High cholesterol: what to do?
Cholesterol increase is the main factor in the development of atherosclerosis. In the walls of blood vessels are formed atherosclerotic plaques, which reduce their clearance and increase the risk of formation of intravascular thrombus. High cholesterol is found in 80% of the population over the age of 50, while in half of the cases, this condition leads to the development of cardiovascular pathology.
The role of cholesterol in the body
Cholesterol is a natural organic compounds, being fat (lipophilic) alcohol. It is contained in some foods, mainly of animal origin and is synthesized in the human body (in the liver). This compound is important for the normal functional state of the organism, it performs several biological functions:
- Included in the composition of cytoplasmic membranes of all body cells, thereby increasing their stability, regulates the permeability of membranes, and prevents the destruction of red blood cells (hemolysis).
- Is the structural basis for the subsequent synthesis of sex hormones (estrogen, testosterone) and the hormones of the adrenal cortex (glucocorticoids, mineralocorticoids).
- Participates in the synthesis of bile acids, which are necessary for the digestion of fats in the intestines, and vitamin D is the main regulator of the metabolism of minerals.
Blood cholesterol is associated with proteins-transporters (lipoproteins) as well as in its pure form it is an insoluble compound. There are several groups of such proteins, the highest amount of cholesterol is the lipoproteins of very low (VLDL) and low density (LDL). The increase in total cholesterol associated with an increase in the concentration of the corresponding lipoprotein.
Causes higher cholesterol
The normal rate of the cholesterol level of a person should not exceed of 6.19 mmol/l increases in this index can be a result of the combined action of various causes that lead to the strengthening of its production in the body:
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- Metabolic disorders in the body – obesity, which increases cholesterol and other lipids.
- Endocrine disorders – diabetes (impaired glucose utilization by body cells) and hypothyroidism (decreased level of triiodothyronine and thyroxine — substances produced by the thyroid gland) is significantly disturbed metabolism, resulting in elevated cholesterol for a long time.
- Genetic predisposition – the genes that are responsible for the intensity of the processes of synthesis of endogenous (native) cholesterol in the body have some changes, inherited.
- Various pancreatic diseases (malignancy, chronic pancreatitis).
- Liver pathology in which increased production of cholesterol cells – hepatitis, steatosis, fatty degeneration of the liver.
- The use of certain drugs that affect fat metabolism of the body – oral hormonal contraceptives, diuretics (diuretics), derivatives of certain hormones (corticosteroids).
Also to increase the level of this compound is influenced by Smoking, alcohol abuse and low physical activity. Physiological options for increasing the concentration of this compound is a pregnancy in which the woman is significantly hormonal changes and metabolism of lipids.
How to define cholesterol?
Determining the concentration of cholesterol is in the process of biochemical blood tests. There are several indicators by which we can objectively evaluate the condition of an exchange of cholesterol and other fats in the body. These include total cholesterol, very low density lipoproteins (VLDL), low density (LDL) and high density (HDL).
Normal HDL should not exceed LDL. Very high total cholesterol and LDL are bad prognostic factor that may lead to the development of atherosclerosis progression and subsequent cardiovascular disease (hypertension, cardiac ischemia, myocardial infarction or stroke in brain).
High cholesterol – what to do?
If high cholesterol and LDL above the normal values, the normalization of these parameters is the main measure of prevention of cardiovascular diseases in the future. Recommendations for lowering cholesterol are complex, they include several main activities:
- Modification of lifestyle – the most basic, with the potential to prevent cardiovascular diseases. This requires a diet restriction of intake of animal fats, stop Smoking and alcohol consumption. It is also important to increase physical activity: exercise 30 minutes a day (running, walking, gymnastic exercises) reduces the likelihood of cardiovascular disease at 30%.
- Taking special medicines – after determining the level of cholesterol and the major classes of lipoproteins, your doctor may prescribe drugs pharmacological group of «statins» (Atorvastatin) that reduce cholesterol, and LDL cholesterol. At elevated cholesterol dosage and duration of taking these drugs, he is determined individually.
- The power of including in the diet plant foods that help to reduce cholesterol. Such plants include viburnum (tea viburnum), dill (it is added to salads), olive oil and garlic.
Big levels of LDL and cholesterol can be modified by changing lifestyle and nutrition. Timely implementation of these recommendations is key to the prevention of serious diseases of vessels, heart and brain in the future.