Cholesterol is not bad for your heart and health as long as it is good cholesterol, i.e., high-density lipoprotein cholesterol or simply HDL cholesterol. The opposite of HDL cholesterol is the low-density cholesterol, simply, LDL cholesterol. It is when your body has a high amount of LDL cholesterol, you face many health related problems and creates an urgent need for high LDL cholesterol treatments.
It is important to get all the possible high LDL cholesterol treatments done because here is what the bad cholesterol does to your body:
- It can affect your nervous system
- Brain contains essential cholesterol for development and protection of nerve cells
- Too much of cholesterol is harmful to your brain as it can lead to strokes
- When blood flow to the brain is disrupted, it can lead to loss of memory, movement and other functions
- Bad affects on cardiovascular and circulatory system
- Too much cholesterol builds up in the arteries, and that disrupts the blood flow in your body and created serious and life threatening problems
- The built up cholesterol in the arteries creates atherosclerosis, and that leads to heart diseases, including heart attack
- Apart from heart diseases, it can also cause diseases in the arteries called peripheral arterial disease (PAD). In this disease, the blood supply to the legs, arms, stomach, and feet can get blocked because of the plaque that’s been created by LDL cholesterol.
- When the endocrine system produces low thyroid hormone, the condition is called hypothyroidism, and that leads to higher LDL cholesterol
- When other therapies relating to the hormones are done to prevent other effects, there can be a rise in LDL cholesterol
- Cholesterol helps in the formation of bile, which is essential for digestion. But bad cholesterol and its excess can lead to formation of small crystals
- The crystals cause hard stones in the gall bladder. Gallstones are extremely painful.
- High LDL treatments are important because they create life-threatening conditions and problems. There are no symptoms of high LDL cholesterol and the only way to check if you have high
- LDL cholesterol or not is by taking a blood test.
High LDL cholesterol builds up over time, and that is one of the main reasons why it cannot be treated overnight. There is no one stop solution but measures can be taken, and if taken well, they can be considered as good high LDL cholesterol treatments.
The high LDL cholesterol treatments include lifestyle changes and medicines. The changes are made to bring down the amount of LDL cholesterol you have in your blood.
When you begin you high LDL cholesterol treatments, here are the few things that a doctor will check before your treatment begins:
- Whether you smoke cigarette
- The blood pressure (high or low)
- Measurement of your HDL cholesterol
- Family history of heart diseases
These are the risk factors that can contribute to high LDL cholesterol. If the HDL cholesterol is low, then that adds to the risk.
Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (TLC)
This high LDL cholesterol treatment is a program that is divided into three parts that are:
Healthy diet – calories that come from saturated fat are given less importance and made sure that only 7% of calories come from them. Food that helps the digestive system is to be consumed more. This includes whole grain cereals, fruits like bananas, orange, apples, prunes, and pears. Legumes – kidney beans, black-eyed peas, lime beans, etc. A healthy diet with no other unhealthy habits like alcohol, smoking, etc., will help.
Weight management – Obese and overweight people always have more problems to face than people who are thin and fit. Obese people face metabolic syndrome that raises their risk of getting a heart attack, diabetes, and stroke.
Physical activity – Helps with weight management and builds healthy body and mind. But the physical activities need to be consistent for it to be helpful.
People with a moderately high level of LDL cholesterol should start this treatment as well.
Medicines are taken along with the therapeutic lifestyle changes for high LDL cholesterol treatments. These medicines don’t cure high LDL cholesterol, but they help control it and will be helpful only when the therapeutic lifestyle changes are practices continuously and consistently. These medicines are:
Statins – good for lowering LDL cholesterol. Safe medicine with few to no side effects. Side effects are also very rare.
Bile acid sequestrants – Also lower LDL cholesterol but are never prescribed alone, they are prescribed along with statins.
Nicotinic acid – good for lowering LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. Helps increasing HDL cholesterol. A doctor’s supervision is important when this type of medicine is taken.
Ezetimibe – helps to lower LDL cholesterol by stopping the intestine from absorbing cholesterol.
Fibrates – lowers triglycerides and raise HDL cholesterol.