Cholesterol is a fat synthesized by your body and is present in your blood. It is used by your body to build healthy cells, produce hormones, vitamins and bile (to digest fat). Cholesterol is obtained from the food we eat. There are two main types of cholesterol high-density lipoprotein (HDL), which is good for our bodies, and low-density lipoprotein, which is considered "bad" cholesterol. High levels of LDL are caused by consuming food containing saturated and trans fats, obesity, being inactive, familial history, age and underlying medical conditions. If the amount of cholesterol exceeds a certain limit (above 240 units), it starts accumulating in blood vessels and hinders the flow of blood through them. High cholesterol does not have specific symptoms, and can only be detected through regular blood tests such as fasting cholesterol test, simple cholesterol test and low density cholesterol (LDL) test.
High cholesterol can be treated by making healthy lifestyle changes. The various lifestyle changes include
- Eating a healthy diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, fish, and high fibre grains and breads
- Quitting smoking
- Exercising regularly and walking for at least 30 minutes a day
- Losing excess weight
If your cholesterol continues to remain high, your doctor may prescribe medications such as statins and cholesterol absorption inhibitors which help to reduce cholesterol accumulation in your body.