According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 1/3 of ischemic heart disease is linked to high cholesterol. High cholesterol is estimated to cause 2.6 million deaths and 29.7 million Disability-adjusted Life Years (DALYs). High cholesterol is a serious condition that can take a toll on your health. Raising awareness in the UAE is the first step to fighting this condition. Simple things like doing a blood test once in a while can help save your life. Although high cholesterol lab results can be scary, they provide you with crucial information to care for your health.
Cholesterol is a type of blood fat or a waxy substance found in your blood that helps to create healthy cells. Although you need some cholesterol in your blood to maintain your health, too much can be detrimental to your health and cause problems like strokes and heart attacks in the future.
High cholesterol can affect anyone regardless of your size even if you’re slim, young, eat healthy, and exercise. It can be caused by various factors like unhealthy lifestyle or genetics. High cholesterol is common, and most people don't realize they have it because it has no symptoms. This is why it’s vital to have your cholesterol checked.
High cholesterol is an indication that you have too much cholesterol in your blood. Over time, this can block your blood vessels and cause serious problems. Excess cholesterol lines your arteries; this forms plaque which hardens over time and causes atherosclerosis.
Narrowed arteries make it hard for blood flow which forces your heart to work harder, and this can cause heart attacks. Blood clots can also form over the fat deposits in your arteries and can completely block them. These blood clots can break away and get lodged in a vein or artery that can cause a stroke or heart attack.
Although cholesterol is important for various functions, too much can be a cause for concern. Healthy lifestyle choices can help you lower high cholesterol. These choices include;
Unlike saturated fats, unsaturated fats have one more double chemical bond that alters how your body utilizes them. Monosaturated fats have a single double bond. If you have any concerns about your cholesterol, you should consult the best endocrinologist Dubai experts for diagnosis, treatment, and advice. Most physicians recommend a diet high in monosaturated fats to lower ‘bad’ cholesterol and increase ‘good’ cholesterol.
Monosaturated fats are also beneficial for reducing the oxidation of cholesterol. Oxidized cholesterol is harmful to your health because it reacts with free radicals to cause clogged arteries which can lead to heart disease. Examples of good sources of monosaturated fats include, avocados, olive oil, olives, nut butters, nuts, etc.
Trans fats are hydrogenated unsaturated fats which make vegetable oils more stable. This process results in partially saturated trans fats called partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs). These fats are solid at room temperature.
Your body handles partially hydrogenated trans fats by converting them into ‘bad’ cholesterol. Foods that contain trans fats include, some pizzas, fried fast foods, margarine and shortening, non-dairy coffee creamer, some microwavable pop-corn, and pastries and other baked goods.
Exercise is beneficial in many ways for your physical and heart health. If you have high cholesterol, your doctor might recommend exercise. Apart from having a healthy diet, exercising is one of the best ways to bring down high cholesterol. Exercising helps increase the levels of ‘good’ cholesterol.
Exercise can change the nature of your cholesterol. It is crucial in lowering your cholesterol numbers if you’re overweight. Simple exercises like cycling, walking, and jogging while eating a healthy diet can lower your cholesterol. Any exercise is beneficial if you do it more often; you can choose whichever’s best for you based on your overall health. It is crucial to exercise for at least 30 minutes daily for faster results.
Soluble fiber is a classification of various compounds in plants that dissolve in water and that your body cannot digest. However, the bacteria in your intestines can digest this fiber and they require soluble fiber for their nutrition. These bacteria are also known as probiotics and they help to reduce ‘bad’ cholesterol levels. According to a study conducted in 2014, consuming whole grains rich in fiber promoted healthier lipoprotein profiles. Some sources of soluble fiber include flaxseeds, peas, fruits, oat cereals, Brussels sprouts, beans, and lentils.
Polyunsaturated fats like omega-3 are beneficial because they have multiple double bonds that make them react differently from saturated fats. Polyunsaturated fats reduce bad cholesterol and reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. They might also reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial for your heart and are found in fish oil supplements and seafood. Omega-3 fatty acids occur in high amounts in fatty fish like mackerel, salmon, shellfish (to a lesser degree), and deep-sea tuna. Other good sources of omega-3 fatty oils include tree nuts (but not peanuts) and seeds.
Being obese or having excess weight can heighten your risk of developing high cholesterol levels. Losing weight decreases your cholesterol levels. Weight loss is beneficial in increasing ‘good’ cholesterol and reducing ‘bad’ cholesterol. It is crucial to work with a professional to curate a weight loss plan depending on your overall health and age.
Smoking is harmful for your heart by changing how your body utilizes cholesterol. Smoking makes the immune cells unable to transport cholesterol from the vessel walls to the liver. This damage is linked to tar and not nicotine. The dysfunctional immune cells can escalate the clogging of the arteries. Cigarettes contain acrolein, a toxin that’s absorbed in the bloodstream through your lungs. Acrolein affects how body transports cholesterol by increasing ‘bad’ cholesterol.
Although cholesterol is beneficial to your body, too much can clog your arteries and cause cardiovascular disease. ‘Bad’ cholesterol is easily damaged by free radicals which leads to heart disease. It is crucial to consult an expert like the best endocrinologist Dubai clinics to check and manage your cholesterol.
Mediclinic Dubai Mall Medical Centre Br Mediclinic Clinics LLC
Dubai Mall, Borj Dubai
Dr. Fatma Almarashi Advanced Center For Endocrinology
Unit 4009, Al Razi Building, Block C, 13th Street, Dubai HealthCare City, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Cosmesurge Clinics LLC Branch
Al Sufouh Road, Dubai Marina & Jumeira Beach