A RISK FACTOR OF CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE – HIGH BLOOD CHOLESTEROL

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Cholesterol is an oily or waxy substance found within every of the human body. It makes  the cells flexible and also strengthens them. It also helps the body  to produce hormones, vitamins and digestive bile acids in the intestine. Cholesterol therefore, is a vital component of the human body system.

Having said all the usefulness of cholesterol, why is it still a threat to human health? Blood cholesterol can be divided into two groups: high density lipoprotein (HDL)- good cholesterol and low density lipoprotein (LDL)- bad cholesterol. Lipoprotein is a protein particle that helps to transport cholesterol in the blood round the body and back to the liver.

Naturally, the liver produces the cholesterol that the body needs and also helps to eliminate the  excess from the body. It is also consumed from animal products. The question is, how do we identify the source for good cholesterol? Before I come to that, it is important to know the most common cardiovascular disease is the coronary artery disease. The heart has its  own special blood vessels which enables it to have sufficient blood rich in oxygen that the heart muscles need.

Bad cholesterol usually form plagues inside the walls of these special blood vessels called arteries. Plagues build up with time, thereby narrowing the passage way for the flow of blood. This leads to a health condition known as high blood pressure. If these plagues  are not cleared on time, it can further lead to blockage of the arteries and subsequently cause rupture of the artery. When this happens, a blood clot is formed in that damaged area. It could be life threatening especially if it occurred in a delicate part of the body such as the brain. This can lead to stroke or other health complications.

There are usually no signs or symptoms to indicate any excess consumption of cholesterol in the body. This is why it is called a silent killer. The health complications it brings most of the time, come suddenly such as heart attack, chest pain (angina) or stroke.

Now, answering the question of the source of good cholesterol: good cholesterol source include vegetable oil (canola or sunflower), fish rich in omega 3 such as salmon. Others are tuna and sardines. Foods that have very high saturated fats could end up contributing to the bad cholesterol in the body such as dairy products like red meat, butter, milk, full fat cheese, yogurt. Others include coconut oil, palm oil, baked foods, deep fried foods.

A healthy life style is usually advised. Eat heart healthy diets, do regular exercise and eat plenty of fruits such as apple ,oranges, pineapple etc.

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