Health

Cholesterol FAQ: Answering 5 Questions about Cholesterol

Publish DateMar 15, 2021
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1.  What is cholesterol?

 

Cholesterol is a fat-like substance that circulates in the blood. 


Cholesterol originates from two sources in our body: predominantly, the liver generates cholesterol, and the rest of it comes from foods from animal sources.

 

Only about 20% of the cholesterol comes from the food you eat. The rest originates in your body.

 

Cholesterol might have a bad name, but it is essential too. 


The body requires cholesterol to generate cells, vitamins, and hormones.


The trick is to control your cholesterol intake from external sources.

 

2.  What are the two types of cholesterol?

 

a.  High-density lipoproteins (HDL) = Good

b.  Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) = Bad

 

HDL is considered the good cholesterol as they help in keeping the LDL away from the artery walls. Accumulation of LDL on the artery walls leads to plaque build-up, leading to heart blockage and other heart-related diseases.

 

3.  How do you count your cholesterol?

 

Total cholesterol level in the body = HDL+LDL+1/5th of triglyceride level

 

Triglycerides refer to the fats collected from food and then carried to the bloodstream.

4. What are normal levels of cholesterol?

 

Age & Sex

Total Cholesterol

LDL Cholesterol

HDL Cholesterol

19 years and younger

Less than 170 mg/dL

 

Less than 110 mg/dL

 

More than 45 mg/dL

20 years and older (Male)

125 mg/dL to 200 mg/dL

Less than 110 mg/dL

 

40 mg/dL or higher

20 years and older (Female)

125 mg/dL to 200 mg/dL

Less than 110 mg/dL

 

50 mg/dL or higher

 
5. What are the lifestyle changes required to improve your cholesterol?

 

a.  Go for heart-healthy food. Diets less in saturated fat, trans fat, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, soluble fiber, and protein can improve your heart health. Follow a natural and clean diet comprising food such as oily fish and chicken (meat with less saturated fats); oats, barley, or quinoa (rich in soluble fiber); avocados, strawberries, blueberries, peas, or walnuts (rich in unsaturated fats).


b. 
Exercise regularly. Regular work out help increases the good cholesterol in your bloodstream and lower triglycerides.


c. 
Quit smoking. Quitting smoking improves your HDL cholesterol level and reduces your LDL and triglycerides.


d. 
Lose weight. Weight management improves the overall functioning of the body. Research suggests that losing even 5% of body weight can lower LDL.

 

Heart disease is the leading cause of death globally, claiming almost 17.9 million lives each year. Maintaining cholesterol levels can eliminate potential risks.


Author: Somrita Ganchoudhuri

 

Image source: unsplash.com


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