High blood cholesterol can accumulate in the arteries. Too much of the waxy substance can reduce blood flow to vital organs. And it can prevent oxygen from reaching the brain.
Produced in the liver, and found in the foods you eat, cholesterol circulates throughout the body in the bloodstream.
It does this by attaching to proteins – the combination of cholesterol and protein is called a lipoprotein.
There is low-density lipoprotein (LDL), otherwise known as “bad cholesterol”, which builds up in the artery walls.
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Then there’s high-density lipoprotein where excess cholesterol is picked up and taken to the liver.
One body shape more vulnerable to LDL cholesterol, as pointed out by the Mayo Clinic, is on the larger side.
Anybody with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or above is considered obese.
The NHS BMI healthy weight calculator works out your BMI for you – all you need to do is enter your height and weight.
An obese body shape is caused by consuming more calories than you burn off during exercise.
The NHS confirmed: “Being obese can increase your risk of developing high cholesterol and atherosclerosis.”
Atherosclerosis is when the fatty deposits of cholesterol build up inside the artery walls.
The fatty deposits thicken and harden over time, causing the arteries to become narrow.
Narrowed arteries restrict the amount of blood flow that can reach tissues and organs around the body.
It can also lead to high blood pressure as the heart has to work extra hard to pump blood around the body.
Mayo Clinic points out other risk factors for developing high blood cholesterol.
This includes having a poor diet full of red meat and full-fat dairy products.
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Additionally, sitting on your bum all day and evening will not do your health justice.
Exercise helps to boost the body’s natural HDL “good” cholesterol, meaning less cholesterol is stuck in the arteries.
And it’ll help with lowering your BMI – it’s a win-win solution.
Moreover, as the body’s chemistry changes as you get older, the risk of high cholesterol increases.
To counteract these rites of passage (ageing), make sure you’re a non-smoker.
Cigarette smoke damages the walls of the arteries, making them more prone to damage from cholesterol deposits.
Weakened artery walls can rupture, causing a blood clot to occur, which can completely restrict blood flow.
This can lead to serious consequences, such as a heart attack or stroke.
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