Hundreds of millions of people have high cholesterol and many are not even aware of it. There are two types of cholesterol to be concerned about. HDL (happy or good cholesterol) and LDL (bad cholesterol); you want the HDL to be higher and the LDL to be lower. Increased LDL cholesterol places you at high risk for cholesterol heart disease.
Lower your LDL Cholesterol to Prevent High Cholesterol Heart Disease
LDL (low density) cholesterol is what is considered to be the bad cholesterol. High LDL levels increase your risk of coronary heart disease. LDL lipoproteins deposit cholesterol on the walls of the arteries which causes the formation of a thick, hard substance. This substance is referred to as cholesterol plaque. This buildup of plaque on the walls of the arteries will cause the arterial walls to thicken and harden; this also narrows the interior diameter of the artery. This condition is called atherosclerosis and puts you at a very high risk of high cholesterol heart disease.
Raise your HDL Cholesterol to Prevent High Cholesterol Heart Disease
HDL (high density) cholesterol is considered the good cholesterol. This is because HDL cholesterol particles extract cholesterol from the walls of the arteries and dispose of them through the liver which aids in preventing atherosclerosis and to prevent high cholesterol heart disease.
Causes of High Cholesterol
Diet – Too much saturated fat in your diet raises your cholesterol. Many foods contain unhealthy fat such as beef, pork, milk, eggs, butter, cheese and most foods that come from animals. Read labels to reduce the saturated fats in your diet.
Weight – Being overweight can decrease your HDL and increase your triglycerides. Changes in your diet can decrease your weight and improve your overall health. Obesity is a major risk factor for coronary heart disease.
Lack of Physical Activity – A sedentary lifestyle not only decreases your HDL, it increases your LDL (bad cholesterol) which places you at higher risk for cholesterol heart disease.
Gender and Age – In both genders your cholesterol levels begin to rise after your reach the age of 20. For men, this generally levels off at around the age of 50. For women, the levels remain pretty low until they reach menopause. After menopause the levels begin to rise to around the same level as in men.
Other Health Conditions – Having certain conditions such as diabetes, hypothyroidism and others can increase your risk for elevated cholesterol levels, cholesterol heart disease and coronary heart disease. Management of these conditions can decrease the risk.
Family History – If you have close relatives have high cholesterol or heart disease your risk for both increases.
Cigarette smoking – Smoking cigarettes not only places you at risk for lung disease and heart disease it also lowers your good cholesterol. Quitting smoking is one of the best things your can do for your overall health.
Some of these factors cannot be changed, others you can change to help lower your cholesterol and help you prevent cholesterol heart disease.