High Cholesterol: Causes and Effects on the Body

General Article

Do you know adults, older people and even children in United States have high cholesterol? According to CDC, in 2011–2012, 78 million U.S. adults (nearly 37%) had low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels that fall in the range where experts recommend cholesterol medicine or had other health conditions putting them at high risk for heart disease and stroke. Slightly more than half of U.S. adults (55%, or 43 million) who need cholesterol medicine are currently taking it. 95 million U.S. adults age 20 or older have total cholesterol levels greater than 200 mg/dL. Nearly 29 million adult Americans have total cholesterol levels higher than 240 mg/dL. 7% of U.S. children and adolescents ages 6 to 19 have high total cholesterol.

Cholesterol has many functions in the body and it’s found in the outer layer of every human cell. Some of its function include aiding in cell membrane growth, production of estrogen and testosterone and production of bile. Cholesterol assists in metabolizing fat soluble vitamins in the body.  As much as we focus on the dangers of cholesterol, we need to know it serves a vital purpose to the body. However, there is both good and bad cholesterol.

What High Cholesterol Affects the Body?

High cholesterol can have bad effect on your body and general health. One of consequences of high bad cholesterol is heart disease. When the arteries become blocked, they reduce blood and oxygen from flowing to the heart which in turn increases the risk of a heart attack or stroke. If you are suffering from symptoms of high cholesterol, you need to see a medical doctor for advice.

Common Causes of High Cholesterol

There are many reasons for developing high cholesterol. However, sometimes genetics can also cause high cholesterol levels. The major causes of high cholesterol levels are:

Obesity

Excess weight is an indication of bad cholesterol levels in your body. Maintaining your appropriate weight according to your height and gender is recommended. Find out what you ideal bmi (body mass index), exercise and eat a healthy diet to lower your bad cholesterol levels.

Smoking

Smoking is not only an unhealthy habit but it also raises you cholesterol levels. Try as much as possible to stay away from smoking by joining a program on how to quit smoking. It may be challenging at first, but with patience and determination, you can stop smoking.

Age

Normally, the cholesterol levels increases with age. When you hit your 50’s, a man’s cholesterol levels begins to slow down. On the other hand, women’s cholesterol levels increase naturally after they reach menopause. Lifestyle and medical factors can also raises your cholesterol levels.

Lack of exercise

If you don’t exercise on a regular basis, you could be among the people likely to have higher cholesterol levels. Sedentary people tend to have lower amounts HDL (good cholesterol). Try to engage in exercise that you enjoy at least three times a week. You can go a run or jog in your neighborhood, join a gym or make use of home exercising videos.

Medical Conditions

There are certain medical conditions that tend to create higher cholesterol in the body. These include diseases such as diabetes, kidney and liver disease.

Poor Nutrition

What kind of foods do you eat? Eating large quantities of cholesterol laden foods such as meat and dairy can increase your cholesterol. Most dangerous are foods that are high in saturated fats. Eat fresh whole foods in the form of lean proteins, fresh vegetables and whole grains and fruits.