Cholesterol - Health Center

Cholesterol

By Refadoc, Posted on : Tuesday, 15 September 2015 - 10:46 am IST

We all have often heard about the advertisements of food products with a low amount of cholesterol. Although we have heard a lot about cholesterol, do we really know what cholesterol is?

Cholesterol is known to be a waxy substance which is found in the fat cells in the blood. Though our body needs the cholesterol in order to work out for the building up of the healthy cells, high amount of cholesterol in the blood stream can lead to the increase in the risks of a heart disease.

With a high concentration of cholesterol, a person suffers from clogging in the blood vessels. With the accumulation of these fats, it becomes very difficult for the blood to flow through the arteries. Due to this, the heart may not be able to gain the required amount of the oxygen rich blood and these increases the risk of the person contracting heart attack or stroke.

High concentration of cholesterol is also known as hypercholesterolemia. In some of the rarer cases, it can be termed as an inherited condition, but in most of the cases, it is the outcome of unhealthy lifestyle. Therefore, it can be easily treated and prevented in most of the cases. With the combination of a healthy diet, some regular exercise as well as medication, a person can get rid of the high cholesterol.

Causes of High Cholesterol

Cholesterol is carried all over the body through the blood as it is attached to the proteins. The combination of proteins and cholesterol is known as lipoprotein.

There are three different kinds of cholesterol:

  • LDL (Low Density Lipoprotein) : This is also known as bad cholesterol as it carries the cholesterol particles all over the body. LDL often leads to the build up along the walls of the arteries of the affected person and can make the arteries hard and narrow in most of the cases.
  • VLDL (Very Low Density Lipoprotein) : This kind of cholesterol is mostly made up of the triglycerides, which is a kind of fat that is attached to the proteins in the blood. Also, VLDL is known to cause the blood vessels to narrow.
  • HDL (High Density Lipoprotein): This is known as good cholesterol as it picks up the excess cholesterol and tends to take it back to the liver.

There are some factors which are responsible for controlling the build-up of cholesterol in the body. These are inactivity, obesity as well as a combination of unhealthy eating options.

Sometimes, the genetic makeup of a person is also responsible in order to remove the LDL from the blood of the person.

Symptoms of Cholesterol

High cholesterol has no known symptoms. Only a blood test can determine the high cholesterol content in the body. It is recommended to have a baseline cholesterol test after every five years in order to keep a tab at the cholesterol content in the body. Sometimes, in people who are suffering from a genetic probability of contracting high cholesterol, some of the other tests can be recommended. Smoking, diabetes and high blood pressure are some of the major contributing factors towards high cholesterol.

Tests and Diagnosis for High Cholesterol

A lipid panel or a lipid profile test is the best suited in order to measure high cholesterol level. These tests basically go out and check the person for the LDL and HDL cholesterol along with the triglyceride content. Before the test, it is recommended to not eat or drink anything for 12 hours. This helps the doctors to gain an accurate measure of the cholesterol.

The levels of Cholesterol in the body are measured in milligrams per decilitre of blood. It is generally recommended that the triglyveride level of 100mg/dL in the blood is considered to be normal. However, if the levels of triglyceride are more, then it is recommended to work on the same with the changes in the diet along with the weight loss.

Treatment and Drugs for High Cholesterol

Bringing out an extensive change in the lifestyle along with exercises is the best treatment for dealing with high cholesterol levels. Some of the best used treatment options to deal with High Cholesterol are as follows:

  • Statins: These are the most commonly prescribed medications for the treatment of Cholesterol. This helps to lower the cholesterol level of the person by blocking the substance in the liver which is needed to produce cholesterol. Statins are also responsible in order to reabsorb the deposits of the cholesterol and reversing the chances of coronary heart disease. Atorvastatin, Lovastatin and Pravastatin are the best drugs in order to deal with high cholesterol levels.
  • Bile Acid Binding Resins: Cholesterol is needed in order to produce bile by the liver. These medications lower the amount of cholesterol by binding to the bile acids and helping the liver in order to use the excess amount of cholesterol to make more bile acids, thereby decreasing the amount of cholesterol of the person.
  • Cholesterol Absorption Inhibitors: Small intestine of the person helps the body to absorb the cholesterol from the diet and then release it back into the bloodstream. Drugs such as Zetia are the ones that decrease the amount of cholesterol by decreasing the absorption of the cholesterol.
  • Fibrates: These medications decrease the amount of triglycerides in the body by limiting the production by the liver of the VLDL. This leads to a speedy removal of the triglycerides from the body.
  • Niacin: These decrease the liver’s ability to produce LDL and VLDL. This medication is available over the counter and has the least amount of side effects.
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