Effects Of High Cholesterol
If you have heart disease or are susceptible to it due to hereditary or other factors, you are sure to have been at the receiving end of hearing the phrase “Mind your cholesterol.” This cholesterol that you need to keep in check is LDL cholesterol or low-density cholesterol.
Cholesterol is a fat-like, waxy substance, which helps and aids the body functioning to some extent.
You may be wondering how does our body generate or get this much amount of cholesterol in the first place. While we receive some amount of cholesterol through food intake, the rest of it is produced by the liver.
When the amount of LDL cholesterol in the body increases, it starts collecting around the blood vessel walls. As this accumulation of cholesterol or waxy substance proceeds, so does the difficulty of blood flow.
Eventually, the blood flow is majorly restricted, causing a blockage in the artery or the blood vessel. This loss of blood supply to the heart and the formation of blood clots increases the chances of a heart attack or a related illness.
What Are the Side Effects of High Cholesterol?
Your cardiovascular system experiences the worst effects of cholesterol. This happens when the levels of LDL cholesterol increases in the arteries so much that it starts combining with blood substances to form plaques. The process is called atherosclerosis.
Plaques keep increasing in arteries causing multiple issues such as artery blockage and restricted blood flow.
To understand this, think of a traffic jam. As the traffic jam increases, it becomes impossible for the coming traffic to traverse this deadlock. Similarly, when plaques build up in arteries, it slowly restricts the blood flow before completely blocking its passage.
This can cause several issues, including:
- Chest pain is one of the earliest indicators of blockage.
- Coronary heart disease, which stops the oxygenated blood from reaching the heart. This can cause a heart attack.
- Heart attack, which happens when the plaques break to create a clot in the arteries, restricting oxygen flow to the heart.
- Stroke, which happens when the plaques break to create a clot in the artery. In this case, the artery that gets blocked is the one that supplies oxygen or blood to the brain.
The cholesterol created by our body is important to the brain because it helps protect it and develop nerve cells. These nerve cells create a passage for the brain to communicate with the other body parts.
It is known that our brain utilizes 25% of the necessary cholesterol created by our body.
However, as already discussed, excess cholesterol is harmful to the body, as well as the brain. When the arteries to the brain are blocked, the oxygen supply to the brain is cut down. This means that your body can suffer a stroke, which can lead to several body issues. These issues include loss of movement, loss of memory, or speech issues.
If an individual has Alzheimer’s disease, high cholesterol can negatively impact their health by disrupting brain functioning.
Your body’s hormone-producing glands use cholesterol to make hormones such as estrogen, testosterone and cortisol. Hormones can affect your body’s cholesterol levels. With the rise of estrogen levels during a woman’s menstrual cycle, HDL cholesterol levels also go up and LDL cholesterol levels decline. This may increase the risk for heart disease in women after menopause.
Lowered or excess production of thyroid hormone causes alterations in total and LDL cholesterol. Androgen deprivation therapy, which reduces levels of male hormones to stop prostate cancer growth, can raise LDL cholesterol levels. A deficiency of growth hormone can also raise LDL cholesterol levels.
In the digestive system, cholesterol is essential for the production of bile, which is a substance that helps your body break down foods and absorb nutrients in your intestines. If you have too much cholesterol in your bile, the excess may form crystals and then become hard stones in your gallbladder. Keeping a check on your cholesterol levels by getting a blood test done regularly can help improve your overall quality of life.
How Is High Cholesterol Linked to Peripheral Vascular Damage?
High LDL cholesterol is repeatedly linked to peripheral vascular damage or disease. This condition is related to the damage to blood vessels that are linked to the brain and heart. In the usual manner, the waxy deposits keep accumulating on the arteries and hamper the blood flow. This condition generally impacts the feet and leg the most.
How Is High Cholesterol Linked to Diabetes?
LDL cholesterol negatively influences the health of diabetes patients. This is because individuals who have diabetes have high cholesterol as LDL cholesterol sticks to the blood vessels and arteries walls.
Then, glucose further attaches itself to the lipoproteins. This formation makes the glucose particles stay in the system for a long duration, finally forming plaque.
Although cholesterol is necessary for our body, bad cholesterol or LDL cholesterol can adversely affect our health. From heart diseases to poor overall digestion, it can put the body under total distress. In order to avoid this, one must take effective measures towards improving their lifestyle.
You can start by eliminating the factors that can cause your LDL cholesterol levels to rise, such as smoking, obesity, lack of exercise, etc. Regular exercise is an essential factor that can reduce LDL cholesterol by improving your heart health.
Lastly, it is suggested to see a doctor if you see symptoms such as chest pain to control the situation. It is also necessary to take the doctor’s advice on medications because a few medications can promote the growth of LDL cholesterol, and some can inhibit growth. Hence, it is best to check with a doctor for a clear health plan.