It is only when people get older that they realize the way that they abused their bodies really does affect their health. They suddenly start considering, among other things, cholesterol levels. These numbers, along with weight and blood pressure, become very important, if they are going to continue a healthy life. But a lot of people ask what is cholesterol, and what harm does it do?
They suddenly realize that their life spent consuming alcohol and fatty foods has got to be put in check. Controlling cholesterol levels is extremely important, if they want to keep healthy, and their body working as it should. If they have high levels of cholesterol, you are very liable to suffer a heart attack.
But worrying about cholesterol is not just for the elderly. If you start considering it while you are young, it will be less of a problem when trying to live a healthy life. So it is very important that you understand the basics of cholesterol, and why a healthy cholesterol level is important. There are two kinds of cholesterol, LDL, bad cholesterol, and HDL, good cholesterol.
So what is the difference between good and bad cholesterol? Well both kinds of cholesterol are transported around the body by lipoproteins. But low density lipoproteins allow cholesterol to accumulate within the bloodstream. But if the lipoprotein level is too high the cholesterol will start building up on the artery walls. The plaque formed causes the arteries to harden and become inflexible. This makes you susceptible to clots, and these cause heart attacks and strokes.
There are quite a few kinds of medication that you can have to help you combat high cholesterol levels. But before you start on medication, your doctor will probably prescribe more exercise and a healthier diet, especially one that excludes alcohol. If this does not work, then medication will have to be used. The medicine prescribed will aim to lower the quantity of LDL present in your bloodstream, and help remove the buildup and any blockages that have occurred.
If the non invasive methods do not work, then invasive surgery will have to be used. Actual procedures may vary, but the most commonly used is angioplasty. This is where a device is implanted in your artery, and then moved to where the blockage is located. A tiny balloon is then inflated to open up the blockage and let the blood flow. Though this is invasive surgery, it is very likely that the patient will be allowed to go home that same day.
The only way that you can find out what your levels are, is to have the cholesterol level in your blood tested. This is normally performed every five years, but if you are deemed at high risk, it might be more often than that. It is used to measure not only the total cholesterol level, but the individual HDL and LDL levels as well. The only inconvenience you will feel with this test is that you have to fast for 12 hours before the blood is taken.
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