Cholesterol occupies an essential role in the proper function of our bodies, but it has long been associated with heart disease. Recent studies have begun to question the strength of the traditional stance, however, leading to an amount of confusion among the public. Is cholesterol bad? The answer is a little complicated. Of course, the first step in this process is learning exactly what cholesterol is.
What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a waxy substance similar to fat. It travels through the bloodstream in lipoproteins (literally made of fat (lipid) and protein). Cholesterol is required for your body to create vitamin D and various hormones.
Generally, you don’t need much more cholesterol than the amount already created by your body. Too much cholesterol can cause buildups of it, called plaque, in your arteries. Plaque can obstruct blood flow while entering the artery walls and hardening the lining of blood vessels.
There are actually several different types of cholesterol: high-density lipoproteins (HDL) and low-density lipoproteins (LDL), often simply called “good” and “bad” are the most well known. That’s a bit inaccurate, however, as LDL actually comes in two different patterns: A and B. Particles of pattern A LDL are larger than pattern B LDL, and are less likely to stick to artery walls. It’s probably pattern B LDL that is the biggest culprit in plaque buildup.
The new thinking on high cholesterol
For decades high cholesterol was believed to be the primary reason causing heart disease, heart attacks, etc. However, half of all heart attack victims were found to have normal levels of cholesterol, not high. On top of that, there is more than one form of cholesterol, and one sub-type predominantly clogs arteries.
Saturated fat, long maligned as a cause of heart disease as well, doesn’t greatly affect the pattern B form of cholesterol. Instead, the part of your diet that interacts most with pattern B LDL cholesterol is sugar intake. In addition, the more sugar in your diet, the more likely to increase insulin levels in the bloodstream and the more likely to cause arteries to grow “sticky,” thereby attracting the cholesterol buildup known as plaque. Other factors, like age, gender, smoking and genetics, also play a role in the likelihood of cholesterol buildup.
A high cholesterol level can mean more plaque in your arteries, or an increasing amount of obstruction to blood flow. Eventually, the plaque may break, causing blood clots. This means the body is unable to send oxygen to a part of the body. If the blocked artery carries blood to the brain, it leads to a stroke. If the blockage is for blood heading to the heart, it causes a heart attack or angina. Angina is basically pain or discomfort in the chest or other part of the body and can be a warning sign for an impending heart attack.
Avoiding and reducing high cholesterol
A healthy lifestyle (eating well, being active and not smoking) is the best way to avoid high cholesterol. This may require moderating how much of certain foods you eat, particularly those that add to your pattern B LDL (the bad cholesterol), like processed foods and added sugars. Many foods can be helpful in fighting heart disease, like those high in omega-3 fatty acids, nuts, oats and foods high in fiber.
Improving your insulin efficiency will also help you avoid high cholesterol, along with a litany of other health issues. The Olumia Life system is actually designed to improve multiple metabolic markers through Fitness, Nutrition and Sleep plans. If you’re already in Olumia Life, all you need to do is follow the guidance.
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