Our Health Is In Our Hands: Importance Of Cholesterol Awareness (31st October, 2020): The month of October is being observed as the National Cholesterol Month in the United Kingdom by raising funds for the HEART UK: The Cholesterol Charity, and promoting awareness regarding the dangers of high cholesterol. Great opportunity for us to talk about this topical issue.
Of course, we know, a certain amount of cholesterol in our bodies keeps our lives rolling. But, too much of it in our blood may obstruct our arteries (the large blood vessels that enable the blood circulation in our body), and lead to serious health consequences in the future including strokes, heart attacks, and circulatory diseases. Cholesterol is basically a lipid, or a type of blood fat, the levels of which fluctuate mainly depending upon our lifestyle choices, chronic health issues, and hereditary factors. Chances of damaged arteries, and raised cholesterol levels are likely to increase with age. Everyone should get themselves a cholesterol check at times, for high cholesterol doesn’t come along most often with any symptoms.
Cholesterol is transported in the blood by proteins. High-density lipoprotein (HDL) carries cholesterol away from the cells to the liver, from where it is either broken down or passed out of the body as a waste product. On the other hand, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) carries cholesterol to the needful cells. However, if there is excess of cholesterol for the cells to use, it gets accumulated in the artery walls, paving the way for diseases of arteries. For this reason, too much of LDL content in our blood is something we must all avoid.
Primary Causes of High Cholesterol:
- Staying physically inactive for a long period, excess consumption of saturated fat, alcohol, and smoking;
- Being overweight, suffering from chronic liver and kidney diseases, diabetes;
- Age, gender, and family background
Consequences of Clogged-up Arteries Due To High Cholesterol:
- Excess cholesterol leads to the formation of fatty areas in the walls of our arteries, making them stiffer, narrower, and harder over time. This phenomenon known as atherosclerosis is strenuous for the heart, as the heart then becomes weaker, and has to work harder to pump blood around the body. This can result in chest pain, heart attacks and failures, as well as strokes.
- Strokes may further call for vascular dementia when there are problems with blood supply to the brain because of the narrowing of blood vessels within it. This severely affects one’s memory, thinking, and speech.
Hope this makes you schedule in some exercise into your daily routine. You don’t have to go to a gym if you don’t want to – just 20 minutes of a brisk walk or some gentle exercise will be a great way to start!
That will get off those extra inches too that would make it easier for prevention and remediation.
To manage cholesterol levels, replacing foods that are high in saturated fat with those containing unsaturated fats found in plant food, oils and spreads like walnut, peanut, avocado, rapeseed, olive, as well as oil-rich fish is necessary.
Avoid having full fat dairy products, fatty and processed meats, and confectionary items like pastries, cakes that are not heart healthy. Have lots of water, and cut down upon the intake of foods high in salt, sugars, and condiments as much as possible. Instead, fruits and vegetables, wholegrains and breakfast cereals such as malted or shredded wheat, muesli, and bran flakes might be a healthier choice. Then again, don’t forget the benefits of soya foods, nuts (e.g., peanuts), oats and barley, and foods fortified with plant sterols in maintaining normal cholesterol levels. While soya foods and all nuts are naturally low in saturated fats, oats and barley are rich in a special fibre form named beta-glucan, which can work miracles as a part of your healthy diet and lifestyle.
After all, a healthy outside comes from the inside!