Dyslipidaemia or high cholesterol is one of the risk factors of atherosclerosis and heart disease. The possibility of dying from heart problems in young adult’s doubles with every 40 points increase in total cholesterol. Recent reports show an increasing prevalence of high cholesterol among 25-30 % of urban and 15-20 % of the rural Indian populace. Borderline high LDL cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol and high triglycerides are common lipid profiles observed in Indian people. Keeping cholesterol levels under control can help one lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Though having high cholesterol can increase the risk of heart disease, did you know that body needs the right amount of lipids to support digestion, synthesise vitamin D, absorb vital nutrients and many more. Despite being a crucial factor in good health, there are many myths circulating about cholesterol.
Learn the truth behind the myths and get an insight into what cholesterol is and how it’s linked to cardiac health.
Cholesterols are bad for health
Not true, cholesterol is a key substance that helps the body perform several vital functions. However, there are two types of cholesterol - high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL). HDL is the good cholesterol that aids to remove LDL (bad) cholesterol from the body and lowers the risk of stroke. While LDL is the bad cholesterol that raises the risk of heart attack or stroke, too much LDL build-up in the arteries can lead to plaque formation and restrict blood flow. A high LDL can be a concern, but your doctor may suggest ways to reduce cholesterol levels.
Thin people need not worry about their cholesterol levels
Generally, overweight, or obese people are more prone to have high cholesterol, but it can also affect thin people too. Thus, for all healthy adults without any risk factors for heart disease, it is recommended to get lipide profiles checked every 4 to 6 years.
Cholesterol can only be lowered by taking medicine
Leading a disciplined lifestyle is key to maintain a lipid profile under control. If a person is dyslipidaemic or are at risk, then eating a wholesome diet packed with fibre rich fruits and vegetables, increased physical activity, and quitting smoking can reduce cholesterol levels. However, for few people cholesterol levels will remain high no matter what lifestyle modifications they make, where the doctor may prescribe cholesterol-lowering medications.
Women don’t have to worry about high cholesterol
Dyslipidaemia is the leading cause of heart disease, and heart disease is the number one cause of death among women, as per Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Thus, it affects both women and men in about the same numbers. Menopause, hormonal changes, and pregnancy are certain conditions that affect cholesterol levels mainly for women.
Cholesterol levels are increased as the result of exercise and diet.
Exercise and diet are vital factors that can contribute to cholesterol levels, however, there are factors that play a key role including:
Smoking or passive smoking
Being overweight or obese
Excess consumption of alcohol
I am taking medications for dyslipidaemia, so I don’t’ need to worry about diet.
Well, two important sources that affect blood cholesterol levels- what one eats and what the liver produces.
Cholesterol-lowering medications like statins will lower the amount of cholesterol made by the liver. But if you don’t eat a well-balanced and nutritious diet, your cholesterol level can still go high. Statins can offer a false sense of safety.