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2017-12-20

Facts about Cholesterol

What Your Healthcare Provider Means By… Cholesterol

Like oil and water, cholesterol (a waxy, fat-like substance) and blood don't mix. Cholesterol is produced naturally from the liver and supplied in your diet, primarily from animal foods. However, problems arise when there is too much cholesterol in the blood, increasing your risk for heart disease or stroke. This information can help you understand cholesterol and the options available for a healthy heart.


What are the “good” and “bad” cholesterols?

Because cholesterol can't dissolve in the blood, which is made mostly of water, it is transported by protein packages called lipoproteins. Low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) is “bad” because it carries cholesterol to artery walls and forms deposits, also known as plaque. This can lead to a condition called atherosclerosis or “hardening” of the artery walls. With time, plaque builds up and blood flow slows down or stops. High density lipoprotein – cholesterol (HDL-C) is “good” because it carries cholesterol from artery walls back to the liver and can reduce or prevent plaque build up.

What are triglycerides?

Like cholesterol, triglycerides (TGs) are lipids (fats) that circulate in your bloodstream and are contained in lipoproteins. They are the most common type of fat in the body. The high amount of TGs can increase your risk for heart disease.

What is a lipid profile?

It's a blood test that measures your levels of total cholesterol (TC), HDL-C, LDL-C, and TG. All of these levels are expressed in milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl) of blood. If any or all of your levels are unsafe, you may be at increased risk for heart disease, heart attack, stroke, and other diseases of the blood vessels.

What do all of those numbers mean?

TC: Values less than 200 mg/dl are desirable; those of 200 to 239 are borderline high; and those at 240 or more are considered high.


 

HDL-C: Higher levels of this are actually better. Values less than 40 mg/dL (for men) and less than 50 mg/dL (for women) are low, and are considered a major risk factor for heart disease. Values of 60 mg/dL or more are high—and are seen as being protective against heart disease


 

LDL-C: Values less than 100 mg/dL are optimal; 100 to 129, near or above optimal; 130 to 159, borderline high; 160 to 189, high; and those 190 or more are very high

TG: Values less than 100 mg/dL are optimal; less than 150, normal; 150 to 199, borderline high; 200 to 499, high; and those 500 or more are very high

How can I improve my lipid levels?

Lifestyle changes may include following a cholesterol-lowering diet, losing weight, quitting smoking, and increasing physical activity. Saturated fats (found in meat, poultry, whole-milk dairy products, lard, and tropical oils such as coconut, palm kernel, and palm) are the worst offenders; they make your body hold onto cholesterol, which can end up on your artery walls. Regular aerobic exercise offers several benefits: It may reduce TG and LDL-C, and may raise HDL-C

Few Facts you did not know about Cholesterol

• Food is healthy for heart if it says 0 mg cholesterol

• Thin people can also suffer from cholesterol problem

• Having high cholesterol is a problem for both men and women

• Cholesterol should be checked not only when you are middle aged, but prior

• Low cholesterol is not always good for your health

Immediate Tips to Lower Cholesterol

1. Lose weight quickly; shed the extra flab by exercising moderately for 20 to 30 mins.

2. Walk approximately 10,000 steps for a well-maintained body

3. Stay away from animal fats like processed meats, salami, beef, pork etc. Also, avoid dairy products like cream, cheese, butter, and whole milk

4. Consume high fibre carbohydrates like beans, lentils, oatmeals, and fruits

5. Work out a rigorous cardiovascular routine for 90 minutes a week to keep your heart healthy and weight under control

6. Plant based products like soup, salads are advisable

7. We all want to be healthy and ensure that our daily activities do not get hampered with heart wrenching disease. If you are experiencing excessive shortness of breath, chest pain, palpitations, it is advisable for you to go for a health check up

How can you lower LDL Cholesterol and Triglycerides?

Here are some useful tips which may help to lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels:

Try these Herbal remedies-

Garlic: Add garlic to your food routine. Eat 2-3 cloves of raw garlic daily in the morning by chewing it nicely. You can also add a piece of garlic to a glass of milk while boiling it. Drink the milk regularly for 3-4 weeks. Garlic helps lower the cholesterol and triglycerides by clearing the arterial blockages.

Coriander: Coriander is a natural diuretic. It helps flush out the bad cholesterol from the body through the kidneys. You can add coriander leaves or seeds to your dishes. You can also drink a decoction of coriander seeds daily to lower cholesterol levels. It is made by boiling a cup of water with 2 teaspoons of coriander seeds (crushed into powder form). Strain the liquid and drink it twice a day to bring down the bad cholesterol.

Indian Gooseberry or Amla: Eat fresh amla daily to clear out the arteries blocked with plaque. You can also take 1 tsp of dried amla powder with a cup of lukewarm water on empty stomach on a daily basis. It will bring down your lipid profile in a few weeks.

Holy Basil or Tulsi: Add 3-4 drops of extract of basil leaves to half a cup of water and drink it daily. You can also chew 3-5 leaves of Holy basil daily to keep your cholesterol and triglycerides under check by dissolving the accumulated plaque from the arterial walls.

Guggul: Guggul helps lower high LDL cholesterol levels and helps maintain normal lipid levels and metabolism.

Arjuna powder: These are two herbs that help lower the lipid counts too, by reducing the bad cholesterol levels.

Neem: Neem helps reduce high cholesterol and high blood pressure. It can be taken in the form of neem leaf extract or neem capsules. It should be used in low doses. Drinking neem tea after meals for a month also helps reduce the lipid profile.

Curry leaves: Curry leaves can be added fresh or in dried form to your dishes, soups or salads. Curry leaves are effective in lowering your cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Other ways of lowering cholesterol and triglycerides-

Physical workout: Add any form of physical exercise to your routine. It helps increase the oxygenation of body cells that flushes out the harmful toxins. This helps lower cholesterol and triglycerides levels. A 20-minute walk daily, deep breathing exercises like alternate nostril pranayama or the yogic breath, yogasanas like vajrasana, shalabh asana or ardh matsyendra asnana are a few ways to help lower the cholesterol.

These are some of the ways to control high cholesterol and triglyceride levels. However, proper medication, healthy diet and exercise go hand in hand to keep cholesterol in control. Do consult your doctor before adding these supplements or remedies to your diet.

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