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Cholesterol is a lipid molecule that is naturally produced by the body. Although it plays a vital role in the functioning of every cell, an excess of cholesterol in the blood remains one of the risk factors in the development of cardiovascular diseases. There are several risk factors in the development of cardiovascular disease and it is important to consider each one of them to reduce its overall risk.
HDL and LDL cholesterol
circulates in the body by attaching itself to different types of lipoproteins.
The two main types of lipoproteins are high
density lipoproteins (HDL cholesterol) and low densitylipoproteins (LDL cholesterol). LDL cholesterol is often
called "bad cholesterol" because it contains a relatively high amount
of cholesterol that can accumulate on the arterial walls in case of excess.
High cholesterol may be due to uncontrollable factors such as your family history or ethnicity. However, there are other factors responsible for this elevation, on which you can act directly. Discover the main causes of high cholesterol.
Most of those whose cholesterol remains elevated despite a proper diet receive a drug, often a statin, in some cases a fibrate. Yet, nicotinic acid, one of the forms of niacin (vitamin B3, formerly vitamin PP) is probably the best anti-cholesterol weapon.
1. Bad eating habits
Diet is one of the key factors in reducing bad cholesterol (LDL). More in this article that explains how to lower cholesterol.
In recent decades, we have significantly changed our diet. Today, we consume more industrial products, high in cholesterol, to the detriment of fruits and vegetables. Industrial processes involve foods that often contain a lot of saturated fatty acids and salt.
One of the reasons for this poor diet is that we often have very little time to prepare our own meals. To limit the consumption of industrial products, it may be interesting to cook fresh products in larger quantities to freeze portions that you will reuse when you do not have time to prepare you to eat during the week.
Foods rich in saturated fatty acids to avoid
The saturated fats are bad fats that are partly responsible for high cholesterol. They are mainly found in:
· Dairy products like milk, butter and cheese. You can replace them with reduced alternatives in fat.
· Meat, including pork, lamb and duck. Limit their consumption to avoid the rise of bad cholesterol.
Ready foods and desserts like pizzas and cakes. Reduce the consumption of these industrial products and instead favor homemade recipes, with little fat.
2. The stress
Family, work, productivity ... we are in a society that lives at 100 per hour and the stressful moments of everyday life are often unavoidable. Although stress is not one of the direct causes of high cholesterol levels, it can add pressure and cause us to adopt unhealthy habits.
To ease the pressure, relax by doing yoga or meditation for a few minutes a day. Learn to let go. Turn off your phone and read rather than sitting in front of the TV when you get home from work, or listen to your favorite music. All these options will allow you to calm down, to find a good balance, and indirectly to limit the elevation of your cholesterol level.
3. Lack of physical activity
To avoid having high cholesterol, it is recommended to practice at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day. For example, you can register at the gym next to your home, walk as soon as you can (use the stairs instead of the elevator; go to work on foot or by bike, etc.). ), or do a few sets of exercise in the morning, during your lunch break, or in the evening when you come home from work.
If you lack motivation, do not hesitate to call a sports coach at home!
4. Alcohol and tobacco
Limit alcohol consumption because it is responsible for increasing triglyceride levels and can increase the risk of cardiovascular complications. According to public health organizations, it should not exceed more than 3 glasses of alcohol per day for men and 2 glasses for women.
Treatment for cholesterol
Molecules often prescribed as a treatment against hypercholesterolemia, lipid-lowering medications would reduce the endogenous synthesis of cholesterol. They would inhibit the activity of an enzyme that is involved in its manufacture and significantly reduce the LDL cholesterol level.
This lipid-lowering medications (statin) may be prescribed for primary prevention, where the individual has no history of cardiovascular disease but significant cardiovascular risk. Depending on the cholesterol level and the risk factors, the doctor will judge the interest of these molecules in the face of the possible benefits / risks.
Secondary prevention is to prevent recurrence of a second cardiovascular event in a person who has had a first cardiovascular event. In this situation, the prescription of a drug treatment is recommended.