Cholesterol, a fatlike substance produced by the liver, is of two types: the good and the bad. The bad cholesterol is known as low-density lipoproteins (LDL), and it can accumulate in the human arteries, resulting in serious health problems such as a heart attack or a stroke. The good cholesterol, known as high-density lipoproteins (HDL), ‘cleans up’ the bad LDL by returning it to the liver where it is eliminated. The good cholesterol is also important for the formation of cells and a good source of vitamin D. Note that the lipoproteins are the biochemical substances that move the cholesterol throughout the bloodstream.
Levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) in the blood can become high as a result of eating large amounts of fatty foods, causing hypercholesterolemia or hyperlipidemia, besides having little or no physical activity. The health ramifications on the human body and well-being can be fatal, which makes it important to look at the possible symptoms.
Warning: They are NOT Obvious
The symptoms of high bad cholesterol are far from being clear. It is more of a ‘silent’ condition that does not provide any obvious warning when it first happens. It is often discovered through routine physical exams and blood tests. How high is high cholesterol in the blood? According to WebMD, a total blood cholesterol level above 240 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) is considered high. It should be checked every four to six years.
When a heart attack or stroke happens as a result of high cholesterol, the reason is that the heart arteries have been blocked by the dense formation of plaque caused by high cholesterol levels. This makes it difficult for the blood to pass through the arteries, which causes chest pain. This is a very common symptom which, if ignored for a long time, can lead to a stroke.
Unusual Skin Growths: Soft and Yellowish
High levels of bad cholesterol can lead to the growth of soft, yellowish skin on the individual which were previously not present. They usually appear around the eyes. Although they are not painful and can be removed, they raise a red flag with regards to the levels of bad cholesterol in one’s body. A doctor check at this point is necessary.
The fluctuation in blood pressure caused by high cholesterol in the human body can
negatively impact one’s concentration, focus, and quality of speech. This also requires immediate medical intervention especially if it continues for a prolonged period and is not reduced through over-the-counter drugs.
A doctor may prescribe medicines such as Simvastatin, which can reduce bad cholesterol (LDL) levels between 30 to 60 percent. This happens by decreasing the ability of the liver to produce more cholesterol. The result is better protection from heart-related diseases.
Besides the common symptoms, individuals should be more concerned about high cholesterol levels if they have risk factors that make the high cholesterol level risk more likely: constant have high blood pressure, overweight and the habit of smoking
In the end, although high cholesterol can be inherited through family history, it is often a result of one’s unhealthy diet and lifestyle choices. So, the good news here is that you can prevent it and treat it before it causes irreversible or severe health damages and deadly strokes. Let’s see how.
Healthy Lifestyle Choices
The first line of defense against high LDL levels is a healthy lifestyle. This can limit the risk of the blood vessel and heart disease, preventing the blockage of arteries as a result of little or no physical activity.
Greens, Fruits, and Seeds
A healthy lifestyle includes choices such as: following a low-fat diet, which also means low bad cholesterol. Eating a variety of green vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains, and seeds. Overall, a healthy dietary pattern should be adopted as a core component of the lifestyle: a DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet or a Mediterranean diet are common choices. Needless to say, alcohol consumption should be limited to no more than three drinks a day and not more than 15 drinks a week for both men and women.
Hit the Road, Jack
The second part of a healthy lifestyle is physical activity. Medical professionals recommend between 150 to 200 minutes of moderate aerobic physical activity per week. It should be intense enough to make the body sweat – so a few casual walks in the park may not do the job. This helps in shedding the fat away from the body and gets the arteries to work, preventing them from being potentially clogged. Needless to say, physical exercise should be accompanied by a significant reduction in smoking, and preferably quitting smoking, to ensure the blood pressure remains under control. The good news is, the risk of developing a heart
attack, getting a stroke, and suffering from the other symptoms of bad cholesterol is significantly reduced.
For some individuals with severe bad cholesterol cases, especially those with risk factors or family history, the risk for heart and blood vessel problems is relatively higher than those without such risk factors. This paves the way for the use of drug therapy such as Simvastatin, which should be accompanied by the recommended lifestyle changes. Those with lower risk profiles may begin with lifestyle changes at first, and would only need medication support if the bad cholesterol reduction targets are not reached within a period of a few months.
This makes it vital to keep the blood test results monitored and checked by a physician.
Never Too Late
Even if one does suffer a heart attack as a result of bad cholesterol levels, it is never too late to change lifestyle habits. A heart attack can still happen again and again. This makes the adoption of a healthy lifestyle a necessity at any age and any cholesterol level.