The Value of Cholesterol for a Human Body
Cholesterol is a chemical element that is not initially “bad.” In fact, it is inevitable for life. Your body needs it to create new cells and produce all the necessary elements that are required for proper functionality. Meanwhile, overwhelming cholesterol can turn into a serious problem. Some foods have a great amount of various fats. As a result, your liver has no choice but deliver more and more cholesterol. At some point, its amount goes up and down.
So, what is the deal with cholesterol? What is its value? Where is its origin? These are only some of the questions to be answered below. Let’s get started!The definition
Cholesterol can be defined as an oil-based compound that is delivered by the liver. It aims to build cell walls and generate hormones without getting mixed with the blood. In addition, it performs the following functions:
- • contribute to the development of cell walls;
- • produce digestive bile acids in the intestine;
- • affect the generation of the sufficient amount of vitamin D;
- • affect the generation of certain hormones.
Cholesterol is mainly managed by the liver. The rest comes from nutrition sources such as meat, fish, poultry, eggs, milk, and cheese. Obviously, organic products contain no cholesterol at all.
Once you are done with a meal, cholesterol is transferred from the small intestine, metabolized, and collected in the liver. When your body needs this compound, it gives a signal to the liver.
Is it “good” or “bad”?
Good cholesterol tends to stay in the balance, while bad one gets collected in your organism. If your total cholesterol indicator is increased due to excessive LDL, you may get closer to heart complications. But, if it is boosted due to excessive HDL, you shouldn’t be afraid of the related risks. The ideal blood cholesterol needs to be lower than 150 mg/dL. After checking the Framingham Heart Research, it has been estimated that more than 100 million Americans have this indicator at a considerably higher level. With an average estimate of 200 mg/dL, these people are about to face health difficulties.
The liver is the organ that takes responsibility for managing LDL in the body. When LDL reaches the blood, receptors on liver cells can keep the LDL levels under control. If there is a lack of liver cells or if they do not function properly, the LDL level may get high.
A genetic background plays a crucial role in a person's cholesterol contain. There may be a genetic predisposition for hypercholesterolemia. This is where the amount of liver cells is insufficient and LDL may cause heart issues at a young age.
Dietary habits determine the amount of chemical substance in your body. Saturated fats to be detected in meats, eggs, and milk-based products have a direct impact on cholesterol. Vegetable oils produced from coconut, palm, and cocoa are also high in saturated fats. Involvement of such products into a daily menu needs to be minimized.
Other conditions include but are not limited to:
- • different types of diabetes, especially in older people;
- • liver or kidney disease;
- • polycystic ovary medical issue;
- • pregnancy and other conditions that boost female hormones;
- • underactive thyroid gland;
- • drugs that boost LDL cholesterol and minimize HDL cholesterol, such as progestins, anabolic steroids, and corticosteroids.
The major symptoms
A person with high cholesterol usually has no clearly-stated symptoms. This is why it is often called a “silent” problem. You won’t find out about it before serious complications starts occurring, such as a heart attack or stroke. Also, you will be able to find out about it through routine screening and regular blood tests. A person who refuses to undergo testing may experience a heart pain or even a heart attack without the tiniest warning.
In rare cases, your body may give you a signal. Thus, the development of cholesterol in your arteries is the first thing to be worried about. Once the inner plague gets hard, it starts making your arteries too narrow. As a result, your arteries get blocked, which enables the transition of blood through the veins. Cholesterol plaques can fall to pieces by forming a blood clot and blocking the smooth direction of blood. A blocked artery to the heart leads to a heart attack. A stuffed artery to your brain leads to a stroke.
Many people don’t realize that they have problems with cholesterol until they face one of these dangerous events. So, it’s better to find out through regular check-ups that include blood tests. At least, you will be able to handle the issue at the early stage.
The ways of measurement
The only way to measure cholesterol is to undergo a traditional blood test. Your doctor will most likely call it a “lipid profile” or “lipid test.” Lipid is an alternative way to call fat. So this test aims to determine the amount of “good” and “bad” fat in your body. To conduct this test, a healthcare professional will take a sample of your blood. After its examination in a lab, you can decide what to do next. If your result is above the norm, you will have to go through a certain therapy.
In some countries, this kind of testing service can be received in the local pharmacies. With a finger-prick test, a pharmacist will get a lipid profile of yours. To get ready for the test, you will need to avoid eating or drinking for at least 12 hours beforehand. Otherwise, the test result will have a lower accuracy and you will have to do it again.
The preventive measures
Even if your cholesterol is in the norm, it doesn’t mean that it will stay like this for the whole life. Without keeping it under control, you may face the issue in the future prospects. This is why you should do something in advance. Otherwise, the health problems will come up soon. In order to minimize the future risks, you should make your lifestyle healthier. The Journal of the American College of Cardiology has offered the following measures to be integrated into your everyday life:
- • stick to heart-healthy dietary habits;
- • do regular exercises and be physically active;
- • give up on smoking;
- • keep your weight in balance;
- • minimize or avoid alcohol consumption.
