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Cholesterol: The Waxy Substance that Blocks Arteries

06/20/17

  05:17:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 382 words,  
Categories: Wellness, Preventive care

Cholesterol: The Waxy Substance that Blocks Arteries

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Imagine pouring candle wax into a straw, letting it dry, and then trying to drink from that straw. Depending on how much candle wax you used, you’d probably agree that you’d be lucky to get a drop of liquid from your cup to your mouth, if any at all. Not to mention, the amount of extra effort it would take! This example is similar to what happens when the body has chronically high cholesterol or, as your doctor may call it, hyperlipidemia.

Cholesterol is a type of fat your body makes. There are two types, HDL (good) and LDL (bad). LDL cholesterol is waxy in texture and can build up in your arteries (much like the wax in the straw), making it hard for blood to circulate throughout your body and adding extra stress on the heart. This can translate into high blood pressure and even blood clots. On the other hand, HDL cholesterol acts as a scavenger, carrying LDL cholesterol away from the arteries.

Hyperlipidemia is nearly unnoticeable at first and left untreated can lead to heart attack, heart disease, and even a stroke. MedBen WellLiving encourages cholesterol checks by your family physician every five years. This test, called a lipoprotein panel, analyzes your blood to gage your HDL, LDL, and triglyceride (another fat found in the blood) levels.

Some causes are unavoidable (age and genetics). However, there are ways to help manage the condition. Diet and exercise are a great place to start. You can read more about diet choices to improve your cholesterol below.

Take a Bite Out of Cholesterol
There’s a lot more cholesterol than you think in these common household foods.

  • Standard mac-and-cheese recipes contains whole milk, butter, and cheese. All are loaded with saturated fats and cholesterol. Try to substitute these ingredients with evaporated milk and low-fat cheese.
  • A cup of ice cream has more cholesterol than 10 glazed doughnuts. Try fresh fruits for dessert instead.
  • Trade in that topped muffin for a low-fat bran muffin made with whole-wheat flour. You’ll gain fiber, too!
  • As bad as garlic may smell, it’s been proven to lower cholesterol levels, short-term.
  • The FDA states that eating a handful (1.5 ounces) of walnuts daily can reduce the risk of heart disease and decrease LDL cholesterol.

SOURCES: WebMD, Everydayhealth.com, American Heart Association

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