High Cholesterol or hypercholesterolemia affects over one hundred million Americans. While not a disease itself hypercholesterolemia is an asymptomatic result of many diseases. It is commonly associated with cardiovascular disease. It is characterized by elevated lipids and lipoproteins in the bloodstream.
What Problems Can Arise?
The difference between a normal cholesterol level and a high cholesterol level is readily apparent to the naked eye when two bags of plasma are placed side by side. The high cholesterol plasma will be opaque and the normal cholesterol plasma will be translucent. Sustained high cholesterol levels can lead to stenosis or even occlusion of the arteries.
As blood supply is restricted or denied to the tissues and organs supplied by these arteries function becomes noticeably impaired. Some symptoms of impaired functions due to sustained elevated cholesterol levels are: dizziness, impaired vision, difficulty speaking, weakness of the limbs, tingling or numbness in the extremities, chest pain, abdominal pain, etc.
What Changes Cholesterol Levels?
There are several high cholesterol causes. Some of these high cholesterol causes can be addressed and corrected. Cholesterol control methods are often a good way of lowering high cholesterol. Other high cholesterol causes are based on family history and genetics.
These often require a medical means of cholesterol control. Just altering a diet and getting more exercise is not enough to address genetic high cholesterol causes. The following aspects can contribute to varying cholesterol levels in individuals, sometimes wether they can control them or not:
1. Diet: The first and easiest to cause address is a patient’s diet. Too much saturated fat is a high cholesterol cause. Foods high in saturated fat are beef, pork, eggs, milk, margarine and shortening. By lessening, or even eliminating, the amount of saturated fat a patient takes in they can substantially reduce their cholesterol levels.
2. Weight: As diet is changed it leads to a loss in weight. Being overweight is a cause of high cholesterol. Patients who are overweight often have a high level of triglycerides and a low level of HDL (good cholesterol).
3. Exercise: Patients who exercise on a regular basis see a decrease in LDL and a corresponding increase in HDL. A sedentary lifestyle is one of the leading high cholesterol causes. Exercise is a vital part of the cholesterol control puzzle.
4. Smoking: Smoking can lower good cholesterol levels and increase bad cholesterol levels. It is best to quit as soon as possible.
5. Thyroid Levels: A patient’s health is often interrelated. Patients with diseases such as diabetes or thyroid problems often have an elevated cholesterol level.
6. Age: On to the things patients cannot control. Cholesterol levels gradually rise as a patient ages. They rise at a more rapid rate in men over the age of twenty than in women of a similar age. Both seem to level off at about the age of fifty. There is no method of cholesterol control in regards to age.
7. Genetics: This is another of the high cholesterol causes that have no real cholesterol control options. Some patients are just predisposed to having high cholesterol. This is often a family trait.
What Can You Do?
There are many methods out there both natural and drug related that tout themselves as cholesterol control methods. Some of these methods are better than others. It is best to consult with a physician before taking anything to control or lower cholesterol. A cholesterol control method that every doctor will advocate is a healthy diet and physical exercise.
There is no drug that will effectively replace the benefits that are gained from eating right and getting regular daily exercise. There are some pesky side effects to things like eating right, exercising, and not smoking. Patients tend to lose weight, have more energy, and better breath. This can be tough to deal with, but overall all quality of life is worth it.