What is high cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a fat that is generated in the body. There are two types of cholesterol, and the body needs both. When transported around the blood, it becomes bound to large transport proteins.
When cholesterol is bound to HDL (high-density lipoprotein), the good cholesterol, it seems to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
When cholesterol is bound to the molecule LDL (low-density lipoprotein), it is often referred to as bad cholesterol.
When LDL cholesterol is taken up in the artery wall, it can cause an inflammatory reaction that makes the artery wall thick and inelastic.
Eventually, atherosclerosis will form, and the blood vessels will narrow, which in turn can lead to high blood pressure and reduced blood flow.
High cholesterol is a notable risk factor for increasing heart diseases such as angina pectoris and heart attack.
Causes of high cholesterol
In most cases, it is associated with high cholesterol and lifestyle. Being overweight and high in fat can increase your cholesterol.
If you overeat saturated fat from meat and dairy products, this can contribute negatively to cholesterol. Smoking and little exercise reduce the level of good HDL cholesterol.
High alcohol intake increases triglycerides and is unfavourable. Ladies have lower cholesterol levels than men before the age of 50, but the level is higher in women in the older age group.
Some people have a hereditary predisposition to high cholesterol and triglycerides. Familial hypercholesterolemia is a dominantly inherited disease caused by a genetic defect.
That is, there is a high probability of inheriting the condition from generation to generation. Untreated, these people will have a significantly increased risk of early cardiovascular disease and atherosclerosis.
Several diseases can also contribute to the development of high cholesterol. These include diabetes, low metabolism (hypothyroidism), and kidney and liver disease. In addition, several types of drugs can contribute to an unfavorable amount of cholesterol in the blood.
Symptoms of high cholesterol
High cholesterol, in itself, usually gives no signs. With very large cholesterol levels in the blood, you can see growing around the tendons on the back of the hand or heel (xanthomas), yellow deposits in the skin around the eyes, and a white ring along the edge of the iris in the eye.
When should you contact a doctor?
- If members of the family have experienced cardiovascular disease at a young age.
- If you suspect high cholesterol.
- If you are using tablets for high cholesterol and experience side effects.
Disease course in high cholesterol
The fat levels in the blood vary depending on age and gender. High cholesterol increases the risk of cardiovascular disease such as heart attack, especially if other risk factors are also present.
The trouble is more significant for men than for women. The higher the cholesterol level in the blood, the higher the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
What can you do even with high cholesterol?
- Stop smoking.
- Have a healthy diet.
- Eat less fat, especially less saturated fat.
- Replace any saturated fat with unsaturated fat.
- Eat more high-fiber foods, vegetables, and fruits daily.
- Eat less cholesterol-rich foods.
- Weight reduction in overweight.
- Exercise regularly, at least 30 minutes for at least five days during the week.
- Avoid high alcohol consumption.
- Salt eating should be limited to no higher than 6 grams per day.
- Nuts can help lower cholesterol. 50-100 grams per day is an appropriate amount.
- Betavivo oat hearts are paid can products that bind bile salts and have been shown to have a cholesterol-lowering effect.
Treatment of high cholesterol
High cholesterol is a risk factor for improving cardiovascular disease. Whether to treat high cholesterol with drugs depends on the overall risk of cardiovascular disease.
This also includes other risk factors such as high blood pressure, a familial predisposition to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, smoking, high triglycerides, obesity (especially abdominal obesity), and other heart diseases.
If no heart disease has been detected, treatment of high cholesterol is often started with lifestyle changes.
The exception is people with a proven cardiovascular disease where you are happy to start with medication at the same time as changing your lifestyle.