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December 17 2020

8 Mythbusting Facts About Cholesterol That Everyone Should Know


 
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

It is not right to think of cholesterol as entirely bad for health. As previously mentioned, HDL is a good kind of cholesterol. It brings back cholesterol to the liver, where it is then flushed from the body. Foods with healthy fats like seafood, whole grains, olive oil, and nuts can help the liver take out the bad cholesterol from meat and deep-fried or processed foods.
 

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

Some health conditions leave certain people predisposed to have higher levels of cholesterol than others. For one, overweight people are more prone to the disease. It is also common for older people to have increased production of cholesterol in their bodies. High cholesterol levels can also be hereditary, and even race can have a hand in raising the risk.
 

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

Plant-based oils like coconut oil and palm oil are some of the best examples of fats that are good for the body, containing natural saturated fats minus the cholesterol. They help raise good cholesterol levels for better heart health. The American Heart Association recommends having a 5% to 6% daily calorie intake from saturated fat.
 

Keep Your Cholesterol Levels Healthy

Healthy cholesterol levels are crucial in preventing heart disease. To lower the risks of elevated bad cholesterol, proper diet, exercise, and regular blood cholesterol checks are necessary.
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.