Cholesterol gets a bad rap, but it has a critical role in our body. Our cells need this waxy, fatty substance to make hormones, vitamin D, and other substances that aid digestion. Our body makes all the cholesterol we need, but unhealthy habits can increase it to dangerous levels. Fortunately, there are ways you can control those levels and prevent heart disease. 

What Is Cholesterol?

The liver makes cholesterol, and it also comes from certain foods. There are several types in our body, but the two main ones include:

LDL Cholesterol 

Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol – aka ‘bad cholesterol.’

HDL Cholesterol 

High-density lipoprotein cholesterol – aka ‘good cholesterol.’

High LDL cholesterol levels in the body can cause heart disease by blocking arteries with plaque or fatty deposits. If those arteries get blocked completely, you are at risk of the following health conditions:

Angina 

If coronary arteries of the heart are blocked with cholesterol, blood flow reduces, which prevents the heart from getting oxygen. This can cause shortness of breath or an angina attack that is characterized by chest pain. 

Heart Attack 

If a blocked artery bursts, it can form a clot that can block the blood supply to the heart, causing a heart attack.

Besides the heart, a blocked artery can also prevent oxygenated blood from reaching the brain, causing a stroke. Similarly, a clot can block arteries providing blood to the lower body, causing pain when you are in motion. 

Top Remedies That Can Help You Control Your Cholesterol Levels

Bad cholesterol levels can prove fatal if they are not reduced. Here are some of the ways you can prevent a tragedy and regain control of your health:

Switch to Healthy Fats

Take a good look at your diet. If more saturated fats are in your food than the unsaturated variety, you are at risk of high cholesterol. The health variety can be found in olives, nuts, avocados, oily fish, plant/seed oils and seeds. Unhealthy saturated fats are found in greasy food such as cream and butter. 

Lose Weight 

If you have a body mass index of 25 or higher and a high waist circumference of more than 90cm, you probably have high cholesterol levels. The more fat you have in your abdomen, the higher your chances of getting a blocked artery, which can cause cardiovascular disease. Reduce calories in your daily diet after consulting with a dietitian and physician. 

Get More Exercise 

Physical activity regulates blood pressure, which, in turn, improves cholesterol levels in the body. If you don’t exercise, start small to build your stamina. Some physical activity is better than none. Start with daily walks and increase the time, duration and frequency slowly. Adults should exercise at least 150 minutes throughout the week. This can be anything from climbing stairs, dancing, brisk walking, cycling, etc. 

Stop Smoking 

Smoking reduces HDL cholesterol levels in the body, allowing LDL cholesterol levels to rise and cause health problems. You will experience the benefits almost instantly. After 20 minutes, your blood pressure and heart rate will recover from the smoke, and if you can hold out for three months, you will breathe easier, and your blood circulation will improve drastically. A year after you quit smoking, your risk of heart disease will reduce significantly. 

Stop Drinking Copious Amounts of Alcohol

In moderation, alcohol can increase good cholesterol levels, but it isn’t significant enough to make alcoholism a remedy for heart disease. Drink in moderation so your blood pressure remains stable, and you reduce your risk of heart failure. 

Add Soluble Fiber to Your Diet 

Soluble fiber can help your digestive system absorb cholesterol and slow down digestion so you feel fuller for longer. Some of these food items include lentils, bananas, oranges, pears, oat bran, barley, fruits, oats and beans. 

If a lifestyle change isn’t sufficient to reduce or control your cholesterol levels, consider consulting with a physician. They can help you determine a proper diet and medication to keep those levels healthy and prevent heart disease.

High bad cholesterol levels can compromise your cardiovascular health. It may not be apparent right now, but your arteries may be narrowing as we speak. While the tips mentioned above can help you regain control of your health, a doctor can ensure you do so without hurting yourself.

Book a Consultation at Health One Family Medicine Today

Bad cholesterol can take over your life and health if you have a sedentary lifestyle and an unhealthy diet. Take action before it is too late by booking a consultation at Health One Family Medicine. We offer a range of medical services that can help you regain control of your health and prevent heart disease in particular. 

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