How does cholesterol turn from a friend of the body into a lethal factor?
Cholesterol is a waxy fat-like substance, found naturally in the human body as the liver manufactures it, as well as in some foods, especially foods of animal origin. Cholesterol at normal levels is important for the human body in the process of building cells and supplying the body with energy.
High cholesterol is used when there are more cholesterol levels in the blood than the body needs, leading to deposits on the walls of the arteries that result in the risk of heart attack, angina and stroke.
Cholesterol is divided into two types:
- Good cholesterol: It is a high-density lipoprotein that works to withdraw cholesterol from cells and arteries walls and return it back to the liver, where the liver works to get rid of it, and the increase of this type of cholesterol in the body is useful in preventing atherosclerosis.
- Bad cholesterol: It is a low-density lipoprotein, the increase of its level in the blood causes the formation of deposits on the walls of the arteries, which causes atherosclerosis.
There are several factors that increase the risk of high cholesterol level in the blood, including:
- Eating a lot of foods that contain a high percentage of animal fats.
- Smoking, which is one of the main causes responsible for increasing cholesterol in the blood, leading to atherosclerosis.
- Having diabetes or high blood pressure.
- Obesity, which causes an increase in bad cholesterol in the body and a decrease in good cholesterol, which greatly increases the risk of atherosclerosis.
- Genetic factors, which are associated with high cholesterol levels even in people who follow a healthy lifestyle as a result of a genetic condition that causes hereditary hypercholesterolemia.
- Aging increases the risk of cholesterol
There are often no obvious symptoms of high cholesterol in the body, but too high cholesterol levels cause fatty patches to form on the skin or along the membrane of a muscle tendon. This requires attention to conducting a test to measure cholesterol levels in the body, especially for groups that are considered to be at higher risk of high cholesterol, in order to avoid the risks resulting from this rise, especially atherosclerosis and other diseases related to the heart.
Prevention of high cholesterol
Following a healthy lifestyle, which contributes to reducing heart disease, strokes and other diseases associated with unhealthy lifestyles, is critical to keeping cholesterol levels within normal and preventing atherosclerosis and other life-threatening diseases.
A healthy and balanced diet: Eating foods that contain a low percentage of fat, reducing the intake of foods rich in sugars and calories, and eating a lot of fruits, vegetables, fiber, and whole grains are all important in preventing high levels of bad cholesterol in the body.
Physical activity: Regular physical activity is of great importance in reducing body fat levels and maintaining body organs in general, and it is recommended to practice physical activity of at least 150 minutes a week for adults to maintain their fitness and health in the best way.
Quit smoking: Smoking is linked to many diseases, including heart disease, blood pressure, arteries and high cholesterol in the body. The longer you quit smoking, the lower the risk associated with these diseases.
Many people with high cholesterol often manage to bring it down to normal levels only by switching to a healthy lifestyle. However, sometimes when its levels are much higher than normal, the doctor recommends the use of some types of medications in addition to switching to a healthy lifestyle.