These actions will keep your cholesterol level under control. As a result, you will reduce the risk of heart issues to the very minimum. Before you decide to get your life into the norm, you should discuss cholesterol preventive measures with the doctor. Your family background and personal health state are to be taken into account while following a diet, developing a program of physical activities, or estimating the optimal weight. Considering these factors, you will get a more personalized approach to the treatment of cholesterol issues.
The traditional and untraditional measures
This problem is not new in the medical sphere. More and more people keep suffering from it. Thus, traditional and untraditional treatments have been developed in this regard. But before you rely on any of them, you should contact your doctor for the detailed consultation. What works well for one person can be harmful to another one.
The drug treatment will depend on the estimated cholesterol. Of course, other aspects of your health condition should also be taken into consideration. Practical suggestions usually start with the development of special diet and exercising program. Patients with a higher risk may need to start from the use of statins or other medications.
Statins are the major group of cholesterol-lowering drugs. These include simvastatin (Zocor), atorvastatin (Lipitor), lovastatin (Altoprev), rosuvastatin calcium (Crestor), and many others. They aim to decrease LDL. Similar to other medications, statins may have some side-effects. But their dose can be adjusted to a particular patient, which usually sorts out the problem.
Apart from statins, a doctor may prescribe additional medications that have a direct impact on metabolism, digestion, and immune system as the whole. These involve absorption inhibitors, fibric acid derivatives, resins, and niacin.
According to the FDA’s instructions, the treatment requires a stepped approach. The list of steps depends on the seriousness of individual’s risk. If you already have a cardiovascular complication, a medical specialist will most likely advise you to use ezetimibe and one of the statin drugs. If you are at very high risk, a doctor will also add a PCSK9 inhibitor to the list of practical suggestions.
The limpid-lowering therapy tends to benefit patients with a history of heart attack, enhanced LDL, and one of the two forms of diabetes. After achieving an improvement, your goal is to maintain the result at a satisfactory level. Don’t forget to discuss the most suitable cholesterol with your medical advisor.
If your situation is not that dramatic, you may have a chance to fix it naturally. By consuming specific products with the low contain of cholesterol, you can sort out the problem without taking medications. It’s a well-known fact that particular herbal and nutritional supplements may be of a great value for your body. These include:
- • garlic
- • onion
- • soy
- • hawthorn
- • ginger
- • cereal with oatmeal or oat bran
- • psyllium
- • red yeast rice
- • ground flax seed
- • red yeast rice, etc.
Plants may have the opposite effect on your body. Being rich in soluble fiber, they can’t decrease cholesterol. For example, barley, beans, and bananas are all excellent sources of soluble fiber. These products can’t be involved in your diet as they are potentially dangerous for your cholesterol contain. But it doesn’t mean that you need to eliminate it completely from your daily ratio. They still can be consumed in limited portions without causing excessive pressure for your body.
Make sure to contact your doctor before taking any herbal or nutritional supplements. In some situations, they might communicate with other medications you’re taking.
Starting a cholesterol-lowering diet
By using the above-mentioned products, you can develop a healthy ratio that contains all the necessary elements for your organism. It will affect the normalization of cholesterol, as well as have an overly positive impact on your health. It will maintain your blood pressure in the norm. It will help your arteries stay flexible and responsive. It will be of great use to your bones and digestive health, as well as your vision and psychological stability.
A daily diet shouldn’t involve the products with the high level of fats. The major dietary elements should be of an organic origin. These include fruits and vegetables. Thus, margarine filled with plant sterols, oats, barley, psyllium, eggplant, soy protein, and almonds are inevitable compounds of the anti-cholesterol diet.
By expanding the variety of foods you usually consume and getting used to new textures and flavors, you can benefit from a "natural" way to lower cholesterol. Compared to chemicals, healthy nutrition will give you no side-effects.
Why does it matter?
Cholesterol can’t be treated 100% positively or negatively. At the normal level, it is a crucial compound for the body. At the abnormal level, it becomes a “silent” problem that causes dangers for your well-being. In order to minimize the cholesterol-related risks, make sure to follow three major rules:
- • Check your cholesterol by means of a standard blood test.
- • Change your daily ration and way of life.
- • Consult with a medical professional to make your lifestyle more organized.
Depending on your initial state, your risk of further complications can get higher or lower. The one thing is clear: you should eat and drink in a smart way. Getting your stomach stuffed with toxic food will be no good for you. By consuming healthy products and staying physically active, you can enhance the quality of your lifestyle. Eventually, you will minimize the possibility of health complications in your organism. Hitting two birds with one stone is not such a bad idea when it comes to your personal health.