High cholesterol, do I? The tendency can be inherited and endanger your health, even if it doesn’t feel like it

The body produces cholesterol itself and it is also obtained from food. A certain amount of cholesterol is constantly needed for, among other things, cell building material and hormone production. However, if there is too much cholesterol, it will accumulate over the years to clog blood vessels and make you sick.

Studies have consistently confirmed that high cholesterol is the leading cause of cardiovascular disease. People with very low levels of bad LDL cholesterol in their blood have little to no arterial disease.

Only survive a blood test

Do you know your cholesterol level? The value is only determined by a blood test. Today, instead of total cholesterol (recommendation less than 5), several different things are observed. A good HDL cholesterol level should be above 1, but it is not always enough if there is a risk of arterial disease.

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High cholesterol doesn’t feel like anything, but it endangers your health. Read below what you can do about it.

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1. Replace hard fats with soft ones

Dietary hard, saturated fats include butter, milk fat, coconut and palm oil. They affect the function of cells that collect bad LDL cholesterol from the bloodstream.

Change fats to margarine and vegetable oils. Reduce sources of hidden fats such as pastry and biscuit mash. Eggs can raise cholesterol levels in those who are easily absorbed from food cholesterol.

2. Eat fiber, watch out for sugar

Fiber prevents the absorption of bad cholesterol and affects its elimination from the body.

Prefer vegetables and fruits.

Monitor the amount of sugar, as high sugar intake can raise blood triglyceride levels, which worsens the composition of blood fats. Saturated fats have a direct effect on arterial disease, while sugar has an indirect effect.

High sugar intake fats, which in turn increases the risk of arterial disease and affects, among other things, the ratio of good to bad cholesterol.

3. Keep your weight under control and move more

Being overweight, and especially metabolic syndrome, usually lowers the level of good HDL cholesterol in the blood and worsens the ratio of bad LDL cholesterol to good HDL cholesterol.

Nutrition and heredity affect cholesterol levels the most, but exercise can also improve your cholesterol levels. Cholesterol is enhanced by endurance exercise: if you exercise briskly for at least 2.5 hours a week for several months, your level of good HDL cholesterol can rise. Movers also have a lower risk of developing arterial disease.

4. Remember heredity

Pay special attention if your family is prone to high cholesterol. 25–30 per cent of Finns have a gene form, which makes cholesterol more easily absorbed from food.

Not everyone’s diet helps lower cholesterol but requires medication. Remember that if you have a family history of arterial disease or early heart attacks, a background of diabetes, or high blood pressure, high cholesterol is more dangerous than healthy.

The expert is Timo Strandberg, Professor of Geriatrics, the Universities of Helsinki and Oulu and the University of Helsinki

This article has appeared in Good Health magazine. As a subscriber, you can read all numbers free of charge from the digilehdet.fi service.

Source: Hyvä Terveys by www.hyvaterveys.fi.

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