High Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a waxy fatty substance in the blood. It is produced in the body, but can be gotten from some food such as fried foods and dairy products. The body requires cholesterol to build healthy cells and produce some hormones but excess cholesterol in the body causes difficulty for enough blood to flow through the arteries.

Sometimes the fatty deposits break suddenly and form a clot which can cause heart attack or stroke.

  • The cholesterol required is carried round the body attached to proteins, which when combined are called lipoprotein. There are two types of cholesterol based on what the lipoprotein carries;
  • LDL: low density lipoprotein also referred to as “bad cholesterol”. This creates blockage in the artery and makes it narrow
  • HDL: high density lipoprotein also referred to as “good cholesterol”. This picks up cholesterol particles and sends them to the liver.

SYMPTOMS

High cholesterol has no symptoms. A blood test is used to check the level of cholesterol in the body.

CAUSES

There are two types of high blood pressure

  • Overweight
  • Being inactive physically
  • Unhealthy lifestyle
  • Smoking
  • Family history

RISK FACTORS

  • Poor diet: excess eating of foods high in cholesterol puts you at risk of high cholesterol
  • Obesity: being overweight puts the body at risk of having high cholesterol
  • Exercise: increases your HDL and the lack of exercise will increase your LDL
  • Smoking: smoking damages the walls of the blood vessels and makes them more likely to accommodate fatty substance. It can also reduce HDL in the body.
  • Age: as the body begins to age, the chemistry of the body changes and the liver becomes less able to remove the bad cholesterol
  • Diabetes: high blood sugar contributes to high level of dangerous cholesterol and damages the lining of the arteries.

COMPLICATION

  • Chest pain
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke

TREATMENT

  • Lifestyle changes: exercising regularly and eating heart healthy diet.
  • Medication: if after making lifestyle changes you still have high cholesterol your doctor might suggest medications that will help reduce your cholesterol level or stop the liver from producing cholesterol.

PREVENTION

  • Healthy diet
  • Exercise
  • Quit smoking
  • Alcohol
  • Manage stress

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