High cholesterol, sometimes written as hypercholesterolemia, is having higher than normal amounts of cholesterol in the body. When a person has high cholesterol, it increases their risk of heart disease.
The cholesterol in the blood can begin to form deposits in your blood vessels, a process called atherosclerosis. This process can lead to further negative health effects, so it's important to keep cholesterol levels low and in control.
High cholesterol is often a result of unhealthy behaviors, changing these behaviors can prevent high levels of cholesterol. Exercise, diet, and in certain cases medication, are used to reduce cholesterol levels and help you live a healthier, happier life.
There are several types of cholesterol, including:
LDL (low density lipoprotein) Cholesterol: LDL is the "bad cholesterol". When there is too much LDL cholesterol in the blood, it can start to attach to the walls of your blood vessels. These deposits usually decrease the amount of space your blood has to travel in, which can cause high blood pressure, chest pain, and other conditions. A blood test can tell us what your LDL levels are, and this can help you modify your diet to decrease this form of cholesterol.
HDL (high density lipoprotein) Cholesterol: HDL is the "good cholesterol". HDL cholesterol removes LDL cholesterol from the blood, returning it to the liver where it is removed from the body. HDL cholesterol helps prevent LDL buildup in the arteries.
Triglycerides: another form of fat in the blood, triglycerides are used as a source of energy in the body. Triglycerides are tested for as part of the lipid panel that checks cholesterol levels.
It's also useful to know about the test we use for an individual's blood cholesterol levels:
Lipid panel: a blood test used to measure fats and fatty substances used by the body. A lipid panel tests for cholesterol, triglycerides, HDL cholesterol, and LDL cholesterol. This test may also include the ratio of total cholesterol to HDL and sometimes the HDL to LDL ratio.
Anxiety disorders can be intertwined as both a risk factor and a symptom of heart disease. The difference between these two is that, as a risk factor, anxiety causes the issues in the heart. As a symptom, feelings of anxiety or an anxiety disorder can develop because of cardiac issues. The information below will go over both aspects of how anxiety is linked to heart disease.
Risk factors for high cholesterol include:
- poor diet,
- lack of exercise,
By "age" we mean that risk of high cholesterol usually rises as a person ages, it is possible for a person of any age to have high cholesterol.
How can I prevent having high cholesterol or lower cholesterol levels? Certain dietary changes, including low-salt, plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Moderation in good fats and limiting animal fats is also recommended. It is usually helpful to lose extra weight, quit smoking, and exercise for at least thirty minutes on most days of the week. Moderation in alcohol and stress management can be helpful as well. Be sure to consult with a physician if you are concerned about your cholesterol.