Cholesterol is a waxy substance that builds in the arteries, it is not completely harmful, despite the widespread belief of being a bad substance in human. In fact, some of it can even improve our health when consumed in the right amounts. About 25 per cent of cholesterol comes from the food we eat while 75 per cent are produced in humans by the liver.
There are two types of cholesterol: high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and low-densitylipoprotein (LDL). As a general rule, HDL is considered “good” cholesterol, while LDL is considered “bad.” This is because HDL carries cholesterol to the liver, where it can be removed from the bloodstream before it builds up in the arteries. LDL, on the other hand, takes cholesterol directly to the arteries. This can result in atherosclerosis, a plaque buildup that can even cause heart attack and stroke.
Triglycerides make up the third component of cholesterol and act as unused calories that are stored as fat in the blood. Eating more calories than one burn can cause triglycerides to build up in the bloodstream, increasing the risk for heart attacks.
Many adults suffer from high LDL cholesterol, so it’s important to see the physician to learn about ones cholesterol counts or the amount of cholesterol in ones blood and closely monitor them. The physician will perform a simple blood test and check the other risk factors to find the counts.
A LDL count of 100mg/dl or less is considered healthy. A HDL count should be more than 40mg/dl (50 in female) or greater. Healthy triglyceride counts are 150mg/dl or less. Your “numbers,” or total HDL and LDL cholesterol plus triglycerides, should add up to no more than 200mg/dl. If your numbers are higher than 200, check with the physician — you may have a higher HDL count, which is not unhealthy. The total Cholesterol must not be more than 200mg/dl.
Dangers of Cholesterol
Xanthelasma.: Extremely high levels of cholesterol will lead to xanthelasma, which are yellowish-orange growths on the eyelids. Usually painless, these skin growths may also appear elsewhere on the face. If, however, one notice them, there is a need to get cholesterol levels checked. Seeing such growths are a key indicator that one is at high risk of a heart attack or stroke.
Medically referred to as xanthoma, these lumpy growths can appear on the feet and hands, including the fingers and toes. Xanthomas can vary in size; they can be as small as a pinhead or as large as a grape. They often look like a flat bump under the skin and sometimes appear yellow or orange. Although xanthomas can be painless, they might be tender to touch and feel itchy. A doctor can diagnose and confirm xanthomas with a skin biopsy.
Arcus senilis: High cholesterol can also be identified by the look of someone’s eyes. In young people, a visibly grey or white arc above the cornea could be indicative of high cholesterol. The arcus senilis may eventually become a complete ring around the coloured portion (i.e. iris) of the eye. Fairly common in older adults, if seen in younger patients under the age of 45, it could be a warning of high cholesterol. Arcus senilis is “caused by fat deposits deep in the edge of the cornea”.
Cardiovascular disease: strokes, heart attacks etc. High cholesterol can lead to emergency events, such as blockages in blood vessels that can result in a heart attack or stroke – depending on where the blockage occurs.
Painful fingers and toes: Everyone needs to monitor their cholesterol levels. While the condition is usually symptomless, there are “certain set of physical symptoms” to be aware of. The warning sign of high cholesterol can include painful fingers and toes. This is a direct result of an accumulation of cholesterol that can clog the blood vessels in the legs and hands.
Tingling sensations in the toes and fingers
Another possible indication of high cholesterol is when there is frequent tingling sensations in the toes and fingers. ”Interruptions in the blood flow to certain parts of the body makes a tingling sensation in hands and legs.” The high cholesterol levels in the blood make the blood flow thick and affect the normal flow of blood in the nerves and cause tingling.”
Non Pharmacological: To help lower cholesterol levels, doctors recommend eating a healthy diet and doing regular exercise to bring down dangerous cholesterol levels. People are required to do at least 150 minutes of moderate activity weekly which can be broken down into 30-minute daily activities-such as brisk walking. Alongside medication, the following are also suggested: Eating less fatty food., avoiding smoking, Cutting down on alcohol.
People showcasing extremely high cholesterol levels will be prescribed tablets called statins. Statins work by reducing the amount of cholesterol the body makes.