High Cholesterol

The Reasons behind High Cholesterol

High cholesterol is an abnormal metabolic condition. It is an undesirable condition that can result in a number of health related problems such as heart attack, kidney damage and stroke.

Let us explain the function and nature of cholesterol briefly.  Cholesterol is an essential fatty substance that is manufactured by the liver. Although it performs a number of physiological functions, an excess of cholesterol results in fatty deposits in arteries, thereby reducing the flow of blood and increasing the work load of the heart.  

Cholesterol is found in two main forms. One is the Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) that circulates throughout the blood. It is excess of this that results in arterial plaque formation. That is why it is known as bad cholesterol. The other type of is the High Density Lipoprotein (HDL). It carries the LDL cholesterol back to the liver for disposal. It is also known as good cholesterol.

High cholesterol means an excess of cholesterol in absolute terms and an excess of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides relative to HDL cholesterol.

There are a number of reasons that have a direct or indirect influence on the cholesterol levels in our body and result in high cholesterol level.  Some of these reasons can be controlled, whereas other reasons cannot be controlled.

Reasons that cannot be controlled

1. Heredity
     If you are genetically susceptible to high blood cholesterol, then you should take extra precautions by eating properly, getting plenty of exercise and leading a healthy lifestyle.
   
2. Old Age
    As we age, our arteries also age. As a result, cholesterol levels tend to rise. The level of HDL cholesterol comes down and the level of LDL cholesterol increases. With increasing age, our body’s ability to metabolize cholesterol decreases.

Reasons that can be controlled

1. Faulty diet
    Excessive consumption of foods that are rich in saturated and trans fats increase the level of serum cholesterol. Changing dietary habits help to reduce blood cholesterol levels.

2. Lack of exercise
    A sedentary life with little exercise, coupled with a rich diet together is a very big cause of high cholesterol levels. A consistent exercise schedule helps to reduce bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol.