According to the World Health Organization (WHO), high cholesterol is one of the main risk factors for heart disease, including heart attacks and strokes.
Poor diet, obesity, lack of physical activity, smoking and alcohol consumption are considered the main factors that increase the level of “bad” cholesterol in the body, making our lifestyle the one of the main culprits.
Cholesterol is a waxy substance in the blood that helps build healthy cells in the body. Generally, there are two different types of cholesterol: low-density lipoprotein (LDL), which is the “bad” cholesterol, and high-density lipoprotein (HDL), also known as the “good” cholesterol.
However, when there is too much “bad” cholesterol in the blood, it can lead to the formation of fatty plaques or deposits that can prevent or block blood flow to various parts of the body. Sometimes these deposits can suddenly rupture and form a clot that causes a heart attack or stroke.
Although high cholesterol can also be hereditary, it is often the result of an unhealthy lifestyle, which makes it both preventable and treatable. Good nutrition, regular physical activity, and maintaining a healthy weight are some of the ways you can reduce your risk.
In addition to high blood pressure, high cholesterol is also called the “silent killer” because it usually does not show itself in symptoms. These types of illnesses are dangerous and potentially fatal and require careful monitoring.
However, although high cholesterol does not kill you directly if not diagnosed or treated early, it can increase your risk of developing heart disease, which can be fatal.
As already mentioned, high cholesterol levels may not show any signs. However, if left untreated for a long time, it can lead to a condition called atherosclerosis, in which your arteries become clogged with fatty substances called plaque.
This, in turn, can block your arteries and stop blood flow to your legs, relieving another condition called peripheral arterial disease (PAD).
According to the UK’s National Health Service (NHS), PAD can cause a foul odor associated with critical limb ischemia (CLI), an “extremely serious” complication that can be difficult to treat.
CLI refers to severe blockage of arteries in the lower body, which is believed to reduce blood flow. This is a more complex form of PAD and less common than lameness, pain in the legs or arms that occurs when walking or using the arms.
According to the Mayo Clinic, PAD is a common condition in which narrowed arteries reduce blood flow to the arms or legs.
In this condition, the legs and arms are affected, mainly the legs, and people experience pain when walking or using their arms.
PAD is usually a sign of a buildup of fatty deposits in the arteries, also called atherosclerosis.
Although high cholesterol does not usually cause symptoms or signs, it is best to determine your level through a blood test. Depending on your age, weight, and other medical conditions, your doctor may recommend tests and medications.
If your test results show cholesterol levels, start making the necessary lifestyle changes, including eating a healthy diet rich in nutritious fruits and green vegetables. Limit foods high in saturated fat and incorporate regular exercise into your daily routine.
Lifestyle changes, such as healthy eating and exercise, can not only prevent but also treat high cholesterol.
According to the Mayo Clinic, eating heart-healthy foods—that is, a diet low in saturated fat, high in omega-3 fatty acids, and soluble fiber, exercising regularly, not smoking, and losing weight can lower cholesterol levels.
Sometimes changing your lifestyle may not be enough. This is when doctors can recommend medication.
High cholesterol is called the silent killer. High cholesterol levels do not manifest themselves in any way. Therefore, it is very important to do a blood test to check for a slight increase in cholesterol levels.
A slight increase in cholesterol levels can be controlled by changes in lifestyle, eating habits and diet.