Besides diet, other causes of high cholesterol are lifestyle, gender and the heritage of the individual.
Lifestyle issues and high cholesterol:
When we opt for convenience in eating over nutrition, we are setting ourselves up for problems. Eating fast foods and convenience foods results in eating too many fats and salts, which can raise our bad cholesterol levels. In addition, a more sedentary lifestyle also contributes to unhealthy levels of cholesterol. If you want to see a graphic representation of this, consider renting the documentary movie "Supersize Me". This documentary details the attempts of one man to live on fast foods alone. The results on his cholesterol and body health in just 30 days are truly frightening.
A visit to a nutritionist or dietician can help us all better understand eating for the right reasons and for optimal health. It is never too late to start on this path.
Regular exercise will effectively lower cholesterol and will maintain your body strength to function best. Just 20 minutes of aerobic exercise, including walking, each day will lower cholesterol. Exercise does not have to be a large time or money commitment. Simple activities that get you moving and that you enjoy enough to repeat are almost always adequate.
An important consideration in eating is choosing lower fat.
Buy cooking oils that are unsaturated. Use low fat cooking sprays to replace heavy oils whenever possible. Reduce your overall use of oils even further by using cooking techniques that require little or no oil.
Age and Gender:
Cholesterol levels increase with age. Women generally have a lower level than men from age 50 to 55. Once a woman starts menopause, the cholesterol level starts to increase.
While there is not much that you can do about your age, you can make sure that age does not threaten your heart health by sticking to a healthy lifestyle and diet and by getting your cholesterol levels monitored.
Genetics play a key role in a person's health and this includes the amount of cholesterol you might have.
Find out if your family battles with high levels of cholesterol and then bring this to your doctor's attention right away. If you have a family history of heart disease and high cholesterol levels, work harder and start earlier in adopting a healthy lifestyle and eating plan.
The job of your arteries is to pump blood. The Dorsal Aorta or the main artery branches out into many smaller arteries. Each body system has arteries which are responsible for providing the oxygen rich blood that keeps us alive. Too much cholesterol in the blood - especially bad cholesterol - prevents arteries from working their best. High levels of bad cholesterol may even prevent arteries from functioning at all, since cholesterol can actually lead to blockages in your arteries.
Arteries are constructed of a tough exterior and a soft, smooth interior. Each artery has three specific layers:
The outer layer
The middle (muscular) layer
The inner layer.
Each are made up of epithelial cells. The middle layer is elastic and very strong. It helps pump the body's blood. The inner layer is smooth and allows the blood to flow easily. As the heart beats, the arteries expand and are filled with blood. The heart relaxes and produces enough force to push the blood through. In a healthy person, this system works effectively and the blood can carry oxygen and other essentials throughout the body.
Disease fills the arteries with fatty deposits and this becomes a dangerous obstacle to good health. High cholesterol levels fill arteries with thick substances that prevent your body from working well. Your heart becomes starved of required blood. If this happens often enough you can suffer a heart attack or a stroke.
Consider: Heart disease is one of the leading killers in North America. Lowering your cholesterol levels through a heart-healthy diet and exercise regimen is one of the best ways to prevent heart disease. Why wouldn't you want to take the simple steps necessary to lower your cholesterol and enjoy a better and possibly longer life?
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