Cholesterol is a waxy substance found naturally in the blood. It is predominantly produced in the liver, but can also be found in foods such as red meat, high fat cheese, butter and eggs, Cholesterol is essential for maintaining good health; it helps in digesting foods, producing hormones, and generating vitamin D. It only becomes a problem when the level in your blood is too high. Elevated cholesterol increases you chances of having; heart attack, stroke, hypertension. High cholesterol doesn’t give any symptom in particular and is only detected when you go for routine test.
Here are some common causes of high cholesterol which you need to avoid;
Smoking; a chemical found in cigarettes called acrolein stops the transport of cholesterol from fatty deposits to the liver, leading to narrowing of the arteries (atherosclerosis). it also decreases the level of good cholesterol in the body. Quit smoking to help reduce your cholesterol level.
Obesity; this increases your chances of having high cholesterol especially the bad one (LDL). It’s important you try to reduce your weigh and ensure your body mass index (BMI) is less than 30.
Lack of exercise; this can lead to an increase in your cholesterol level. Exercises such as walking swimming, taking the stairs instead of lift can help you to reduce cholesterol level.
Eating meals high in fat; eating meals high in saturated fat such as animal meat and dairy products can lead to raised cholesterol level. However, consumption of unsaturated fat as seen in plants doesn’t affect your cholesterol level.
Underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, thyroid diseases, kidney diseases can influence your cholesterol level. However, proper management of these diseases can normalise your cholesterol level.
Use of certain medications such as steroids, diuretics, anti- arrhythmic drugs, antiretroviral drugs can increase your cholesterol level.
However there are some uncontrollable causes of high cholesterol and they include;
Increasing age; Age has a lot to do with your cholesterol level. Men over 45 and women over 55 years are at risk of having complications from a cholesterol problem.
Sex; elevated cholesterol is more common in women especially post menopausal women.
Previous family history; High cholesterol levels may be caused by an inherited (genetic) problem that changes the way the body handles cholesterol. Liver cells are responsibly for removing bad cholesterol from the body. If you have a family history of dysfunctional liver cells that don’t totally remove bad cholesterol you can have elevated cholesterol.