Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance found in every cell of the body, and is basically of two types, namely LDL (bad cholesterol) and HDL (good cholesterol). While HDL and LDL are both essential for the proper and healthy functioning of the body, an imbalance in these levels could lead to serious health problems.
Many people think high HDL levels indicate danger. While in fact, if your HDL levels are 60 mg/dL or higher, this decreases your risk of high cholesterol. However, if your HDL levels are less than 40 mg/Dl you are at an increased risk of suffering from high cholesterol and several other related health problems. The factors causing high cholesterol levels are as follows:
Being overweight is the first indication of the presence of visceral fat in your body. Visceral fat releases harmful chemicals into the body, which in turn can lead to high cholesterol levels in the body.
Exercise is known to lower high cholesterol levels. However, a sedentary lifestyle, free from any kind of exercise or sufficient physical activity can make one more vulnerable to high cholesterol.
A diet high in saturated fats and trans-fats can make you vulnerable to high cholesterol levels and many other health issues.
The intake of cigarette smoke, regular consumption of alcohol or strong medications can increase your chances of suffering from high cholesterol and other health issues such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
Stress, anger, and negative emotions can have a direct impact on your heart. They cause the release of a biologically toxic chemical known as ‘cortisol’, which causes a spasm in the arteries and cuts the blood flow to the heart muscles.
HDL cholesterol plays the role of flushing out excess amounts of cholesterol from the body, as LDL in high levels can be dangerous. However, the factors mentioned above could lead to decreased levels of HDL and increased levels of LDL which could have adverse health effects on our body. The effects of high cholesterol on the human body are as follows:
When the body has no way of flushing out the excess cholesterol, it begins to deposit the excess cholesterol into the arteries. Once in the arteries the cholesterol may mix with other substances and form plaque. This plaque continues to grow causing the arteries to harden and restricts blood flow to certain parts of the body.
A heart attack occurs when a heart muscle dies due to a lack of blood and oxygen supply. Heart attacks can be mild but at the same time can also be fatal.
As the arteries get clogged due to plaque build-up they begin to harden and may even break off or break open. This breakage results in the formation of a blood clot which restricts proper blood flow to vital organs of the body.
When a heart muscle is deprived of proper blood flow and oxygen, it begins to slowly die and in turn causes severe chest pain.
A stroke occurs when an area of brain tissue dies from a lack of blood and oxygen supply. A stroke may or may not be fatal, but it could leave you paralyzed for life.
Estrogen is a female sex hormone responsible for sexual and reproductive functions. This hormone has the natural tendency to raise good cholesterol and in turn reduces a woman’s risk of suffering from high cholesterol.
However, once a woman hits menopause her levels of estrogen tend to decline. So if a woman’s HDL level is less than 47 mg/dL she is a higher risk of suffering from high cholesterol. Also, if a man has a HDL level below 37 mg/Dl, he is at risk of suffering from high cholesterol.
High cholesterol is a serious health problem but through a few diet and lifestyle modifications, it can be kept under control and one can stay safe from its dangerous health risks.
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