Cholesterol Disorders

High Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a fat synthesized by your body and is present in your blood. It is used by your body to build healthy cells, produce hormones, vitamins and bile (to digest fat). Cholesterol is obtained from the food we eat. There are two main types of cholesterol – high-density lipoprotein (HDL), which is good for our bodies, and low-density lipoprotein, which is considered “bad” cholesterol. High levels of LDL is caused by consuming food containing saturated and trans fats, obesity, being inactive, familial history, age and underlying medical conditions. If the amount of cholesterol exceeds a certain limit (above 240 units), it starts accumulating in blood vessels and hinders the flow of blood through them. High cholesterol does not have specific symptoms, and can only be detected through regular blood tests such as fasting cholesterol test, simple cholesterol test and low density cholesterol (LDL) test.

High cholesterol can be treated by making healthy lifestyle changes. The various lifestyle changes include

  • Eating a healthy diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, fish, and high fiber grains and breads
  • Quitting smoking
  • Exercising regularly and walking for at least 30 minutes a day
  • Losing excess weight

If your cholesterol continues to remain high, your doctor may prescribe medications such as statins and cholesterol absorption inhibitors which help to reduce cholesterol accumulation in your body.

Low Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a fat synthesized by your body and is present in your blood. It is used by your body to build healthy cells, produce hormones, vitamins and bile (to digest fat). Cholesterol is obtained from the food we eat. There are two main types of cholesterol – high-density lipoprotein (HDL), which is good for our bodies, and low-density lipoprotein, which is considered “bad” cholesterol. Low levels of HDL (below 140 mg/dL) is termed low cholesterol, which may be caused due to hyperthyroidism (excess thyroid hormone), malnutrition, cancer, liver disease, chronic infections or inflammations, stress, smoking, high sugar diet or consuming processed food.

Low cholesterol can cause impaired memory, increased risk of depression, mental impairment, increased risk of cancer, deficiency of vitamin D, stroke and heart disease. The condition can be diagnosed with blood tests. Sometimes liver function tests and thyroid tests can also be performed to diagnose the cause of low cholesterol. Low cholesterol can be treated by addressing the underlying cause for the condition and making a few lifestyle changes.

It is important to understand that a certain amount of cholesterol is required for your body as cholesterol is utilized by all the cells and tissues in the body.

  • American College of Cardiology Foundation
  • The Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions Foundation
  • American College of Radiology
  • American College of Physicians
  • American College of Chest Physicians
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