits, vegetables, low fat dairy products, whole grains, fish, poultry, and nuts. Consumption of red meat, beverages, and sugary-rich beverages should be strictly limited. Some tips for making a heart-healthy diet are:
- Reduce saturated fat in poultry and meat
- Include fish in your diet
- Reduce the amount of meat that you eat in your diet
- Cook fresh vegetables in just about 1-2 teaspoon of vegetable oil
- Substitute liquid vegetable oil for solid fats
- Increase intake of fibers and whole grains
Knowing Your Fats:
It is important to know which types of fats you need to avoid to lower your risk of heart attack and stroke. Foods that are rich in saturated fats increase your cholesterol. Some of these foods that are rich in saturated fats include sausages, fatty meat cuts, butter, meat pies, ghee, cream, hard cheese, cakes and biscuits. Foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids help in increasing the levels of triglycerides. Rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids include avocados and oily fish such as tuna, salmon, and mackerel.
Being physically active is one of the most important ways to prevent stroke and heart disease. About 40 minutes of moderate exercises such as aerobics, brisk walking, cycling, and swimming done at least 4 to 5 times in a week can help in lowering blood cholesterol and reducing high blood pressure.
People with high cholesterol must try to quit smoking as tobacco smoke is not good for them. Cigarettes contain a chemical, acrolein, which hampers the proper functioning of good cholesterol, thereby leading to excess deposition of cholesterol in arteries.
Opting for Drug Therapy:
Your doctor might advise drug therapy to you if diet and lifestyle changes fail to lower your cholesterol and cholesterol management. Statins are commonly advised for lowering cholesterol in your blood. Statins considerably reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. At times, a small dose of aspirin might also be prescribed as it prevents formation of blood clots.
- “The New Cholesterol Management and Blood Pressure Guidelines: Perspective on the Path Forward” by Harlan M. Published in Volume 311, Number 14, April 2014 edition of The Journal of the American Medical Association, accessed on 25 June 2015. Retrieved from: http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jama.2014.2634