While it does exist in some foods, cholesterol in food has little effect on what’s in our bodies. The cholesterol that circulates in our blood does not come from food, but is produced in the liver, where it is the sole component of plaque that, along with calcium and other waste products, can clog arteries and lead to certain types of heart attacks and strokes.
The constant promotion of foods that help fight cholesterol and advice on how to avoid foods that raise cholesterol has led many people to believe that cholesterol is only found in food. And this can be very confusing. While it does exist in some foods, the cholesterol in food has very little effect on our bodies. The cholesterol that circulates in our blood does not come from food but is produced in the liver, where it is the sole component of plaque that, along with calcium and other waste products, can clog arteries and lead to certain types of heart attacks and strokes.
What Does Cholesterol Mean?
Until recently, doctors regularly measured “total cholesterol”. If the level exceeded 220 mg/dL, they would say, “You have cholesterol. Fortunately, as our understanding of this substance has evolved, it has become clear that it doesn’t make sense to talk about cholesterol as a whole, but rather about the two types of lipoproteins (half fat particles, half protein) that are responsible for taking cholesterol from one end to the other. These are low-density lipoproteins (LDL), which carry cholesterol (commonly known as “bad cholesterol”) into the cells, and high-density lipoproteins (HDL), which return cholesterol to the liver where it is recycled or excreted, commonly known as “good cholesterol”.
In addition to analyzing each type of cholesterol separately, cholesterol tests also measure levels of triglycerides (known from food commercials, most others know what it really does), a type of fat that usually accompanies lipoproteins.
In a healthy cardiovascular system, LDL, HDL, and triglycerides are kept at a certain level, but various risk factors such as smoking, sedentary lifestyle, obesity, and poor diet can throw them out of balance. And that’s where the problems begin.
To know if you have a cholesterol problem, it is not enough to know the total amount of cholesterol, but also to know if your LDL is below the risk limit (below 130 mg/dL), if you have enough HDL (above 45 mg/dL, but above 60 mg/dL is better), and. You need to know if your triglycerides are below 200 mg/dL. In silver, “HDL is a good thing, and the more HDL you have, the lower your risk of cardiovascular disease,” says Michael Braha, director of clinical research at the Johns Hopkins Center for Heart Disease Prevention.” Everything else has to be low.”
What Does It Take To Be “Cholesterol-Free“?
It sounds like a lie, but scientists continue to argue fiercely about the best way to end the cholesterol problem. While most researchers agree that you should lose weight, quit smoking, and exercise more, there is no consensus on diet (perhaps the most important).
Many doctors still recommend that people with high total cholesterol avoid high-cholesterol foods such as eggs, but a growing number believe this advice is unnecessary. They also advise people with high cholesterol to avoid high-fat foods such as cheese, red meat, and chocolate. Something else is beginning to be questioned.
Do I Need To Take Medication If My Cholesterol Level Is High?
If your cholesterol levels are above a certain limit and you are over a certain age, your doctor will prescribe a statin, which is a cholesterol-lowering medication. The effectiveness of statins in this regard is well established, and in fact they can reduce cardiovascular risk even in people with normal LDL levels.
The problem that a growing number of scientists are warning about is that statins have many side effects that must be taken into account, including various gastrointestinal problems, headaches, insomnia and, more seriously, muscle disorders such as muscle pain. Be that as it may, there are regulations left and right. And there are other prescriptions available.
According to new cholesterol guidelines issued by the American College of Cardiology and advanced by The Lancet scientists, statins can be prescribed to 31 percent of Americans between the ages of 40 and 75 who have cholesterol.
This concerns many physicians, who believe that statins should be prescribed on an individual basis for each patient, rather than as soon as they come in with high cholesterol.
According to Paul Ridker, director of the Brigham Cardiovascular Prevention Center, “Guidelines are a great tool to orient yourself, but you can’t put all the variability and complexity of life into one equation. This is especially true when it comes to cholesterol, which is a risk factor, not a disease.” Ridker warns, “Cardiovascular disease can come from many sources other than cholesterol. Are you a smoker? Are you sedentary? Eat well, all of these things are important. It’s not the number on the paper that matters, it’s your overall health.