The invisible danger: high cholesterol and its consequences

The invisible danger: high cholesterol and its consequences

Cholesterol is vital, but too much can be dangerous. Discover here what lifestyle habits you should adapt to reduce your risk.

High cholesterol: what exactly does it mean and what risks does it carry? Too much fat in the blood promotes hardening of the arteries (arteriosclerosis) and increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes. The level of LDL cholesterol in the blood determines the extent of the consequences, depending on the German Heart Foundation. However, high cholesterol levels can be effectively reduced by adjusting some lifestyle habits. A new therapeutic approach using intestinal bacteria is also being discussed.

LDL cholesterol: what level is healthy?

Healthy people without previous diseases usually have an LDL cholesterol level of less than 116 mg/dl (<3.0 mmol/l) in their blood. For example, in people who are overweight or have slightly elevated blood pressure, the LDL cholesterol value should be below 100 mg/dl (<2.6 mmol/l), and in those with more severe high blood pressure it should even be below of 70 mg. /dl (<1.8 mmol/l).

Cholesterol is generally not harmful and performs important tasks in the body.

Cholesterol, also known as cholesterol, generally has a negative connotation, although it plays an essential role for the human body. As a lipid (fat), it is an essential component of the cell membrane and serves as protection. The body produces more than 80 percent of cholesterol, mainly in the liver, but also in the intestines. Only a small portion of cholesterol is absorbed through food.

In particular, LDL cholesterol can cause dangerous vascular deposits.

When measuring blood cholesterol, the focus is mainly on the so-called low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and high-density lipoproteins (HDL). In the liver cells there are special receptors, LDL cholesterol receptors, which regulate the concentration of cholesterol in the bloodstream. The higher the concentration of low-density lipoproteins (LDL) in the blood and vessels, the higher the risk of developing vascular diseases such as arteriosclerosis.

Four habits that can help reduce cholesterol

What makes high cholesterol especially dangerous is the fact that it does not manifest itself through any specific symptoms. Therefore, have your cholesterol levels checked regularly by your GP. If you have high cholesterol levels, you should pay attention to four following factors:

  • Exercise: At least 30 minutes of brisk walking every day, five times a week, already provides important benefits. HDL “good” cholesterol increases with exercise, which helps reduce LDL “bad” cholesterol in vessel walls. Higher HDL means more efficient transport of LDL.
  • Diet change: Reduce foods rich in fat and cholesterol such as butter, meat and sausages. Instead, rely on unsaturated fatty acids, for example rapeseed and olive oil. Fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, low-fat dairy products, and low-fat fish are preferred.
  • Enjoy coffee: Filtered coffee is the better option than unfiltered coffee. The cafestol found in coffee can increase LDL cholesterol levels, but most of it remains in the filter when you drink filtered coffee.
  • Smoking: High cholesterol is a good reason to quit smoking. Nicotine narrows the arteries and significantly increases the risk of hardening of the arteries, heart attacks and strokes.

This article only contains general information on the respective health topic and is therefore not intended for self-diagnosis, treatment or medication. It does not replace a visit to the doctor in any case. Our editorial team cannot answer individual questions about medical conditions.

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