3.1.2. High Blood Pressure
3.1.4. Chest Pain
4.3.1. How to do Stepping Workouts
4.3.2. How to Perform Chair Exercises
4.4. Stop Smoking
6. Manage Your Cholesterol Levels
Cholesterol, a fat-like substance, has been linked to a number of health problems like high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, atherosclerosis, and stroke. Doctors and health researchers alike have advocated for a change in lifestyle to lower cholesterol levels. But, is cholesterol bad or is it a misunderstood compound? Let’s find out.
Cholesterol is an organic fatty substance which forms the structural component of the cell membranes. It is abundant in brain tissues and nerves and only occurs in foods of animal origins.
The liver produces 75% of total cholesterol, and as such, it is not needed in your diet--although most of the foods in our diets like eggs contain dietary cholesterol.
Cholesterol composes 30% of the cell membrane and is required to build and maintain membrane viscosity. It is also a precursor of some important hormones like cortisol, aldosterone, testosterone, and estrogen. Cholesterol is used in the synthesis of vitamin A.
Cholesterol production increases with age, and it is crucial to check cholesterol levels every four to five years. The goal is to achieve total cholesterol levels of less than 200 milligrams per deciliter.
A reading between 200 and 239 mg/dL will be classified as borderline, whereas a reading of 240 or above is considered high cholesterol. High cholesterol levels can lead to a range of problematic health conditions, which we will discuss below.
High cholesterol or hypercholesterolemia is caused by a combination of factors. See all of the most common below to learn how to maintain an healthy lifestyle.
Genetic factors have been linked to high blood cholesterol. If your family has a history of heart attacks or high cholesterol, you may be at an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases.
A diet high in saturated fats is the most common cause of high cholesterol in adults. Red meat like beef, lamb, and pork, high fat dairy products, as well as certain vegetable oils like coconut all lead to increased cholesterol levels. Maintaining a range of cholesterol means carefully monitoring your consumption of all these foods.
High cholesterol levels can also be a side effect of certain medications like anticonvulsants, immunosuppressives, antipsychotics, and Human Immunodeficiency Virus Therapy.
A variety of factors can increase the risk of high blood cholesterol. See how many of the following apply to you:
High blood cholesterol is asymptomatic and can only be detected using a blood test. The best way to monitor cholesterol levels is by having regular checkups.
Hypercholesterolemia is a progressive disease and causes a range of health problems. See all of the most common below.
Atherosclerosis, narrowing of the arterial walls, is caused by plaque build-up in the endothelium. It is a progressive disease, and may take time to show symptoms. Atherosclerosis manifests differently--sometimes, the plaques stop growing and do not cause any harm to the body.
Atherosclerosis symptoms differ based on the type of artery affected, but they can include
Hypertension occurs when the pressure of pumping blood is continuously high. Atherosclerosis increases the risk of high blood pressure because of the narrowing of the arteries. Some of the symptoms include dizziness, vomiting, nausea, headaches, blurred vision, breathlessness, and irregular heartbeats.
Keep a blood pressure monitor handy to stay on top of all your relevant readings. ( See Product )
Hypertension is measured using a sphygmometer. However, you can easily monitor the levels at home with the blood pressure monitoring devices.
A stroke usually happens when there is an interruption of blood supply to the brain, and it can either be an ischemic stroke (occurs when the artery is blocked) or hemorrhage stroke caused by bursting of the blood vessels.
A stroke is a medical emergency, and it’s crucial to monitor the symptoms like confusion, paralysis on face and limbs, blurred or blackened vision, headaches, sudden dizziness, loss of balance, and coordination.
Ischemia, a narrowing of the coronary artery, can cause a low supply of oxygen-rich blood in the heart muscles. The pain or discomfort occurs in the chest, but also the shoulders, arms, jaws, neck, and back, and can at times feel like indigestion.
One of the telltale signs of Ischemia is an irregular heartbeat. Listen for yourself with a stethoscope for home use.
A lifestyle change is the best remedy, but you may need a combination of treatments to lower cholesterol.
Medications like statins, bile-binding resins, cholesterol absorption inhibitors, can be prescribed to lower cholesterol. These medicines bind bile production causing the liver to draw cholesterol from the blood. You may also use fibrates, niacin or omega-3 supplements to lower triglycerides.
The best defense against hypercholesterolemia is a healthy diet. Your diet should be rich in vegetables, fish, monounsaturated fats from olive oil or canola. Avoid trans fats from baked cookies or crackers. Monitor your health closely with an accurate digital scale.
Make an effort to increase Omega-3 fatty acid intake. Omega-3, polyunsaturated fats, are found in fish and plant products as well as supplements. This fatty acids help to lower triglyceride levels.
A pedal exercise is one of the best ways to get started with a regular workotu routine ( See Product )
Research indicates that exercise increases HDL particles in the blood which lowers cholesterol and triglycerides. Aerobic exercises and resistance training are known to lower LDL levels.
A great place to start working out is with walking, swimming, cycling or stepping workouts. These aerobic steps can be performed anywhere at any time, and all you need is a mini stepper. A pedal exerciser is another simple way to improve cardiovascular health while sitting at your desk or couch.
Chair exercises are a great alternative for seniors with low body strength or those recovering from surgery. The exercises are versatile and help promote blood circulation.
The American Heart Association recommends 40 minutes of aerobics four times a week or 75 minutes of vigorous exercises per week.
Smoking increases LDL, clogs arteries, thickens blood, increase clotting, causes weak bones and weakens the immune system.
Hypercholesterolemia recovery time will depend on several factors--the severity of plaque build-up, genetic tendencies, aggressiveness of the treatment and the blood cholesterol levels.
It is crucial to monitor your response to the cholesterol-lowering medication to see if they are working or not.
Prevention of hypercholesterolemia is far better than cure, and the best place to start is with a change of diet and general lifestyle. It is also prudent to invest in cholesterol testing kits which are readily available at your local pharmacy. Most of these test kits only measure the total cholesterol, HDL, and triglycerides. The LDL-C can’t be measured but can be calculated using total cholesterol, HDL and triglycerides figures.