21 Apr Cholesterol: A Silent Killer
Cholesterol: A Silent Killer
Cholesterol is a term we hear thrown about a lot these days, however it does drift below the radar with regards to our health, and we’re all to blame for this. What we eat has a huge affect on our cholesterol levels and if not treated correctly, it can certainly act as the silent killer we’re all afraid of. Therefore to keep our cholesterol levels under control, we need to maintain an active lifestyle along with a balanced diet. To be honest, fairly self-explanatory if you ask me, we should all be living active lifestyles with a healthy balanced diet regardless of how low or high our cholesterol levels are. Without question we should be looking after our wellbeing, and cholesterol can play a significant part towards determining our overall health. Here at Annurca, as part of our comprehensive health assessments, we can measure your cholesterol levels and judge whether a tailored wellbeing programme is applicable or not.
So let’s just take a moment to understand cholesterol a little better and what it actually is. So what is cholesterol and where does it come from? Cholesterol is both friend and foe, and it’s important for us to remember this further on into this blog as cholesterol can sometimes be misconceived to purely be a bad substance; however that’s not necessarily the case. To be precise, cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that’s found in all cells of the body and made by the liver. Our bodies need some cholesterol to make hormones, vitamin D, and substances that help you digest foods. Cholesterol is also found in some of the foods we eat.
On a more scientific level, cholesterol is carried in the blood attached to proteins called lipoproteins. There are two main forms, LDL (low density lipoprotein) and HDL (high density lipoprotein). LDL cholesterol is often referred to as “bad cholesterol” because too much is unhealthy. A high LDL level leads to a build up of cholesterol in our arteries which could increase our chances of cardiovascular disease. Whereas HDL is often referred to as “good cholesterol” because it is protective and carries cholesterol from other parts of our body back to the liver. Our liver then removes the cholesterol naturally from our bodies.
The LDL cholesterol, as previously mentioned, considered as the “bad cholesterol”, if it becomes out of control for all the wrong reasons, such as a poor diet, it contributes to a build up of plaque, a thick, hard deposit that can clog arteries and make them less flexible. This condition is known as atherosclerosis and if a clot forms, it blocks a narrowed artery, causing a heart attack or stroke. Minimal exercise and poor diets is the main culprit towards bad cholesterol and increased levels of LDL. A high amount of saturated fats such as fatty meats, butter, lard, cream, cheese, cakes and biscuits all contribute towards raising bad cholesterol levels.
However it’s not all doom and gloom, cholesterol can often be associated with the negatives, on the other hand, HDL, referred to as the “good cholesterol” plays an important part towards maintaining a healthy lifestyle. It helps remove LDL cholesterol from the arteries. To have plenty of good cholesterol in the body, regular exercise and an active lifestyle play an important part, however eating the correct foods is just as important. For example, always try to replace foods containing saturated fats with foods that are high in unsaturated fats, such as; oily fish (such as mackerel and salmon), nuts (almonds and cashews), seeds (sunflower and pumpkin), vegetable oils and spreads.
Experts believe HDL acts as a scavenger, carrying LDL cholesterol away from the arteries and back to the liver, where it is broken down and passed from the body. One-fourth to one-third of blood cholesterol is carried by HDL. A healthy level of HDL cholesterol may also protect against heart attack and stroke, while low levels of HDL cholesterol have been shown to increase the risk of heart disease. So as much as cholesterol can be perceived as a bad thing and a risk to our health, having the right amount of cholesterol in our bodies is just as beneficial to help maintain a healthy lifestyle!
Have you had your cholesterol checked recently? If not, then book yourself in with Annurca to get checked and to receive practical advice on how you can improve your cholesterol and most importantly reduce your risk of a heart related problem with minimal fuss. In the last year alone Annurca has helped 61% of individuals they’ve seen improve their cholesterol. Let Annurca add you to the list!