If you have ever gone to the doctor and had lab work that revealed you have high cholesterol or high triglycerides you are usually given a sheet of paper with information on how to reduce these numbers. Most of us have a minimal level of knowledge of what this means and advised what to do. This blog will educate you and inform you of what exactly happens in the body, what body parts are affected, symptoms, and natural ways to reverse your levels in the blood.
First, what is high cholesterol and what are the levels? Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that is found in all the cells in the body. Cholesterol is made by the liver and is also in some foods, such as meat and dairy products. In order for our bodies to function properly some cholesterol is necessary. Cholesterol has what is called “good” and “bad” cholesterol. There is a total cholesterol level, then there is HDL which is the “good” and LDL which is the “bad”. Total cholesterol is just what it says, a total amount of HDL and LDL. HDL is called the good because it helps to remove cholesterol from your arteries; LDL is the bad cholesterol it is the culprit of cholesterol buildup and blocks the arteries.
High cholesterol as we know causes build up in your arteries, called atherosclerosis. The result of this is two-fold due to blood will not flow as effectively through stiff arteries and results in the heart having to work harder to push through the blood. As the heart must work harder it does not flow as fluent and heart disease will be your next diagnosis. Because the blood flows at a slower pace plaque builds up in your arteries as well of which adds to the burden of the arteries becoming hardened. Time is not on your side, if you do not rectify this situation the building of plaque in your arteries tends to break off and the result is a possible deep vein thrombosis (DVT), pulmonary embolus, stroke, or heart attack.
Cholesterol does have a positive purpose in the body. The endocrine system is dependent on cholesterol for making hormones such as estrogen, testosterone, and cortisol. Our nervous system is dependent on cholesterol because the human brain which contains 25 percent of the body’s entire supply of cholesterol is found there; being responsible for the development and protection of nerve cells. The production of bile could not be produced without cholesterol for it is an essential part of how your body breaks down foods and absorbs nutrients in your intestines.
There are quite a few ways to assist in lowering your LDL cholesterol that mostly require a small change in lifestyle and altering your choices. It is obvious to say “get more exercise” but there are subtle ways of achieving this goal. Take the stairs instead of an elevator, park farther from the entrance of a grocery or department store, and change your daily routine by taking a walk in the morning or late afternoon before your normal activities of the day. Healthy eating will be a major factor in your adventure to lower your cholesterol. Attempt to eat a small piece of fruit, a vegetable snack, or whole grains before having a snack or meal that high in saturated fat. We are not saying do not eat your favorite foods but eat a small healthy portion before eating for pleasure. You will begin to notice that you do not eat as much of the pleasure food at each sitting.
Although our body produces triglycerides and they are to be used as energy by our cells. Triglycerides are stored as body fat to fuel the body between meals or when fasting. The blood becomes much thicker and stickier when triglycerides are of abundance. Coinciding with high cholesterol, high triglycerides contribute to stroke, cardiovascular disease, and possible death. Beyond the lack of exercise and eating high saturated fats triglycerides levels become elevated when type 2 diabetes levels are not under control, having hypothyroidism, kidney, or liver disease and if someone drinks a lot of alcohol.
Like cholesterol, changes in lifestyle will assist in lowering triglycerides, so it is safe to say you can kill two birds with one stone. Losing weight, reducing your intake of saturated fats, cutting back on alcohol, eating more foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids, avoid sugar, and of course exercise.
Metabolic syndrome is a result of high blood sugars, high blood pressure, central (abdominal) obesity, high triglycerides, high LDL, and low HDL thus exacerbating your risk for major health complications when in a combination of one another. Being that one entity affects all.
We can check if you have high cholesterol! Call The Center for Diabetes & Endocrine today or send us a message if you would like to make an appointment. We have the knowledge and experience to treat you with compassion and help you to obtain your goal of a healthy lifestyle.