- Alternative & Natural Medicine
Cholesterol Guide: Tips to Lower Cholesterol Levels Naturally and Natural Diet Tips to reduce Cholesterol
What is Cholesterol and its Types
Cholesterol is a fat (lipid) produced by liver and each cell of our body has cholesterol in its outer layer.
Lipoprotein carries Cholesterol to the blood. Lipoprotein contains both Lipid(fat) and protein. According to the density of these Lipoproteins, Cholesterol can be classified as Low Density Lipoprotein(LDP) and High Density LipoProtein(HDP).
LDL (Low Density Lipoprotein) often termed as bad cholesterol:
The function of LDL is to carry cholesterol from Liver to cells. If too much of Cholesterol is carried out to the cells then it leads to increase in the risk of arterial disease.
HDL (High Density Lipoprotein) often termed as good cholesterol:
The function of HDL is opposite to that of LDL. It takes the cholesterol away from the cells and back to the liver. In the liver the cholesterol is broken down and gets expelled out from the body as waste. Thus it helps to prevent arterial disease.
In short, increase in LDL is bad for health & HDL is good for health.
Increase in LDL is the risk for raise in cholesterol levels.
Risk associated with High Cholesterol Levels
High Cholesterol levels will end up with the below risk:
- Arteries will get narrowed. This results in Atherosclerosis.
- Heart muscles does not get enough blood, which leads to chest pain or some kind of discomfort in chest. This results in Angina.
- Supply of oxygen and blood to some areas of the heart gets blocked due to a clot in coronary artery, which leads the function of heart muscles to stop and thus leading to Heart attack.
- The arteries that supply blood and oxygen to the heart function abnormally and thus leading to the risk of cornoary heart disease
- Diseases of heart and blood vessels
- Blood clot blocks an artery or vein and thus blocking the blood flow to some area in the brain and thus leading to stroke. Stroke also occurs when blood vessels breaks and the function of brain cells stop.
What are the Symptoms of High Cholesterol (Hypercholesterolemia)
Symptoms of High Cholesterol cannot be identified by a patient or a doctor itself by just a look or touch. The common consequence of High Cholesterol level is Atherosclerosis. Hence the Symptoms of High Cholesterol are revealed if you have the symptoms of Atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis, also known as Arteriosclerotic Vascular Disease (ASVD) symptoms include:
- Narrowing of the blood vessels caused by the build up of fats/cholesterol
- Clot gets formed in one of the arteries that delivers blood to the heart and it leads to damage the heart muscles leading to heart failure.
- Leg pain arises while walking or doing some activities. This is because the Arteries that supply blood to the legs gets narrowed
- Stroke and mini stroke arises due to blood clots
- Thick yellow patches on the skin especially around the eyes. These yellow patches are actually the cholesterol deposits and is common among the people who have inherited high cholesterol susceptibility.
How to diagnose High Cholesterol
Cholesterol levels can be diagnosed with a simple blood test. It is important not to eat anything 12 hours before the blood sample is taken.
After the blood sample is taken it is then diagnosed for LDL, HDL and blood triglycerides level. The units are measured in mg/dl or mmol/liter.
Cholesterol levels and their state in terms of mg/dL
Less than 200 mg/dL
200 to 239 mg/dL
240 mg/dL and above
Cholesterol levels and their State in terms of mmol/liter
less than 5 mmol/liter
Mildly high cholseterol level
between 5 to 6.4 mmol/liter
Moderately high cholesterol level
between 6.5 to 7.8 mmol/liter
Very high cholesterol level
above 7.8 mmol/liter
Treatable medical condition and Non-treatable medical conditions of High Cholesterol levels
Treatable Medical Conditions:
If you suffer from the below listed problems, it will lead to increase in your LDL and it can be controlled medically by your doctors.
- High level of Triglycerides
- Hypertension - High blood pressure
- Kidney disease
- Liver disease
- Under active Thyroid gland
- If your close family members have either stroke or coronary heart disease, then you have a greater risk in getting high blood cholesterol levels. If your father/brother under age 55 or your mother/sister under age age 65 is suffering from coronary heart disease or stroke, then you are highly prone to it.
- If your parent, brother or sister is suffering from hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol) or hyperlipidemia (high blood lipids), then your chances of getting high cholesterol level is higher.
Women whose menopause occur early are highly prone to suffer from high cholesterol levels compared to other women.
Men are more likely to get high cholesterol compared to women
As you grow older the chances of getting high cholesterol too rises
Certain ethnic group:
Indian subcontinent peoples (India, Srilanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan) are more susceptible to have higher cholesterol levels compared to other people.
How to lower High Cholesterol levels
Most people gets high cholesterol levels because of their lifestyle. For such case, the Cholesterol levels can be brought to normal by following the below advice:
- First and foremost in controlling the cholesterol levels completely depends on the individual. He should have some control in the eating habits
- Do plenty of exercise. Doing twice in a day (morning and evening) is good. As life is busy these days, make a time to do it at least once in a day.
- Go for walking regularly. Walk fast and do not get involved in other activities while walking, like, listening to music, talking in phone, chatting with people nearby.
- Drink plenty of water. Drink 2 cups of water after getting up in empty stomach.
- Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, fiber containing food, oats and whole grains
- Avoid foods with saturated fats
- Maintain an ideal body weight
- Have a healthy diet
- Give the needed sleep to your mind (8 hours each night)
- Avoid alcohol
- Quit smoking
If your Cholesterol levels are still high after following the above, then you have to additionally follow the medications prescribed by your doctor. Your doctor may advise the below medications:
- Aspirin: This should not be given to people under 16 years of age
- Statins (HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors) - This will block an enzyme in the liver that produces cholesterol. Its main function is to bring the cholesterol levels to under 4 mmol/liter and under 2mmol/liter for your LDL. In taking Statins treats and prevents atherosclerosis. Side effects of Statins include headaches, constipation, abdominal pain and diarrhea. So take any medicines as prescribed by your doctor and follow the dose mentioned properly. Examples of Statins include Fluvastatin, Lovastatin, Pravastatin, Rosuvastatin and Simvastatin.
- Drugs to lower Triglyceride levels: Fibric acid derivative drugs like gemfibrozil, fenofibrate and clofibrate helps to lower triglyceride levels.
- Anti hypertensive drugs: If you suffer from High Blood Pressure then your doctor may prescribe Angiotensin-converting enzyme(ACE) inhibitors, Angiotensin receptor blockers(ARB), Diuretics, Beta-blockers and Calcium channel blockers.
In some case Cholesterol absorption inhibitors (ezetimibe) and bile acid sequestrants may be prescribed. They have more side effects and require considerable patient education to achieve compliance. So take the medications as prescribed by the doctor with the stated dosage.
Go to the below link to find ways to reduce Cholesterol naturally:
Author: Ambiga Jeyaratnaraja