The human body needs cholesterol to perform specific functions, but high blood cholesterol levels increase the risk of coronary heart disease.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Hypercholesterolemia (total blood cholesterol of 200 mg/dL) affects nearly two in five adults in the United States.
Having too much cholesterol increases the risk of heart disease and stroke, the two leading causes of death in the United States. More than half of people with high cholesterol also take medication to lower their cholesterol.
Cholesterol is a waxy fat-like substance that is necessary for overall health. It is made in the liver and is essential for the production of hormones and the breakdown of fats in food. Although the human body produces the most cholesterol, many animal foods contain dietary cholesterol, including eggs, fish, meat, poultry, and dairy products.
There are two types of cholesterol: high density lipoproteins (HDL), also called “good cholesterol”, and low density lipoproteins (LDL), also called “bad cholesterol”.
HDL cholesterol helps protect against heart disease, while LDL cholesterol can build up in the arteries and lead to heart disease.
Reduce your intake of saturated and trans fats
LDL and total cholesterol can arise when you eat a diet high in saturated fats, which are found in many processed foods and animal products like whole dairy products.
Avoid foods high in saturated fat, cholesterol, or simple carbohydrates like sugar and white flour. Increase your intake of nuts and vegetables, which are high in plant sterols and fiber.
Exercise lowers LDL levels and increases LDL particle size, thereby reducing plaque formation in the coronary arteries. It improves the amount of HDL cholesterol in your body.
The AHA suggests getting at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week. If you’re new to a regular fitness program, start simple (only five or 10 minutes at a time) and gradually increase your time. Consult your doctor before starting a new exercise routine or changing an existing one.
Now is the time to stop using tobacco products or smoking. Smoking damages the walls of blood vessels, which facilitates plaque buildup. In addition, smoking lowers HDL cholesterol levels. If you’re having trouble quitting smoking, your doctor can help you find the best program.
A a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher is more likely to cause unhealthy LDL and total cholesterol levels. Losing even 5-10 pounds can lower your LDL cholesterol levels if you are overweight. Find out your appropriate weight range by talking with your doctor.
Cholesterol lowering drugs
Sometimes adopting healthy habits alone is not enough to lower LDL cholesterol. You may also need to take medication depending on your lifestyle, genetic risk factors, and family history. In this case, your doctor might suggest medications to lower your LDL cholesterol levels and your overall risk of having a heart problem.
For example, statins, a type of cholesterol-lowering drug, prevent the body from producing cholesterol. However, side effects and how drugs work can vary. You should speak to a medical professional if you want advice on which treatment option is best for you.
To reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, health professionals generally recommend having higher HDL cholesterol levels, preferably above 60, and lower LDL cholesterol levels. If your HDL level is too low and your LDL level is too high, your doctor may also recommend that you take medication to lower your cholesterol levels. Even if you take cholesterol-lowering medication, you still need to make lifestyle changes.
If you’re under 40, you may only need to have your cholesterol levels tested every few years. However, monitoring your cholesterol levels is crucial, especially if you have a family history of high cholesterol.
The HealthifyMe app can help you better understand food options based on your LDL cholesterol and other metabolic indicators. Plus, HealthifyMe lets you reach your fitness and weight loss goals by making simple changes and tracking your diet and exercise.
The HealthifyMe platform is the largest health and fitness platform in Asia. It offers various services that can help you understand what food options are available based on your cholesterol levels and other health issues. These services include personalized trainers, diet programs, and food and exercise monitors that easily sync with other fitness equipment and your phone.
The HealthifyMe App is a comprehensive health and fitness tracking app that includes features to track food, exercise, water intake, sleep, and weight loss. The app also offers home workout videos for men and women that don’t require equipment, making the process of getting in shape and losing weight easier. Additionally, the app tracks the calories of over 100,000 Indian foods and creates highly personalized diet plans from top nutritionists and trainers that take into account your current cholesterol level, target weight, calculated BMI , calorie limit and food preferences.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q. What does it mean when LDL is elevated?
A. A high LDL level indicates an excess of LDL cholesterol in the blood. This extra LDL and other particles combine to produce plaque. The buildup of this plaque in your arteries, known as arteriosclerosis, reduces blood flow and leads to coronary heart disease.
Q. What is a normal LDL level?
A. Although low LDL cholesterol is beneficial, the body needs cholesterol to perform its regular functions. The CDC recommends that LDL cholesterol levels be below 100 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). On the other hand, an LDL level above 160 is considered high. So, keep your LDL level between 100 and 129 mg/dL, which is close to optimum. However, if you have diabetes or heart disease, you should keep your LDL levels below 70 mg/dL.
Q. What should I do if my LDL level is high?
A. If your LDL cholesterol level exceeds the recommended range of 100 to 129 mg/dL. The first step is to change your lifestyle by eating a healthy diet, exercising, reducing stress, and not drinking alcohol or smoking. But if you make these changes but your LDL cholesterol is still high, talk to your doctor. They might give you medicine to reduce it.
Q. How can I lower my LDL in 30 days?
A. The body needs cholesterol for many vital physiological functions, but when LDL cholesterol levels get out of control, they can clog arteries and lead to heart disease. Lifestyle changes are the first line of treatment if your LDL is out of balance. Unsaturated fats, soluble fiber and plant sterols can raise good cholesterol and lower bad cholesterol. Exercise and weight loss can also help. To maintain healthy cholesterol levels, it is essential to avoid smoking, trans fats and added sugars. Consuming foods and supplements, such as soy and green tea, can lower overall cholesterol.
Q. What foods cause high LDL levels?
A. High LDL can be caused by saturated fat found in red meat, fried foods, butter, cheese, baked goods, and other whole dairy products. Instead, eating whole fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and a healthy diet high in fiber can help a person keep their cholesterol levels at their best. By limiting your saturated fat intake to less than 7% of your daily caloric intake, you can lower your LDL cholesterol by 8-10%.
Q. What foods should I avoid with high LDL?
A. It is important to maintain low LDL cholesterol levels because it reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke. A great way to control cholesterol levels is to avoid foods high in trans and unsaturated fats and those high in carbohydrates. This can be achieved by eating fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, fatty fish, and other healthy foods.
Q. How fast can you lower LDL levels?
A. Cholesterol-lowering drugs typically change LDL within six to eight weeks. On the other hand, lifestyle changes can lower cholesterol levels within weeks. However, it can take longer, usually three months or more. Eating heart-healthy foods, exercising, losing weight, and quitting smoking and alcohol can all speed up this process.
Q. How long does it take for LDL to decrease?
A. It usually depends on age, gender, cholesterol level, and genetics, among other factors. On the other hand, if a person is taking a drug to lower their LDL levels, the dosage will determine how long the effect lasts. Higher doses have significant reductions, but they come with more side effects.
Q. What are the warning signs of high cholesterol?
A. High cholesterol levels can be deadly because they can block or damage arteries, which can lead to life-threatening conditions like strokes and heart attacks. He may not have any symptoms. A lipid profile or blood test is the only way to tell if you have it. However, symptoms such as jaw pain, chest tightness, shortness of breath, and gray and white deposits around the cornea may raise concerns about high cholesterol.
Q. How can I lower my LDL naturally?
A. Changing your lifestyle and eating habits can bring your cholesterol levels down to a safe level. Adopt and stick to a diet low in saturated and trans fats for optimal health. Also, start consuming seeds, nuts, olives, and other healthy unsaturated fats. Reduce your alcohol and tobacco consumption and lose weight if you are overweight. When people exercise, their HDL levels rise, which removes LDL cholesterol from the blood.