What Is High Cholesterol

People asking, "What is high cholesterol?" will find it as having readings of lipids within the blood above 240 mg/DL. Since high cholesterol levels increase risks for heart disease and stroke it is a good idea to see a physician about ways to lower lipid levels. Hardening of the arteries can be a result of high cholesterol especially if the LDL levels are high and HDL levels are low. With narrowing of the arteries blood flow becomes restricted and since blood carries oxygen to the heart, a decrease in oxygen can result in chest pain and eventually a heart attack. What causes high cholesterol can be several factors including heredity, age, gender, not enough exercise, and being overweight. Eating foods abundant in saturated fat and foods that contain trans fatty acids can contribute as well.

It is a good ideal to have a physician perform a lipoprotein profile to check lipid and fat levels in the blood. This will give numbers on total lipids including good and bad as well as triglycerides. Bad lipids known as LDL is the main source of blocked arteries and good lipids known as HDL help keep arteries from becoming blocked. Triglycerides are another form of fat within the blood that contributes to blocked arteries and has been linked to heart disease and diabetes. A patient asking, "What is high cholesterol needs to understand the importance of the dangers associated with it and ways to bring lipid levels down to an acceptable range. Being a recipient of bad news can bring on depression and feelings of hopelessness. Seeking professional help is wise as well as spiritual help from a church counselor or support group. Christ offers us hope and peace if we take our troubles to him. "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid" (John 14:27).

Diet, weight, and exercise can have a positive effect on what causes high cholesterol. Reducing weight with exercise and eating healthy by eating foods low in cholesterol, sodium, and saturated fat will contribute to lowering lipid and fat levels. Recommended foods for optimum results include lean meats, low fat dairy, whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and healthy oils such as canola, or olive oil. Foods that should be avoided include high fat meats, high fat dairy products, high sodium foods, and foods that are listed as trans fatty acids or contain partially hydrogenated soybean oil. Foods containing omega 3 fatty acids have been shown to help in lowering LDL lipids. Salmon is a good choice of protein and omega 3 fatty acids especially when wild. Consider using soy products in place of animal products since soy is an excellent source of protein and contains rich sources of vitamins, minerals, and contains fiber. Some sites online recommend the following foods as containing excellent sources greatly beneficial to health: flax seed, garlic, pomegranates, tomatoes, tea, coffee, mushrooms, whole grains, yogurt, ginger, and all fruits and vegetables.

Health websites provide valuable information that helps to answer, what is high cholesterol, and what can be done about it? Some sites seem to wholeheartedly agree that staying away from trans fats is essential when diagnosed with accelerated lipid levels in the blood. Commercially fried foods and packaged goods usually contain trans fats as well as some margarine, vegetable oils and shortening. Look on nutrition labels when making selections at the supermarket and steer clear of any products that contain "partially-hydrogenated vegetable oils" as these usually contain trans fats and will likely increase LDL cholesterol in the body. What is partially-hydrogenated oil? They are liquid oils that have been heated up so that they can withstand the production process and provide benefits in prolonging shelf life. Beware of some fast food chains that use vegetable oil when frying foods such as french fries, chicken nuggets, and other fried offerings, especially since most vegetable oils contain trans fats.

Statin drugs have shown to be very effective in reducing cholesterol by inhibiting the production of an enzyme in the liver. Statin drugs for the most part are well tolerated and provide great benefits. A physician will often prescribe a statin to combat against what causes high cholesterol. Some side effects commonly experienced might include nausea, upset stomach, headache, and sleep disturbances. Care should be used with some products that interact unfavorably with statins including grapefruit juice, certain antibiotics, and some muscle relaxers. Ask a physician or pharmacist about concerns related to taking statin drugs to help lower lipids in the blood.

Arteries are tubes made up of muscle that have a smooth lining so the blood can flow freely throughout the body. Fatty matter known as fat and cholesterol can build up within the arteries causing blockages depriving the heart and body of oxygen. Blockages that are significant could result in heart attack and or stroke. It is important for individuals who have been diagnosed or suspect that they have high cholesterol to seek medical attention and make lifestyle changes where needed. Ask lots of questions at the doctor's office including the main questions, what is high cholesterol and what can be done if diagnosed? Understanding what factors within the body contribute to serious health risks and what causes high cholesterol will help towards motivation to make some crucial lifestyle changes.

