What Everyone Should Know About Cholesterol

Cholesterol is important to the body because it helps to repair and build the bodies cells. It is also responsible for producing estrogen and testosterone, as well as helping to digest food. Foods that we eat such as eggs, milk and meats contain cholesterol. The body makes cholesterol in the liver. Obesity raises cholesterol levels. If there is an excessive amount in the body, it cannot be digested. The desired total cholesterol levels in the blood are less than 200mg/dL.

There are two types of cholesterol. HDL known as good cholesterol and LDL known as the bad cholesterol. High levels of HDL cholesterol in the blood help to reduce the bad cholesterol sticking to the artery walls. This type is made of protein and lowers your risk for heart attack or stroke. Thus, it is important to have an elevated HDL to remain heart healthy. High levels of LDL cholesterol in the blood clumps to the artery walls causing atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is the build up of fats and cholesterol in an artery wall which in turn restricts blood flow through the vessel. Prolonged build up will lead to arteriosclerosis, which is the hardening of the arteries.

Increased levels of LDL is one of the leading precursors to heart attack and stroke. The blockage caused by the cholesterol and fat build up will eventually restrict the blood flow to the muscle of the heart. This may result in chest pain from the lack of oxygen or a heart attack if blood flow is completely blocked. Damage to the heart could be severe in a heart attack because usually that part of the heart muscle dies or significantly loses functionality. In the event of a stroke the fatty and cholesterol build up may break off the artery wall and cause a blockage to the brain.

The lack of oxygen to the brain will result in a mini stroke or severe stroke depending if the artery is completely blocked. Knowing how to control you cholesterol levels are important because no symptoms of high cholesterol are evident. You need to choose a diet low in fat and cholesterol. Looking at the food labels in the store maybe somewhat deceiving. If a label states there is no cholesterol added it is important to also check the trans and saturated fats.

Trans fats and saturated fats are just as dangerous. You need to increase the amount of fruits and vegetables you eat. As well as, choosing lean, skinless cuts of meat. Poultry and fish have substantially lower amounts of cholesterol. The recommended daily intake of cholesterol is only 300 mg. That really is not a lot if you look at you labels. When preparing your dinner plate, not only do you need to consider what you are putting on it, but how much you are putting on it is important. Losing the extra pounds will raise the HDL cholesterol and lower the LDL cholesterol. Portion control will help you to reduce you weight. By using proper portions and cutting about 500 calories from your diet weekly, you will be able to lose half to one pound weekly. This process is slow but effective for proper weight management.

You also need to take into account the liquid calories you take in through the day, whether it is juice, soda, or alcohol. Increase your diet with water, starch, and fiber foods. Increase activity levels and exercise will also help reduce the LDL and raise HDL. 30 minutes of exercise a day will be enough to help you lose weight and lower the hidden killer floating inside your body. This can be accomplished in three 10 minute, two 15 minute, or a full 30 minutes sessions. It is proven that exercise naturally lowers the LDL cholesterol levels. Ask your doctor for regular screening and for ways to help you be successful in lowering or maintaining a lower cholesterol level. Your heart is the center of the cardiovascular system. Maintaining a healthy cholesterol level will help you sustain the vital organ needed to live a long fulfilling life.

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