Cholesterol can be found in the body as the waxy sponge-like substance in the blood. It is required for the building of healthy cells, nerve insulation, and also hormone production. The liver produces just about enough cholesterol for the body but more cholesterol can be gotten through the foods we consume. The extra or excess cholesterol is what poses a health risk because it can build up and form plaques in the arteries thereby inhibiting blood flow and ultimately causing heart problems.
High cholesterol can be inherited, however, it most often is a factor of an unhealthy lifestyle and this is why you need to take your well-being seriously. Cardiovascular health conditions such as a stroke or a heart attack are often a result of high cholesterol levels in the bloodstream and the only way to know if you are at a risk is to get a blood test done.
Cholesterol in the body is categorized into two types;
Low-Density Lipoprotein: LDL commonly nicknamed bad cholesterol transports cholesterol throughout the blood leaving particles that clog the arteries causing heart diseases.
High-Density Lipoprotein: HDL absorbs cholesterol and transports it back to the liver which releases it from the body thereby lowering your risk of heart disease and stroke.
Risk factors for High Cholesterol Levels
Poor lifestyle habits increase your chances of developing high cholesterol levels, some of which include;
- Other Health Conditions: certain health conditions can also cause your cholesterol levels to peak including diabetes, HIV/AIDS, lupus, hypothyroidism, and chronic kidney disease
- Poor Diet: poorly processed foods, snacks, and full-fat dairy products contain saturated fats which when consumed over time become detrimental to your health. Eat more fresh vegetables and fruits.
- Family History: People with a family history of high cholesterol are more likely to encounter the same challenge and may require checking their cholesterol levels regularly.
- Lack of Exercise: Exercise helps boost your body's HDL which as you know is good cholesterol, it also helps burn out unhealthy fat, never miss an opportunity to get in some exercise, it can be a real lifesaver, Exercise also helps lower your risk of High blood pressure which is a leading cause of cardiovascular health-related death
- Smoking: Smoking lowers your body’s HDL.
- Alcohol: Drinking too much alcohol can increase your total cholesterol level, it helps to drink moderately if you need to drink.