This modern generation has a lot of health problems due to poor diet. Let’s understand the term cholesterol first. Cholesterol is a fat-like material found in the bloodstream. It is present in entire body tissue. However, it is produced by the liver and also extracted from foods of animal origin like meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy products.
Why cholesterol is important for the body and why should you care about it? It is essential for life, the increase of intake in your blood can increase your risk for stroke and heart disease. Cholesterol travels through the bloodstream in protein/fat (lipoprotein) particles. One type of particle is called low-density lipoprotein (LDL) which delivers cholesterol to the body. LDLs are generally called bad cholesterol.
The other type of particle is called high-density lipoprotein (HDLs) which helps in the removal of cholesterol from the bloodstream. HDLs are generally called “good” cholesterol. A high HDL level which is greater than 60 is considered to be a protective factor against heart disease. But if you have an excess amount of LDL in your bloodstream, the waxy plaques can build up with your artery walls, which causes arteries to narrow. By the time, arteries may become damaged with these plaques which allowing to blood clots. This is called cardiovascular disease. A blood clot in the heart can cause a heart attack and a blood clot in the brain can also cause a stroke.
The most common form of fat is Triglycerides, a scientific name that is found in both the body and foods. Triglycerides attach to the lipoprotein particles in the bloodstream, and recent research indicates that uplifted triglycerides are an individual risk factor for heart disease.
Also, recent studies show that cholesterol starts at the age of 35 for males and 45 for females. Adults above 20 years or older than that have a fasting lipid profile. A lipid profile contains the total cholesterol levels, LDL-cholesterol, HDL- cholesterol and triglycerides.
Here are the Desirable blood lipid level-
Total cholesterol levels-
Less than 200 mg/dL = Desirable
200-239 mg/dL = Borderline high
240 mg/dL and above = High
Less than 100 mg/dL = Optimal
100-129 mg/dL = Near/above optimal
130-159 mg/dL = Borderline high
160-189 mg/dL = High
190 mg/dL and above = Very high
Below 40 mg/dL = Suboptimal (Low)
60 mg/dL and above = Optimal (High)
Less than 150 mg/dL = Normal
150-199 mg/dL = Borderline high
200-499 mg/dL = High
500 mg/dL and above = Very high
The Major risk factors for cardiovascular disease and risk reduction are some factors that directly depend on the family history of heart disease, age, or gender, however, a change in lifestyle can also help in reducing the risk of heart disease.
Hypertension means a blood pressure greater than 140/90 mmHg is considered uplifted which can increase cardiovascular risk and needs to be controlled anyhow. Even though, Diabetes increases the risk of heart disease. Elevated LDL (>190 mg/dL) and triglycerides are the risk factors for coronary heart disease.
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Additionally, the Lack of physical activity can also trigger the stroke. So, Regular exercise can help keep control of your cholesterol level and may increase the amount of HDL in your body. People who exercise regularly can lower the risk of heart disease, even if their lipid levels do not change.
If you have excess body weight, the body must increase blood volume and the number of capillaries to supply the fatty tissue which means that the heart must work harder. Losing weight can decrease the strain on the heart and maintaining a healthy weight permanently requires a change in eating habits and exercise patterns. A diet rich in cholesterol and saturated fat increases the risk of plaque build-up in the inner lining of the blood vessels, so eat a healthy diet, and follow these recommendations to a healthy diet.
- First, you should reduce the intake of saturated fats to 15-20 grams of saturated fat per day (7% or less of daily calories)
- Reduce cholesterol intake to 200 mg or less daily
- Eat 20-30g of fiber daily. Fiber is contained in plant foods including fruits, vegetables, legumes, and grains.
- Use nonfat dairy products
- Eat less red meat and processed meat
- Eat at least fish twice a week fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, mackerel, and halibut. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce triglycerides and blood clotting.
- Should limit the fried foods
- Limit all sugary foods and beverages
Men above 45 years and older, and women above 55 years and older, are at higher risk for heart disease. And what can we do by ourselves to reduce the risk of stroke? Risk for developing cardiovascular disease can help determine the appropriateness and intensity of therapy that you are taking. Multiple risk factors or pre-existing conditions like a previous heart attack or metabolic syndrome may trigger more aggressive or earlier treatment to lower cholesterol levels.