The Different Categories Of High Cholesterol And Their Treatment
People who are overweight or obese often have high cholesterol and triglyceride levels. By losing weight, they can reduce and normalize these levels without the need for treatment.
High cholesterol is a health risk because it can lead to diseases such as heart disease. However, it can be nipped in the bud with a range of treatments.
High cholesterol is a health risk because it can lead to diseases such as heart disease. But with a range of treatments, it can be nipped in the bud.
What Is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a very important substance for the body because it is involved in the formation of bile acids, which are important for digesting fats. In addition, sunlight converts it into vitamin D, which protects the skin from chemicals and prevents dehydration. In addition, certain hormones are derived from it, such as sex hormones and thyroid hormones. The blood carries cholesterol from the intestines or the liver to the organs, which need it to perform their functions properly.
The problem arises when cholesterol levels are very high because, along with high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes, it is one of the most important cardiovascular risk factors. And this translates into a greater likelihood of suffering, for example, acute myocardial infarction, the number one cause of death in Spain before cancer.
How Do I Know If I Have High Cholesterol?
There are two types of cholesterol: HDL or “good” cholesterol and LDL or “bad” cholesterol. Blood tests sometimes show only the total cholesterol level. If that changes, it’s easy to do a lipid profile and look at the values for each type of cholesterol separately. In general, the recommended numbers are as follows.
- Total cholesterol: below 200 mg/dL. When it exceeds this value, we say that it is hypercholesterolemic. Above 240 mg/dL, the risk of heart attack is doubled.
- HDL or “good” cholesterol: above 35 mg/dL for men and above 40 mg/dL for women. If it is high, it offsets the risk of total cholesterol.
- LDL or “bad” cholesterol: below 100 mg/dl. A number above 160 mg/dl is dangerous.
- Triglycerides: this fat must be less than 150 mg/dl. If the figure is higher than 500 mg/dl, it is called hypertriglyceridemia.
What Are The Symptoms Of High Cholesterol?
The main danger of high cholesterol levels is precisely that it does not produce any physical symptoms or other signs that make us suspicious. To find out, a blood test is needed to determine the level. That is why it is important to be tested every year.
Why Is High Cholesterol So Dangerous?
When cholesterol levels are not maintained within what is considered “normal”, cells are unable to absorb the cholesterol circulating in the blood and excess cholesterol is deposited on the walls of the arteries. This causes it to gradually shrink, eventually leading to the dreaded arteriosclerosis or hardening of the arteries.
These fatty accumulations can occur in all blood vessel walls, but when they occur in the walls of the vessels supplying the heart and brain, blood cannot pass through them properly, leading to serious illnesses such as heart attacks or strokes.
What Is The Treatment?
- Whether prevention or treatment, following a healthy and balanced diet, such as the Mediterranean diet, is essential and is the first treatment recommended by doctors. With these guidelines, cholesterol can often be kept at bay without the need for medication.
- Increase your intake of healthy fats such as vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains and olive oil.
- Eat fish, especially oily fish, at least 3 times a week because it contains high levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids that help regulate cholesterol levels.
- Eliminate or minimize the consumption of saturated fats in red meat, industrial sweets, precooked foods, frozen products, etc.
- Take skim milk, as it contains less fat.
- Limit alcohol consumption because it increases blood cholesterol levels.
- Quit smoking, as it lowers LDL or “bad” cholesterol and increases HDL or “good” cholesterol.
- Exercise regularly, especially aerobic exercise, such as walking at a healthy pace every day.
People who are overweight or obese tend to have high cholesterol and triglyceride levels. By losing weight, they can reduce these numbers and return to normal without the need for treatment.
However, when all of these measures are not enough to control cholesterol levels, your doctor may prescribe specific medications. Not all medications are created equal or have the same effect on everyone, so it is very important not to self-medicate. Your doctor will decide which medication is best for each patient.
On the other hand, there are “anti-cholesterol” products on the market, such as margarine or dairy products that can be effective in some cases.