For the past few decades or so, cholesterol was always seen as the enemy. It has been the source of blame for many things including heart failures. People have grown to fear cholesterol, and the rule everywhere was to keep it as low as possible at all costs.
There are certain studies which now claim that cholesterol should not be demonized. But, it should still be monitored to ensure that your body has the right levels for good health.
And here’s a little surprise…you actually need cholesterol in your body! Essential to life and needed by cell membranes to function, your body can’t be without it.
The Role Of Cholesterol
Classified as a lipid and found in most animals, cholesterol is a fat essential to certain metabolic processes. In fact, most of our cholesterol is actually produced by the liver and the cells in our bodies. It helps in many biological processes including the absorption of vitamin D.
Cholesterol is useful but it has to be controlled. Health experts recommend that cholesterol should not exceed 5.5 mmol per liter.
Those with pre-existing risk factors should aim for lower cholesterol. Unfortunately, a huge number of us ignore these numbers and recommendations. As a result, many people have a high cholesterol count that needs to be managed.
Too much cholesterol circulating in your bloodstream can get quite dangerous. It causes blood vessels to narrow, and in time, become blocked. This can lead to many different diseases like stroke or various heart diseases.
What Affects Cholesterol Levels
There are many factors which affect a person’s cholesterol levels. Some people are more likely to have higher levels because of genetics or family background.
Others may have it because of a related medical condition like an under active thyroid gland.
Lifestyle factors can also contribute including over consumption of alcohol and obesity. Some risk factors are more dangerous than others and this should be taken into account.
It is important to look at a person’s overall lifestyle. Only by taking a holistic approach is it possible to figure out the best possible solution.
The most controllable factor in preventing high cholesterol is your diet. Switching to more health-conscious food choices will improve anybody’s health. For example, eating foods that are low in saturated fat is a great start to improving your health.
The majority of those who have high cholesterol do not show the symptoms of the condition. If you are over twenty years of age you should get your blood pressure and cholesterol checked. Do the checks at least once every year to ensure they are at acceptable levels.
If you are in the high risk group, it is a good idea to get the tests done more often. Consult your doctor or health care provider to find out how often you should take the test.
While high cholesterol is a problem, remember that we all need some cholesterol in our bodies.