Cholesterol is one of the most important elements. After all, it is known that it is extremely necessary for the human body. But at the same time, it is often feared, as it is associated with heart attacks. Cholesterol production is still shrouded in a wide variety of myths and conjectures. What, told Egor Novikov, Cardiologist, Clinical Diagnostic Center “Medincenter” (branch of GlavUpDK under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia).
“Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in the blood. It is essential for the body to produce healthy cells. However, if the level of such a substance in the blood vessels is high, fat deposition can begin. Against this background, there will be difficulties with the movement of blood through the arteries. Also, do not forget about the risk that such a deposit can cause damage to the vessel when a blood clot occurs, eventually leading to a heart attack or stroke, ”warns cardiologist Novikov.
The first statement: you can’t change your cholesterol level, if it has reached certain values, then it will already be fixed on it
It is quite possible to work with cholesterol levels. To begin with, it is worth passing an analysis to find out the available numbers. This is easily done in any laboratory – just donate blood.
To change your cholesterol level in a healthier direction, Egor Novikov notes, the following is recommended:
- Eat a healthy diet while limiting the intake of foods high in saturated fats.
- Connect physical activity.
- Give up bad habits, especially for smoking, as it damages blood vessels, accelerates the process of hardening of the arteries and significantly increases the risk of developing heart disease.
It is also worth paying attention to the hereditary factor, emphasizes the cardiologist Novikov. “If parents and other immediate family members regularly have elevated cholesterol levels, then you should meet with your doctor more often and undergo examinations to keep it at a healthy level,” says the specialist.
Statement two: cholesterol is an absolute evil
He is constantly afraid, everything is mostly negative about him, and recommendations are increasingly given from among: it is necessary to lower cholesterol levels, otherwise there will be heart problems. So is he really that evil and dangerous?
Cholesterol, according to Yegor Novikov, is required by the body for a number of important tasks – including the production of hormones and cells. The substance runs through the body with the help of blood – here it diverges in the composition of proteins – lipoproteins. There are two types of such proteins:
- low-density lipoprotein (LDL), it is also called “bad” cholesterol;
- high-density lipoprotein (HDL), aka “good” cholesterol.
“When there is an accumulation of too much low-density lipoprotein, then this particular variant can accumulate in the walls of blood vessels. A high level of “good” cholesterol, on the contrary, can reduce the risks of cardiovascular pathologies, ”explains the specialist. So cholesterol is not an absolute evil.
Third statement: an increase in cholesterol can always be recognized by a number of external signs
No, this is not so, says cardiologist Novikov. Warning signs of an increase in the level of such a substance are usually not found. A person can easily not even guess or suspect that unhealthy cholesterol predominates in his blood. And it is not uncommon for him to find out about this only against the backdrop of a heart attack or stroke. “To avoid such a problem, you should worry about your health in advance and check your cholesterol levels yourself – you should do this at least once every five years,” the cardiologist advises.
However, sometimes “symptoms” of accumulation of bad cholesterol can appear on the skin. Usually the indicator is yellowish growths, which are called xanthomas. Usually these are found on the eyelids.
Statement Four: Rejection of meat and eggs will help lower cholesterol
“Typically, high-cholesterol foods include high amounts of saturated fat. The latter just can increase the level of “bad” cholesterol in the blood. These substances are found in large quantities in animal products, such as red meat, butter, eggs, and cheese. So you should be more careful with them. It is worth dosing them in the diet, ”advises the doctor.
To feel better and maintain healthy blood cholesterol levels, it is worth giving preference to foods high in fiber in the diet, such as oatmeal and beans, healthy unsaturated fats (avocados, olive oil, nuts).
Fifth statement: people under the age of 40 can not check their cholesterol levels
Age is not a fundamental factor in deciding on the need for an analysis, notes cardiologist Novikov.
People from risk groups should be tested regularly (at least once every three years), regardless of their age. Such groups, emphasizes Yegor Novikov, include:
- Those who have high levels of “bad” cholesterol. For example, it was revealed as a result of some examinations or there is a genetic factor. If you do not take cholesterol under control here, its level will continue to rise. And this factor increases the risk of developing heart disease at a young age.
- People with cardiovascular pathologies – their arteries can be narrowed themselves, while drugs designed to correct cholesterol levels help reduce risks to the heart and blood vessels.
- People diagnosed with diabetes. Such a disease reduces the level of a good indicator and increases the level of a bad one. In this case, again, a threat to the heart and blood vessels is created.
Cholesterol is a controversial substance, but if you follow it and keep it under control, then it will only work for good.