Your body needs cholesterol to make your cells function well, but high cholesterol can increase your risk of a heart attack. Read on to find out how.
Cholesterol is a waxy substance made by the liver to build new cells, produce hormones, and insulate nerve cells. You can also get it through certain foods such as meat, egg, and milk.
To understand how high cholesterol can cause a heart attack, you need to understand the types of cholesterol. Cholesterol travels in our bloodstream in two forms:
This is commonly known as good cholesterol. It takes excess cholesterol to your liver for disposal. This is not harmful to your heart.
This is known as bad cholesterol because too much LDL gets accumulated in your arteries’ walls. Blocked arteries prevent the blood from reaching your heart, causing a heart attack. Besides this, high triglycerides (another fat found in your bloodstream) can also increase your risk of heart attacks.
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High cholesterol doesn’t cause any symptoms. A blood test is the only way to detect your cholesterol levels. Get regular blood tests to monitor your cholesterol levels, especially if you have an increased risk of developing high cholesterol. Factors such as being obese or following a poor diet increase your risk of high cholesterol.
Follow these tips to lower your cholesterol levels, which will help prevent heart attacks.
Follow a diet that includes vegetables, fresh fruits, nuts, whole grains, legumes, fish, lean meat, and poultry.
The CDC and AHA recommend 75 minutes of high-intensity aerobic exercises (running, climbing stairs, etc.) or 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercises (brisk walking, playing tennis, swimming, etc.) every week to maintain a healthy weight.
Lower your stress by practicing stress-relieving activities like meditation and yoga.
Smoking damages your blood vessels’ lining and makes the blood more susceptible to clotting. Therefore, quit smoking to prevent clotting and heart attacks.
AHA says excessive alcohol consumption can raise your triglycerides, along with LDL, which can increase your risk of a heart attack. Therefore, it is recommended to have one drink a day (for women) or two drinks (for men).
Ensure to take your cholesterol medications on time and as prescribed.
Health conditions, including inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and lupus, can increase your risk of a heart attack. Get them treated to improve your heart health.
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Maintaining healthy cholesterol levels helps protect your heart health and prevents heart attacks. Ensure you have:
The heart is a vital part of our body and requires special care to function properly. Follow the regime mentioned above and get yourself tested from time to time to stay healthy.
If you are looking for professional medical guidance to manage your cholesterol levels, contact us today at Newnan Family Medicine Associates P.C. Our experienced and skilled healthcare providers will create a personalized cholesterol management plan for you.
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