Lipids are the by-products of common fat we eat. Lipids are classified as triglycerides (fats and oils), diglycerides (phospholipids), and steroids. Cholesterol is a steroid helping in the formation of cell membranes and hormones. Further, this cholesterol is classified as Low-Density Lipoprotein or LDL, and High-Density Lipoprotein or HDL also called “good” cholesterol. VLDL is another type of cholesterol secreted by the liver into your bloodstream. VLDL stands for Very-Low Density Lipoprotein. Lipoproteins are formed partly by proteins and partly fat. All three types of lipoproteins vary in the proportion that is made of cholesterol, protein, and triglycerides. VLDL has more of triglycerides, LDL more of cholesterol, and HDL more of protein. That is the reason, LDL and VLDL are together known as the bad cholesterol, they both have a significant role in the formation of plaque. Now, plaque is a thick solid sticky mass made of fat, cholesterol, calcium, and other similar substances that get deposited in the arterial lumen interrupting the blood flow.
All in all, both types of bad cholesterol adversely affects your heart health either by getting deposited in the lumen of your arteries or under your skin and in the liver. If the lumen is completely choked, the organ may not get any blood supply. The plaque may burst and move to smaller arteries blocking them completely.
According to the American Heart Association, the following are the age-wise recommended cholesterol levels:
|Triglycerides||Total Cholesterol||HDL Cholesterol||LDL cholesterol|
|Recommended levels in adults||Less than 149||Less than 200||Less than 40||Less than 100; less than 70 with one coronary artery disease|
|Borderline adult||130–159||Between 200 and 239||41 to 59||130 to 159|
|Normal level: Men||Less than 100||More than 60|
|Normal level: Women||Less than 150||Less than 200||More than 50||Less than 130|
|Normal level: Children||Less than 75 in children below nine; less than 90 for children between 10–19||Less than 170||Greater than 45||Less than 110|
All three fats are measured in milligrams per deciliter.
Following changes are recommended at all ages for keeping high cholesterol levels at bay:
- Certain Medications if cholesterol has already got you (even borderline cases with other risk enhancing disease)
- An anti-cholesterol medication called Statins like Atorvastatin or Lovastatin has known to decrease the level of bad cholesterol and stabilize the lining of heart arteries.
- Platelet De-aggregators like Aspirin reduces the clot building property of blood.
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors slow the progression of the disease by controlling the blood pressure.
Also, make sure to take all your regular medications like that of diabetes or thyroid. Controlled vital statistics is another important stepping stone for a healthy cholesterol level.
- Dietary Management
- No packed food
- Low sodium
- Low sugar – No soda, fewer sweets, sugarless tea, coffee
- Low fat or healthy fat like that of olive oil, less saturated fat
- High potassium – Nuts
- High fiber – emphasizing fruits, vegetables, whole grains more than 4 servings a day
- Low‐fat dairy products
- Lose weight and maintain it all through. Maintaining a healthy weight is found to reduce the cardiovascular effects of hypercholesterolemia, atherosclerosis, and blood pressure. This can be achieved by working on your body mass index or waist-hip ratio.
- Reduce alcohol intake – This has found to help reduce the blood pressure which incidentally results in maintaining healthy cholesterol levels.
- Daily physical activity like yoga, pranayama, or exercises for at least 40 minutes needs to be practiced daily. You don’t have to go to the gym; you can do jumping jacks or Surya Namaskar right in front of your TV or just go running or just dance to your favorite countdown non-stop for 20 min. Park your car at the farthest possible space, brisk walk to your station, choose to ride a bicycle to your office.
- Quitting smoking – Smoking reduces the elasticity of your arteries; aggravates plaque formation and affects good cholesterol adversely. Smoking cessation has a major effect on reducing bad cholesterol.
- Ditch Stress – Deep breathing, meditation, pranayama, and a good sound sleep keeps you fit and cholesterol-free.
This was the information regarding recommended cholesterol levels topped by how to keep them in limits. Stay aware, stay healthy!!