Unlike popular thinking goes, cholesterol is actually useful to the human body. It is one of the important components used in the production of chemicals like estrogen and testosterone. It is also used to make Vitamin D and some other chemicals that assist in the digestion of food.
However, problems start to arise when the cholesterol levels are not optimum in the body. When it goes above a certain level, we call it high cholesterol, which is a risky condition that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
The risk factor
High Cholesterol (also known as hypercholesterolemia) has no immediate symptoms. And because of this, it can be ignored very easily.
Also, most times it is accompanied by other conditions like diabetes and obesity. And it goes unnoticed because the primary focus is on these conditions.
But high cholesterol, if left unattended, could lead to serious problems like heart attack or stroke.
Recommended diet changes
The liver is primarily responsible for producing the cholesterol required by the body. But the food that we eat also contributes to the amount of cholesterol in our system. Hence, for a person with high cholesterol, changing the diet is essential in curbing the condition.
The following changes could help in bringing the cholesterol levels to an optimum mark.
- Add fibre to your diet. Fibre is found mostly in fruits and vegetables.
- Avoid trans fats and saturated fats.
- Choose monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats
Exercise is a must
When diet alone doesn’t result in desirable changes, exercise must also be added to the lifestyle.
However, you need not hit the gym. Two to three hours of moderate exercise every week could go a long way in your fight against high cholesterol.
Also, it is a good idea to quit bad habits like smoking.
Is medication needed?
If diet and exercise don’t work, then you will have to turn to medication. This decision has to be taken in consultation with your doctor, just like all the other health decisions that you take.
Statins is a common drug used for this condition as it inhibits a particular enzyme that is involved in the production of cholesterol in the liver.
Also, there are some natural foods rich in statins like fenugreek, fish oil, Psyllium and red yeast rice. Even these could help you to maintain your cholesterol levels.
High cholesterol is one of those conditions that easily go ignored and can have adverse effects on the body as time passes.
Hence, it is crucial to identify the condition and take the necessary measures to curb it.