By Dr. K G Agrawal, General Physician
Cholesterol is a waxy substance that is naturally produced by the liver and is usually contained in the fats of the blood. Although cholesterol is essential for the synthesis of vitamin D, cell membranes and certain hormones, yet increased cholesterol count can heighten chances of heart diseases.
Symptoms and Complications of High Cholesterol:
High cholesterol is a silent condition that does not exhibit many symptoms. But without timely checkup, cholesterol can accumulate on the walls of your arteries, clogging blood flow and causing chest pain, heart attack and stroke.
Factors that trigger your cholesterol level high are:
- Consumption of unhealthy foods rich in cholesterol, trans- fats and saturated fats can increase cholesterol levels.
- A body mass index above 30 can be indicative of high cholesterol levels.
- Regular exercises foster the body’s High-density lipoprotein (HDL) or “good cholesterol” levels, while diluting the effects of Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or “Bad cholesterol”.
- Smoking harms the walls of the blood vessels and increases fat deposition. Besides, smoking can bring down the “good cholesterol” count.
- High blood sugar levels or diabetes can damage the arterial lining.
- Genetic factors, kidney ailments and hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid gland) contribute to high cholesterol count.
- Committing to a healthy diet (that includes low intake of saturated and trans-fats and high intake of omega-3 fatty acids) and exercises can lower and stabilize high cholesterol levels.
- Medications are also administered which hinder further cholesterol production by the liver. Such medications include atorvastatin, fluvastatin, rosuvastatin and simvastatin. Other medications include niacin, bile acid resins such as colesevelam, colestipol and cholestyramine and cholesterol absorption inhibitors such as ezetimibe.
- Nutritional and herbal supplements can also help in this regard.
- Consult a specialist who would aid you in managing high cholesterol levels, for example: cardiologists, nutritionists and dieticians, lipidologists, physiologists and endocrinologists.