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Brains Super Speciality Hospital
Breaking the Chain: Conquering High Cholesterol for  Healthy Heart and Brain!

Dr. A H Wahid, Consultant, General Physician, Brains Super Speciality Hospital.

What is high cholesterol?

Increased blood cholesterol levels are the hallmark of hypercholesterolemia, also commonly referred to as high cholesterol. Although cholesterol is a fatty molecule that is necessary for the synthesis of hormones and cells, excessive amounts of it can have negative health effects, particularly on the blood vessels to the heart and brain.

Causes of High Cholesterol levels :

1. Genetics: Some individuals are born with genes that make their bodies overproduce cholesterol or have trouble eliminating it from the blood.

2. Unhealthy diet: Consuming foods high in cholesterol, trans fats, and saturated fats can raise blood cholesterol levels. These consist of processed foods, baked goods, full-fat dairy items, and fatty meats.

3. Lack of Exercise: Studies have shown that sedentary lifestyles raise LDL cholesterol levels—often referred to as "bad" cholesterol—while lowering HDL cholesterol levels—often referred to as "good" cholesterol.

4. Obesity: Being fat or overweight increases the risk of several health issues as well as cholesterol levels.

5. Smoking: Tobacco smoke irritates blood vessels, which facilitates the buildup of cholesterol and the formation of plaques.

Consequences of High Cholesterol:

Elevated cholesterol levels have been linked to atherosclerosis, a disorder characterized by the accumulation of plaque in the arteries. This may cause the arteries to narrow and blood flow to important organs to be restricted, raising the risk of:

1. Heart disease: Coronary artery disease and heart attacks are significantly increased by high cholesterol.

2. Stroke: By lowering blood flow to the brain, blocked arteries can cause strokes.

3. Peripheral artery disease: Pain, numbness, and other issues may arise from decreased blood supply to the limbs.

How do you detect High Cholesterol ?

Until hypercholesterolemia causes a major health issue, such as a heart attack or stroke, it frequently doesn't show any symptoms. Because of this, it's crucial to have your cholesterol evaluated on a regular basis, particularly if you have a family history of high cholesterol or heart disease or other risk factors.

How to rectify ?

Usually, medication is used in addition to lifestyle modifications to treat high cholesterol. The following actions can help you reduce your cholesterol:

Consume an abundance of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats as part of a healthy diet. Cut back on food rich on cholesterol, trans fats, and saturated fats.

  • Frequent Exercise: Try to get in at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercises per day.
  • Give Up Smoking and cut down on alcohol intake.
  • Medication: Your doctor may recommend drugs like statins to help lower your cholesterol if lifestyle modifications are insufficient.

If left untreated hypercholesterolemia can have major negative effects on one's health. By being aware of the causes, consequences, and available treatments for high cholesterol, you can reduce your chance of heart disease, stroke, and other related issues. It is imperative to discuss your cholesterol levels and any options you may have with your healthcare practitioner.