It is commonly thought that high cholesterol only occurs to overweight people, or it is purely linked to dietary habits. Let’s find out more about cholesterol in order to keep it at a healthy level.
Cholesterol is an essential building block for the human body. It is involved in the production of some hormones, vitamins and heat, and helps to maintain body temperature. LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol is generally described as “bad cholesterol”, whereas HDL (high-density lipoproteins) cholesterol is “good cholesterol” that helps the body recycle bad cholesterol. Excessive bad cholesterol in the body may cause fat deposits to form in different parts of the blood vessels and form blockages. This elevates the risks of triggering severe ischemic cardio-vascular diseases such as coronary heart disease, stroke and peripheral arterial occlusive disease. As well, high levels of triglyceride is also linked to atherosclerosis.
A high number of high cholesterol cases are caused by unhealthy dietary and lifestyle habits (for example, long-term high-fat diet, sedentary lifestyle and abdominal obesity). But there are also skinny people having high cholesterol levels. Cholesterol comes from what we eat. However, the liver also produces bad cholesterol if it has processed high fat intake and hear (high carbohydrate), which explains why some people still suffer from high cholesterol despite maintaining a simple diet, and genetics is also an important cause too. If a patient cannot seem to lower the cholesterol level even with good dietary habits, adequate exercise and a healthy lifestyle, the doctor will prescribe different cholesterol control medications such as statin. People with high cholesterol should closely monitor their blood pressure and blood sugar level to avoid having all three indicators at high-risk levels.
Information provided by Dr Bernard Wong Bun Lap, Cardiologist