All about the Cholesterol

Cholesterol is known to be the prime cause of Heart Diseases.

This is the reason that cholesterol is taken to be the bad factor for your health and it is being taught to keep away from it. Reason being, higher your blood cholesterol level greater is the risk of developing a heart disease or having a heart attack.

To understand, cholesterol basically narrows down the arteries by fat accumulation over a period of time, which slows down or blocks the blood flows to the heart and leads to heart attacks.

But, a major dimension about cholesterol has been missed out. There’s another part of cholesterol that is the good factor for health.

Some amount of cholesterol is required in our body for secretion of certain steroids and bile acid from liver. However, the raised levels of cholesterol, especially LDL or bad cholesterol can increase the risk of both heart attack and stroke.

An unhealthy lifestyle, improper dietary habits or genetic factors can lead to High cholesterol. Raised levels of cholesterol generally do not show any symptoms. Therefore it is required to know your blood levels to understand cholesterol related risk.

The bad factor of cholesterol is scientifically known as LDL, i.e. low-density lipoproteins and the good factor is known as HDL, i.e. high-density lipoproteins. LDL causes cholesterol build up in the body and blockage in the arteries, whereas, HDL helps to refrain building up of cholesterol in the arteries.

Reasons how HDL proves to be good cholesterol

  • Protection against heart diseases: Since HDL does not allow fat accumulation, it provides protection against heart diseases; therefore, higher the HDL is better. A level less than 40 mg/dL. Is taken to be low and is a major risk factor developing heart disease. HDL of 60 mg/dL or more helpskeep the risk of Heart disease low.
  • Cell stability: The fat of good cholesterol provides stability to every cell in the body.
  • Anti LDL: It aids removing the bad cholesterol, LDL from the body.
  • Recycle LDL: HDL transports the bad cholesterol LDL to liver for processing and recycles it to good cholesterol.
  • Maintenance system: Good cholesterol acts as a catalyst to maintain the inner walls of blood vessels by scrubbing the walls clean and keeping it healthy.

Increasing levels of good cholesterol

Following are the ways of do’s and don’ts to increase the HDL:

  • Regular exercise even for 30-60 minutes daily can prove very effective. Cardio exercises that raise your heart rate, increases the HDL levels by up to 5%. Brisk walking, running, swimming, sports etc. Can help you achieve the desired.
  • Smoking decreases HDL and quitting smoking can increase 10% of HDL.
  • Eating the right and healthy fats can improve the HDL levels in the body and help them increase.
Dr. B L Aggarwal
Additional Director
Department of Interventional Cardiology (Adult)
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