Understanding what cholesterol is all about and guidelines on how to lower blood cholesterol level

Understanding what cholesterol is all about and guidelines on how to lower blood cholesterol level

The issue of cholesterol is what everybody should be conversant with. Cholesterol is very essential in the body and we cannot live without it. But excessive amount of cholesterol can annihilate us. The level of cholesterol in the blood is one of the most vital factors in determining an individual’s risk for
cardiovascular diseases.
This cholesterol issue is now becoming a worrisome disturbance in Africa because it is now a major killer that manifests from lifestyle. For example, an individual with a total blood cholesterol level of 6.8 mmol/L is three times more likely to suffer from heart attack than a person with a cholesterol level of less than 5.6 mmol/L. It is instructive to note that the liver produce all the cholesterol that is needed in the body and most high blood cholesterol levels are determined by what an individual consume. Blood cholesterol levels can go up and down depending on what you eat. Though some people do have genetic cholesterol disorders but the cases are often rare. The only source of cholesterol is animal foods while plant foods do not contain cholesterol and that is the reason why it always recommended.
It is important to note that there are two kinds of cholesterol. HDL (High-Density Lipoprotein) is known as the healthy cholesterol. It works by protecting and removing cholesterol from the arteries and taking it to the liver. While the LDL (Low-Density Lipoprotein) is regarded as the deadly cholesterol because basically it determines the rate at which cholesterol is deposited on the walls of the artery. The LDL-cholesterol should be under 2.3mmol/L for an individual to be safe.  
HOW HIGH BLOOD CHOLESTEROL CAN CAUSE HEART ATTACK
Most cases of heart attacks are associated to plaques which consist mostly of calcium, fat and cholesterol. Plaques are just like rubber patches. They are the body’s response to damages especially in the arterial walls caused sometimes by free radicals especially those that are found in oxidized cholesterol. In most cases, as a result of irritation, the body keep adding more patches to protect affected areas thereby causing the plaque to enlarge slowly. And as a result of this, it chokes off the flow of blood, and may completely block the artery. It has been found that initial arterial damage heals faster when the level of blood cholesterol is still under 3.8mmol/L but when the levels has passed 4.6mmol/L, LDL-cholesterol starts to attach itself to the vessels walls leading to narrowing, stiffening, thickening and formation of plague.
WAYS BY WHICH ONE CAN LOWER BLOOD CHOLESTEROL LEVEL
Level of cholesterol in the blood is largely determined by what we eat and as a result the following action plan can help in the lowering of blood cholesterol. They include:

  1. Reduce the intake of animal protein: Consumption of foods rich in animal protein have been linked to an elevated level of cholesterol and this leads to an increased risk of coronary cardiovascular disease. 
  2. Consume more of fibre: Foods rich in fibre such as beans, fruits and oats tend to bind bile acids and cholesterol in the intestine and thus preventing them from being reabsorbed into the bloodstream. Eating foods rich in fibre can reduce blood cholesterol as much as 12%. 
  3. Medications: Cholesterol reducing drugs may be used for persons whose cholesterol level is very high and may not respond to lifestyle measures of controlling cholesterol. 
  4. Drastically reduce the intake of cholesterol and fat. Foods that need to be checkmated include: meats, dairy products, egg yolks etc.       







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