Causes Of High Cholesterol

Causes of high cholesterol can be determined by a physician based on a patient's medical history, family medical history, and a variety of tests that may show a lack of nutrient or vitamin, or may reveal poor eating habits. Ways to lower this need to be established and followed as early as possible. High blood cholesterol increases the risk of heart disease. This factor in the blood is determined in part by genetic (inherited) factors, which cannot be changed; and in part by lifestyle factors which can be used as ways to lower cholesterol. There are some relatively rare conditions that can be blamed as causes of high cholesterol. People who have inherited these conditions need a thorough examination by a specialist doctor followed by lifelong drug treatment.

In most people, high blood levels are only partly determined by their genes, and primarily determined by their lifestyle factors. The most important dietary factor is fat. The diets prescribed for blood-cholesterol lowering are low in fat (particularly saturated fat), high in carbohydrate, and high in fiber. Body weight also affects blood cholesterol. In some people, being overweight has a significant effect on their levels, so attaining a reasonable weight can be helpful. The blood also contains triglycerides, another type of fat that is particularly elevated after meals. High triglycerides may be linked with increased risk of heart disease in some people can be causes of high cholesterol. Since high cholesterol is the leading factor in developing heart disease, the idea is to get the levels down.

Ways to bring this down include the loss of body fat by diet and exercise. Exercise has multiple benefits for the heart. Cardiovascular fitness is improved by regular strenuous exercise and the blood supply to the heart may be improved. Exercise is also important in maintaining body weight and has effects on metabolism and some factors related to blood clotting. Getting regular exercise one of the clearly important ways to lower cholesterol. One of the culprits here can actually be a lack of exercise. Simple consistent walks and regular stretching routines can do a world of improvement for a healthy way of life. Normally, those that exercise frequently tend to eat healthier diets as well, because their body requires more natural food to sustain energy while they exercise.

Smoking is also confirmed as one of the reasons for elevated cholesterol. Smokers tend to eat fewer fruits and vegetables than nonsmokers (and thus eat less of the protective antioxidant plant compounds). Smokers tend to eat more fat and more salt than non-smokers. These characteristics of the smoker's diet may be caused by a desire to seek stronger food flavors as a consequence of the taste-blunting effect of smoking. While these dietary differences may make a smoker at greater risk and causing of high levels, the only piece of advice for lower cholesterol as a result of smoking is to quit smoking. Many people have found that certain prescription drugs and certain acupuncture techniques greatly aid in helping the smoker quit, or at least help them to lower their smoking habit to an absolute minimum amount.

High blood pressure can also be one of the reasons for high cholesterol. It causes changes in the walls of the arteries. The muscle layer (a muscular tube, which when healthy can change its size to control the flow of blood) becomes thickened, and atherosclerosis is more likely to develop. Treatments for blood pressure have become more effective over the last three decades, but it is only now becoming clear which types of treatment for blood pressure are also effective at reducing heart disease risk and other causes of high cholesterol. Diabetes and impaired glucose tolerance accelerate hardening of the arteries. When glucose levels are raised, even temporarily (such as after eating), oxidizing reactions are accelerated and antioxidants such as vitamin E and C are soaked up. Discovering ways to lower cholesterol is mandatory when a person suffers with diabetes.

With diabetes, the blood fats are oxidized, making them more damaging to artery walls. The walls become inflamed, thicken, and gradually lose their elasticity. The constriction of the arteries results in increased blood pressure which is a known factor as one of many causes of high cholesterol. High insulin levels increase the tendency for blood clots to form. The resulting increased risk of heart attack is a major reason why so much effort is put into discovering ways to lower cholesterol and helping people with diabetes achieve a normal level of blood glucose. In order to use the methods mentioned, a Christian must faithfully pray to God for healing and strength to change many habitual lifestyle practices. God hears every prayer, and if the prayer request is in His will, he shall heal them. "Thou I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me: thou shalt stretch forth thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and thy right hand shall save me." (Psalm 138:7)

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