Any disease has some symptoms. Nevertheless, very often they are not visible and the malady may be detected only with the help of a blood test. Heart disease is the ailment, which may be noticed at once, but one of the main causes of cardiovascular issues – high cholesterol levels – may be hiding for years.

What should one know about cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a fat-like substance, which is produced in the liver and intestines. Its role in the human organism is vitally important. Cholesterol takes part in the construction of new body cells, vitamin D production, secretion of a number of hormones and digestion. All the cholesterol we need is produced by our body, but we also receive it from food, which may lead to its excess and consequently health problems.

There are two kinds of cholesterol:

  • "bad" cholesterol, which may accumulate in the arteries and veins thus leading to the narrowing of the vessels. Cholesterol plaques worsen the blood flow or may even block it, which may result in heart attack or a stroke.
  • "good" cholesterol helps to fight an excess of "bad" cholesterol by transitioning it to the liver, where it is removed from the blood flow.

What are the reasons of elevated cholesterol levels?
There are several aspects, which may influence the levels of "bad" cholesterol.

  • Heredity. Familial hypercholesterolemia is an ailment, which runs in families. If one of the parents has it, the child's chances of getting the same ailment are 50%. The characteristic feature of familial hypercholesterolemia is extremely high cholesterol levels. People suffering from this affliction develop cardiovascular problems in childhood and are at huge risk of heart failure before the age of 30.
  • Age. Men and women who have reached certain age (45 years for men and 55 years for women) may have elevated cholesterol levels.
  • Ailments. Ill kidneys or liver can influence the amount of "bad" cholesterol. Besides, such maladies as polycystic ovarian syndrome and diabetes also contribute to its increasing.
  • Unhealthy eating preferences. The two main external sources of "bad" cholesterol are saturated and trans fats. The first are found in fat meat and whole-fat dairy products, while the latter is a component of fast food, canned food, various snacks and other processed products.
  • Excessive weight. People are at high risk especially when the majority of fat deposits are on the waist.
  • Hypothyroidism. An illness, which affects thyroid gland making it underactive. It slows down all the processes in the human body, including the withdrawal of "bad" cholesterol.
  • Lack of physical activity. During work outs our body produces more "good" cholesterol, which helps to lower the amount of "bad" cholesterol.
  • Smoking. Nicotinic acid damages the walls of the blood vessels thus increasing their ability to accumulate cholesterol.

How can you lower your cholesterol levels?
Fortunately, elevated cholesterol levels may be managed with the help of lifestyle changes and, in difficult cases, medicines. To maintain your cholesterol levels within the norm, you should do the following:

  • Add physical exercises to your daily routine;
  • Keep your weight under control;
  • Exclude saturated and trans fats from your diet;
  • Drop smoking if you have this habit;
  • Monitor your cholesterol levels and receive treatment if needed.
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