High cholesterol is a condition when cholesterol levels in the blood exceed normal limits . If left unchecked, excessive cholesterol can accumulate in blood vessels thereby increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Cholesterol is a waxy fat that is produced by the liver. The body needs cholesterol to produce healthy cells and a number of hormones. Besides being produced by the liver, cholesterol can also be obtained from food.
Cholesterol in the blood is bound by proteins and forms lipoproteins. There are two types of lipoproteins, namely high-density lipoprotein ( HDL ), which is commonly known as good cholesterol, and low-density lipoprotein ( LDL ), which is known as bad cholesterol.
Each type of lipoprotein has a different function for the body. HDL functions to carry excess cholesterol to the liver, while LDL carries cholesterol to the body's cells.
Besides cholesterol, there is also another type of fat called triglycerides. While cholesterol is used to produce healthy cells and hormones, triglycerides are used by the body to produce energy.
Causes and Risk Factors for High Cholesterol
A person is at risk of developing high cholesterol if they lead an unhealthy lifestyle, such as smoking, consuming alcoholic beverages, or consuming excessively fatty foods.
The risk of high cholesterol is also greater in people with certain diseases, such as diabetes and kidney disease.
High Cholesterol Symptoms and Complications
High cholesterol is an asymptomatic condition, so sufferers often don't realize it. Therefore, the way to find out whether you have high cholesterol or not is to take a cholesterol level test to the doctor.
Cholesterol level tests need to be done regularly, so that the risk of complications can be prevented. Some of the complications that can affect people with high cholesterol are stroke, coronary heart disease, and heart attack.
Treatment and Prevention of High Cholesterol
The way to treat and prevent high cholesterol is to live a healthy lifestyle, such as exercising regularly, eating lots of healthy foods , such as fruits and vegetables, and not smoking and consuming alcoholic beverages.
If a healthy lifestyle alone is not enough to lower cholesterol levels, patients are advised to take cholesterol-lowering drugs from a doctor.