Good nutrition begins and ends with a balanced diet. A huge part of achieving that balance involves knowing which foods to eat and the compounds and substances one puts in the body, particularly the infamous cholesterol.
Red meat and full-fat dairy products are some foods high in cholesterol. It is essential to know cholesterol facts, particularly during this time of the year when almost everyone tends to binge-eat.
What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that helps build cells and produce vitamins, hormones, and substances that aid in digestion. Cholesterol travels through the blood by attaching itself to proteins called lipoproteins.
Cholesterol has three (3) types, namely high-density lipoprotein (HDL), low-density lipoprotein (LDL), and very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL). The first one is commonly called “good” cholesterol, while the second and third types are considered “bad” cholesterols.
It is important to note that cholesterol is not a bad thing per se, but having too much of it in the bloodstream can lead to heart problems. All three (3) types of cholesterol should remain in healthy levels within the body to not have an increased risk of contracting coronary heart disease.
8 Mythbusting Facts About Cholesterol
Fact #1: Cholesterol levels concern everyoneㅡeven children
Having high cholesterol levels is not exclusive to adults as children can inherit the condition from their parents. Kids born with high LDL cannot properly recycle it within the body, resulting in even higher bad cholesterol levels over time.
Even if cholesterol levels do not seem to be an issue with children due to their youth, it puts them at risk of heart ailments in adulthood. As such, children should be introduced to healthy eating, coupled with an active lifestyle, as early as possible.
Fact #2: Even with medication, lifestyle change is needed
Every aspect of human health needs to be in proper balance. It is not enough for someone to be taking prescription medicines without supporting it with an active lifestyle. Otherwise, the risk of heart disease or stroke due to too much cholesterol remains.
About 150 minutes of medium-intensity or 75 minutes of high-intensity aerobic workout per week can do wonders in stabilizing cholesterol levels in the long term.
Fact #3: Not all cholesterol-rich foods are unhealthy
Fact #4: High cholesterol levels are usually not detected
It is difficult to know if a person has healthy levels of cholesterol without having it measured. Many people go for years having high levels of bad cholesterol and not show any symptoms. Often, what is felt are the effects of high blood pressure, which may be marked by dizziness or a lightheaded feeling.
A regular blood test can be a helpful health measure in preventing hypertension, which is closely associated with cardiovascular disease. Doctors specializing in cardiac care recommend blood cholesterol tests to determine a person’s heart disease risk.
Fact #5: Unhealthy diet and lack of physical activity are not the only causes of high cholesterol
Fact #6: Cholesterol is also a health issue for women
Women are generally perceived as healthier than men, with their tendencies to stick to a heart-healthy diet and engage in physical activities. Women also have high levels of the estrogen hormone, which helps raise their HDL.
However, cholesterol issues spring up among women during the postmenopausal stage. Other conditions unique to women, such as those related to pregnancy or auto-immune disease, can also cause their cholesterol levels to become unstable.
Fact #7: Borderline cholesterol is not necessarily bad
Depending on the age and the way one’s body maintains itself, normal cholesterol levels will vary from person to person. A cholesterol level above 200 should not be automatically labeled as too high since the shape and size of LDL particles can indicate a good cholesterol profile.
A Duke University study found that smaller and heavier LDLs tend to get deposited in the arteries than the big and fluffy ones. This means that someone who has borderline cholesterol levels may not need treatment right away as long as LDL quality is good.
Fact #8: Not all saturated fats are bad for the body
Keep Your Cholesterol Levels Healthy
Visit Makati Medical Center and consult with physicians and specialists on heart disease or any other medical concerns. They will look into your health state and help you attain a long and well-lived life.