High cholesterol level is a risk factor for heart disease. An unhealthy lifestyle is a factor that triggers increased levels of cholesterol in the blood.
Reporting from Heart.org, the human body naturally produces cholesterol to regenerate cells, protect nerves, and produce hormones.
Unfortunately, unhealthy behaviors such as an unbalanced diet, lack of movement, smoking, exposure to secondhand smoke, and being overweight make cholesterol production rise above the body’s needs.
Besides, cholesterol levels can also increase due to eating fried foods, milk, cheese, and meat.
With abundant cholesterol levels in the blood, especially the type of LDL (bad cholesterol), body health can be disturbed—one of them, causing heart disease.
Why does high cholesterol cause heart disease?
High cholesterol can cause heart disease because this health problem interferes with the performance of blood vessels. Quoted from WebMD, high cholesterol in the blood can cause cholesterol to accumulate in arteries’ walls. This condition is called atherosclerosis.
When the arteries are narrowed, blood flow to the heart muscle becomes narrowed or blocked. These conditions can have fatal consequences. The reason is, blood carries oxygen to the heart.
If blood and oxygen supply to the heart is minimal, a person can experience chest pain. When the blood supply or supply to a part of the heart is cut off due to a blockage, a person can have a heart attack.
There are two cholesterol types, namely low-density lipoprotein (LDL, also known as bad cholesterol) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL or good cholesterol). LDL is the main source of artery-clogging plaque. Meanwhile, HDL can help clean cholesterol from the blood.
Meanwhile, there are also triglycerides or fat in the bloodstream. Recent research shows, high levels of triglycerides are also linked to heart disease. High cholesterol often doesn’t show any signs or symptoms. A cholesterol examination is needed to determine the level of cholesterol in the blood.
How to prevent heart disease
Quoted from Healthline, one way to prevent heart disease is to lower cholesterol levels. This effort can be made by taking medication to lower LDL cholesterol in the blood.
Not only taking medication, how to prevent heart disease also needs to carry out healthy living behaviors, including:
- Maintain ideal body weight. Gaining weight can increase levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) and make the heart work harder.
- Get active and exercise diligently. The body is actively moving to make bodyweight more controlled and increases good cholesterol (HDL) levels
- Adopt a balanced diet by consuming vegetables, fruit, nuts, and seeds every day. Choose lean meat, skinless poultry, and fish.
- Avoid fried foods, preservative foods, and limit sugar.
- Stop smoking and avoid exposure to cigarette smoke.
If you come from a family with a history of heart disease, try to get health checks every year. The sooner you know the risk factors for heart disease, the sooner you can take action to prevent heart disease.