I probably should have gone to medical school and been a doctor with what all I have learned over the years about one of our main vital organs, the heart. Between my family’s medical history of heart attacks, angina, leaky valves, and especially high cholesterol, I feel I have a good working knowledge of this organ. And now I have a more intimate knowledge as I have gotten older and have had to experience first hand some of the issues and concerns we all may face with age.
Cholesterol is a lipid, a fatty substance produced by the body, in the liver, and we all have it in us. There are two (2) types of cholesterol, LDL (low density lipoprotein) and HDL (high density lipoprotein) and without getting into all the details of the two, we can just say there is good (HDL) and bad cholesterol (LDL). There is the argument we need both types of cholesterol and I am sure this can be medically proven either way, but for now I want to discuss bad cholesterol or LDL.
Not only do our bodies produce cholesterol, but we also can get this from the foods we eat, especially foods that are high in fats and saturated fats.
Having high cholesterol is linked to heart attacks, strokes, narrowing of the arteries, and a few other nasty things we all want to avoid.
Cholesterol levels in the body are measured by a fasting blood test, meaning you need to fast (not eat) for many hours (8-12) prior to having the blood drawn for the test. By not fasting, the blood lab cannot get an accurate reading of your cholesterol levels.
Cholesterol is measured in unit in the blood and the NHS does give a number that they feel our average cholesterol should be, that number is 5.0mmol/L or less. In America they use a different form of measurement and they want your cholesterol to be under 200.
I am one of those fortunate few that not only does my body produce a high amount of cholesterol, I also like fatty foods and my body doesn’t break them down as well as others may. So I have a bit of a double whammy.
So obviously keeping one’s cholesterol under the recommended guideline is helpful in living a healthy and hopefully long life. So how can one do this.
Watching our diets is important, not eating too many fatty foods. Also watching our weight. I am not overweight, yet I still have high cholesterol, but for many, just by losing a few pounds or a stone, we can lower our cholesterol.
Also exercise, keeping fit, walking, running, just 20-30 minutes a day can help to lower our cholesterol.
You will find for some life and health insurance policies a blood test is done and your cholesterol levels are checked. Those with high cholesterol may be rated, or asked to pay a higher premium for the insurance, or worse yet, declined for the policy.
So just a little bit of knowledge, such as what your cholesterol numbers are, and a little bit of watching our diets and exercise, can make a huge difference. However if after trying these changes your cholesterol does not drop to a healthy level, there are drugs, statins, that can be prescribed by your doctor to assist you in this endeavour.