Cholesterol is necessary for your body to function. It is NOT all evil, but in excess it can cause problems. High levels of cholesterol in the body may lead to deposits or plaques in the arteries, including those of the heart, consequently making them narrower and blocking blood flow causing various heart problems and high blood pressure.

High cholesterol has no symptoms. Most of the time, it comes with a combination of hereditary factors and life style. In some cases, skin in certain parts of the body, particularly face, starts to get white spots or skin nearby the eyes gets strange dots. Sometimes, it can only be revealed in a routine blood test when there are no apparent symptoms. In the test, LDL cholesterol level describes a “bad” type whereas, HDL depicts that cholesterol is present as a “good” type in the body. The ratio between the two is very important. Women overall have lower cholesterol level than that of men of the same age which then becomes higher after the age of 50 years than the men of same age. This may or may not be related to estrogen levels dropping after menopause.

The common causes of the high cholesterol may be multiple prescription drugs and diseases. These diseases include those related to being overweight, use of alcohol and mental stress. Heredity and generally food containing a lot of fat are also included in the general causes.

High cholesterol treatment usually involves use of drugs depending on a formula which totals up your risk factors for heart diseases. Apart from medical treatment, dietary modifications and lifestyle adjustments are CRITICAL. Get off the SAD diet (the Standard American Diet), which is indeed sad these days. A generally balanced diet should be comprised of total fat less than 30% of calories, saturated fat less than 7% calories, polyunsaturated fat less than or equal to 10% of calories, monounsaturated fat approximately 10-15% of calories, cholesterol less than 200 milligrams per day, carbohydrates 50 to 60% calories. Likewise, stanol esters and monounsaturated fat should be included in the diet to reduce LDL in the body. Furthermore, it is possible to aggressively control high cholesterol with the use of a vegetarian diet.

Moreover, a healthy life style should be adapted to reduce the risks of heart disease. Regular exercises, morning or evening walk, drinking plenty of water, avoiding alcohol and smoking are essential steps for a long term healthy body. The combination of medicines for lowering cholesterol and adopting healthy life style can help a lot to control rapidly on the high cholesterol level and preventing heart diseases in general. So, if you are on cholesterol lowering agents do NOT stop them cold turkey but strive to lower cholesterol using diet and lifestyle changes. If you persist, you may be able to get off the drugs sooner than you think. But please work with your doctor rather than deciding when to start or stop cholesterol agents.

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