WHAT IS CHOLESTEROL?
Cholesterol is a waxy and fatty substance necessary for the body to build cells, but it can also be a problem.1 It is normally found it in the body as a component of the cell membrane, and it also helps in the production of some hormones and vitamin D.2
There are two sources of cholesterol production, the first is the liver which produces most of the cholesterol needed for normal metabolism, and the second source includes all animal foods such as meat, dairy, poultry, and this is called dietary cholesterol.1
To transport cholesterol in your body, it travels through your circulation in the form of lipoproteins. There are two lipoproteins that you may have heard called "bad" cholesterol and "good" cholesterol, these are low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and high-density lipoproteins (HDL) respectively.2
Pay attention to the following information regarding LDL and HDL lipoproteins
HOW IS IT DIAGNOSED?
The diagnosis of hypercholesterolemia or high cholesterol should be made strictly by a doctor. Generally, the diagnosis is made through laboratory tests, these tests by their values utside the normal range confirm that the patient has their LDL level elevated.
Being a condition that does not present symptoms, patients often do not detect that they are suffering from high cholesterol until they arrive for any reason or medical recommendation to have laboratory tests. It is recommended that men over 35 years and women over 45 years have their blood cholesterol checked to rule out any hypercholesterolemia, in addition men and women over 20 years of age and with risk factors for this condition should be made likewise a review of their blood cholesterol.3
WHY IS EARLY DIAGNOSIS OF HIGH CHOLESTEROL IMPORTANT?
It is important that you keep in mind being diagnosed early can help taking preventive actions.
Many patients will not know that they have high cholesterol yet have a lifestyle that contributes to appearance of a rigid plaque inside the arteries, making them less flexible. This is called atherosclerosis.
If a clot forms in a person with atherosclerosis, blood flow may be blocked, and a heart attack or stroke may occur.5
IS IT POSSIBLE TO PREVENT HIGH CHOLESTEROL?
Having a healthy lifestyle can avoid becoming diagnosed with many diseases that are related to poor diet or sedentary lifestyle. This is the case of hypercholesterolemia or high cholesterol. It is considered an avoidable condition if the following habits are considered.
Your body produces all the cholesterol you need, so consuming foods with saturated and trans-fat only provides you with more LDL or "bad" cholesterol. An important part is eating foods rich in fiber and unsaturated fats that can be found in foods such as avocado, olive oil or nuts, these foods can help to increase HDL or "good" cholesterol.6
You can consult a health professional to determine if you are at your ideal weight. The determination of the body mass index can point the way to check whether ou should improve your weight and reach the ideal.6
It is recommended that you perform physical activity at least 30 minutes 5 times a week. 6 Some suggestions include walking, jogging, cycling, and even jumping rope.
If you want to eliminate the possibility of having high blood cholesterol you should give up smoking.6 Visit your doctor, he can give you options on how to achieve it.
RESTRICT ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION
High alcohol consumption can cause your "bad" cholesterol values to rise. It is recommended that women drink only one drink of alcohol per day and men two.6
1. American Heart Association. (2017). Control your Cholesterol. Retrieved from American Heart Association: https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/cholesterol/about-cholesterol
2. GW Heart and Vascular Institute . (2019). Colesterol en la Sangre. Retrieved from GW Heart and Vascular Institute : http://www.gwheartandvascular.org/education/en-espanol/enfermedades/enfermedades_prevencion_cambios/enfermedades_prevencion_cambios_dieta/enfermedades_prevencion_cambios_dieta_colesterol/
3. American Academy of Family Phiysicians . (2017). Family Doctor. Retrieved from High Cholesterol : https://familydoctor.org/condition/cholesterol/
4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019). Knowing Your Risk for High Cholesterol. Retrieved from CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/cholesterol/risk_factors.htm
5. Healthwise. (2017). Aterosclerosis. Retrieved from Cigna: https://www.cigna.com/individuals-families/health-wellness/hw-en-espanol/temas-de-salud/aterosclerosis-ue4664abc
6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2017). Preventing High Cholesterol. Retrieved from CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/cholesterol/prevention.htm