Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that occurs naturally in all parts of the body. Your body needs some cholesterol to work properly. But if you have too much in your blood, it can combine with other substances in the blood and stick to the walls of your arteries. This is called plaque. Plaque can narrow your arteries or even block them. Increased cholesterol in blood is called hypercholesterolaemia.
High levels of cholesterol in the blood can increase your risk of heart disease. Your cholesterol levels tend to rise as you get older. There are usually no signs or symptoms that you have high blood cholesterol, but it can be detected with a blood test. You are likely to have high cholesterol if members of your family have it, if you are overweight or if you eat a lot of fatty foods.
You can lower your cholesterol by exercising more and eating more fruits and vegetables. You also may need to take medicine to lower your cholesterol.
Classification of total cholesterol
- Desirable level is less than 200 mg/dL
- Borderline level is between 200-239 mg/dL
- High level if it is more than or equals 240 mg/dL
Symptoms of High Cholesterol in blood
High blood cholesterol usually has no signs or symptoms. Thus, many people don’t know that their cholesterol levels are too high.
If you’re overweight or obese, losing weight can help lower LDL cholesterol. Maintaining a healthy weight is especially important if you have a condition called metabolic syndrome.
Metabolic syndrome is the name for a group of risk factors that raise your risk for heart disease and other health problems, such as diabetes and stroke.
The five metabolic risk factors are a large waistline (abdominal obesity), a high triglyceride level, a low HDL cholesterol level, high blood pressure, and high blood sugar. Metabolic syndrome is diagnosed if you have at least three of these metabolic risk factors.
Routine physical activity can lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides and raise your HDL cholesterol level. People gain health benefits from as little as 60 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week. The more active you are, the more you will benefit.
Dietary modification holds an important role in the control of high cholesterol. In other words, high cholesterol can be controlled by following a proper nutritious diet which is low in dietary fat.