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For a long time cholesterol in totality was seen as a bad thing for your body although the truth was a little more complicated than that. Cholesterol primarily is divided into two types, one of which can be categorized as bad cholesterol and the other as good cholesterol. Let's have an in-depth look at both the categories.
LDL or Low Density Lipoprotein aka bad cholesterol - Cholesterol is a wax like chemical which is found all over the body and it has important functions to perform. Cholesterol is carried all over the body by Lipoproteins. The low density lipoproteins are denoted as bad cholesterol as they can accumulate on the walls of the blood vessels and cause blockages resulting in many ailments. LDL levels of 190 and above are considered dangerous.
Some of the risks associated with it are:
HDL or High Density Lipoprotein aka good cholesterol - This is a form of cholesterol which is usually desired in higher quantities as it removes LDL from the system by dislodging it from the arteries and then carrying it through the blood stream into the liver. The liver then breaks it down and removes it from the body. Thus, higher number of HDL cholesterol is always desirable.
Some of the ideal numbers for HDL cholesterol within the body are:
Women - Ideal: 60 mg/dl, dangerous: 50 mg/dl or lower
Men - Ideal: 60 mg/dl, dangerous: 50 mg/dl lower
The Role of Triglycerides
Good and bad cholesterol levels also depend on the levels of triglycerides within the body and not just LDL or HDL cholesterol. Triglycerides are another type of fat which are used to store energy within the body but can also affect your health. It is most associated with atherosclerosis when the levels of triglycerides are high within the body.
Some habits that contribute to high levels of it are
- Lack of physical activity
- Obesity or being overweight
- Excesses in alcohol consumption
- Bad diet and others
Thus the good cholesterol versus bad cholesterol war also includes other factors, most of which can be easily changed by making subtle changes in life style and incorporating healthier habits. This will increase the good cholesterol and the other relevant elements and reduce the bad. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
Do you know that cholesterol is found in baby formula and has got some surprising facts about them? Cholesterol is a waxy, fat like substance which is present in all your cells, and your body’s cholesterol level says a lot about the health of your heart in the future. Having high cholesterol increases your risk of acquiring heart diseases and hence, you should try to maintain a normal cholesterol level.
Here are some surprising facts about cholesterol, which you should know about:
- You cannot live without cholesterol: We are born with cholesterol in our bodies and infants get more cholesterol from mother’s milk. This is why cholesterol is added to baby formula. All the hormones and cells of your body need cholesterol for proper functioning. It also builds the cells and helps the liver to prepare fat processing acids.
- One out of three adults have high cholesterol: It is important for all people above the age of 20 to get a cholesterol checkup every five years. According to studies, around 32% of adults in the USA have got high cholesterol levels. Your cholesterol levels may also be affected by factors such as your diet and stress.
- High cholesterol can be genetic: Genetics is a major influencing factor in high cholesterol levels. Research has proven that almost 75% of high cholesterol cases are genetic in nature while 25% occur because of diet.
- Children can have high cholesterol as well: There is a common misconception that high cholesterol is an issue involving adults only. However, children may also have high cholesterol and it is recommended for you to get your child tested at an early age. For children who are obese and have a family history of heart attacks and high cholesterol, a selective screening is important.
- Sweating raises the levels of good cholesterol: Sweating is good for increasing the levels of good cholesterol in your body. You should follow a healthy diet including food items like avocado and salmon. Working out is also important for raising your HDL levels, which prevent heart disease.
- Supplements may help in lowering cholesterol levels: The first option for controlling your cholesterol levels is to work out regularly. If you are at a risk of heart attack or have hypercholesterolemia, you have to bank on supplements such as plant stanols and sterols. You can also take cholesterol reducing medications such as statins.
Earlier, the medical community was reserved about prescribing cholesterol lowering medicines and they were given only to critical heart patients. In modern day, statin treatment is recommended to people who have even little chances of heart attacks or stroke. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
Hypertension or increased blood pressure is one of the modern lifestyle diseases. The changing lifestyles including altered dietary habits and lack of physical activity are the main reasons for the high incidence of hypertension. With this, it brings a host of complications including other chronic diseases like diabetes, kidney failure, risks of stroke and heart attacks. Alternative medicine proposes quite a number of remedies in addition to just increased physical activity.
Read on to know more about how you can eat healthier and control your blood pressure.
Eat walnuts: As most books and media depict, heart disease is directly related to physical reaction towards stress. Regular eating of walnuts helps control this response, thereby controlling blood pressure. It is also a great source of antioxidants and fibre, which adds to its heart-healthy features.
Load up on minerals: Eating a diet rich in calcium, magnesium, and potassium is extremely beneficial for the heart. Sweet potatoes, bananas, dry fruits, dairy products, etc., have shown to reduce blood pressure extremely well in various experiments.
Avoid salt: While the natural sea salt is almost out of use, most of us have switched to the processed variety, which is devoid of all minerals. This is one of the major contributors for increased blood pressure. Studies have shown that reducing salt intake helps in a big way in controlling blood pressure. Most of us are also used to adding extra salt so the food tastes better. This should be avoided. With increased consumption of processed food items, everything from bread to cookies to cheese has salt, which also should be reduced, and if possible, avoided.
Have a colourful meal: Load up your plate with peppers, berries, dry fruits, and organic fruits and vegetables. Pomegranate juice is believed to control angiotensin, converting enzyme, which is responsible for controlling hypertension. They are also rich in antioxidants and help control blood pressure by reducing inflammation.
Know your cholesterol: While cholesterol is generally used with a negative connotation, it is not always true. There is good and bad cholesterol and the bad one should be avoided. Watch out for labels, and ensure you are eating less of the bad cholesterol. Good cholesterol is required for the production of hormones and proper functioning of the body.
Watch your medicines: While it is easy to just pop an ibuprofen when there is a headache or a back ache, it is advisable to watch out. These are best avoided in the long run, as they can induce hypertension and induce heart disease.