One of the more prominent ones noticed by employees of Accredited Home Care is what cholesterol is and whether having it is a good thing or bad thing.
The unexpected answer is “both” meaning that in some cases, types of cholesterol are OK, even beneficial. In other cases, cholesterol could be an indicator of other negative health conditions and too much of it could cause circulatory and other problems.
Though many of us have been taught over the years to believe that all cholesterol is bad all the time, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control said this is actually a well-perpetuated myth.
The CDC said some types of cholesterol are beneficial for your overall health since they can assist the body with tasks such as building cells and creating hormones. Cholesterol is able to travel all through the body for these tasks, as part of a waxy protein called lipoprotein.
Generally, there are two types of cholesterol. One is low-density lipoprotein called low-density protein or low-density lipoprotein. High amounts of LDL can increase the possibility of a stroke or heart attack.
The other is high-density lipoprotein, or HDL, which is believed to carry cholesterol to the liver for processing, and cutting down on risks of heart attacks and strokes, and similar heart diseases. This is considered the “better” type.
As its primary role, cholesterol is able to move easily through the blood. But in some cases, when it passes through blood vessels, it may leave behind leftover fatty deposits on the walls which are called plaque. The larger the build-up of plaque in certain areas, the more it can reduce blood flow through the body.
Along with possibly cutting down on blood flow, too much plaque could block or at least dramatically reduce the blood to certain organs. The longer that organs have to go without usual amounts of blood, the more their efficiency is decreased and the organ won’t work that well.
For instance, reduced blood to the heart could potentially cause chest pain or increase the risk of heart disease, cardiac arrests, or stroke. A lack of blood to the brain could cause other damage such as mental impairment or related brain problems. A blocked vessel could also potentially burst which can other problems throughout the body.
So, in these cases, the presence of a small degree of cholesterol in someone’s body is useful since it allows the body to refresh itself and keep growing.
Those who want to improve their bodies and increase their overall performance, cell by cell, can look for ways to bring more cholesterol in their lives, especially the ‘better’ kind.
Lowering your ‘bad’ cholesterol
Is there a way to tell if you have too much or too little cholesterol in your body? Not without a specific blood test.
A health care provider can authorize these types of blood tests since they can give him or her a good idea of your current levels. For most adults, the CDC recommends these every four to six years unless there are circumstances when it needs to be examined sooner.
However, checking with your provider about your cholesterol is also an excellent time to discuss options to lower your levels of “bad” cholesterol.
The Mayo Clinic said there are a variety of fairly easy ways to modify your lifestyle, including:
- Stop smoking. This is generally a good idea for any kind of wellness effort and health improvement.
- Lower stress. This can reduce potentially fast blood flow, especially when you’re angry or anxious. Good ways to reduce stress can include meditation, which also benefits the body.
- Exercise more. Experts say at least 30 minutes a day at least five days a week can help your health in great ways. It helps your blood flow and also releases endorphins into your body, which makes you feel good.
- Lose weight. This also can make your body feel good and reduce other risk factors from obesity such as diabetes.
- Drink alcohol moderately. Ideally, you can get a lot of benefits from quitting entirely, but those who drink in moderation can still see benefits, especially alcohol with antioxidants like wine.
- Make changes to diet. This can include cutting back on salt or substituting something similar. This includes table salt and also can include salt in recipes. Try to include more whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. A better diet can also include a few animal fats and more good fats such as olive oil.
September is an excellent time to do more research or find out about resources in your area.
The month is National Cholesterol Education Month, an opportunity to learn about risk factors and steps you can take to get help and gather more info about possible risk factors.
Learning now can be useful especially if you have been told you have high cholesterol in the past and want to take steps to reduce it.