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Everything You Need to Know About High Cholesterol

Everything You Need to Know About High Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a waxy substance in your blood that helps cells and organs work well. It also plays a role in maintaining healthy body weight

May 17th, 2023

Cholesterol is a waxy substance in your blood that helps cells and organs work well. It also plays a role in maintaining healthy body weight, balancing hormones, and making vitamin D.

When you have high cholesterol, it can increase your risk of several health problems. The most common is coronary artery disease (CAD). This condition happens when plaque builds up in the arteries that carry blood to your heart, restricting their ability to carry enough blood.

The main types of cholesterol are high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL). HDL is good for your health, while LDL is unhealthful.

Your diet and lifestyle can have an impact on your cholesterol levels. For instance, unhealthy eating habits and lack of physical activity can raise your LDL and lower your HDL.

If you want to know more about high cholesterol, continue reading.

What Is High Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in your blood. When the amount of cholesterol in your blood increases, it can lead to a medical condition called high cholesterol.

You can find out how much cholesterol is in your blood with a simple test called a lipid panel. Your doctor will take a sample of your blood and send it to a lab for analysis.

Getting your cholesterol tested is the best way to find out if you have high cholesterol and start a plan for lowering it. Moreover, your healthcare provider will take your medical, family, and lifestyle factors into account to help you figure out the best treatment for you.

Types of Cholesterol

There are two types of cholesterol in the blood: low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL).

Good Cholesterol

HDL cholesterol is known as good cholesterol. This type of cholesterol is good for your health. It carries excess LDL (bad) cholesterol back to the liver, where it is broken down and removed from the bloodstream.

Bad Cholesterol

LDL is the bad cholesterol in your blood. It can cause plaque to build up in arteries, which can narrow arteries and block the flow of blood. If you have high LDL cholesterol, your doctor may recommend a diet and exercise plan to reduce it and improve your health.

Causes of High Cholesterol

When your cholesterol levels are high, it can cause plaque to build up on the walls of your arteries. This can also narrow your arteries and increase your risk of heart disease and strokes. Here are some common causes of high cholesterol.

Smoking And Tobacco Use

One of the main reasons people get high cholesterol is because they smoke or use tobacco. Smoking and smoking-related substances cause inflammation in the arteries, which can lead to plaque build-up that makes it harder for your heart to pump blood. It also raises your low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels and lowers your high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels.

Being Under A Lot Of Stress

Having a lot of stress can increase the amount of cholesterol in your body. This can lead to heart disease or stroke. When you're under stress, your body releases hormones that raise triglyceride levels and encourage LDL (bad) cholesterol to build up in your arteries.

Drinking Alcohol

If you drink alcohol, it can affect your cholesterol levels and your risk of heart disease. Depending on how much you drink, your level of triglycerides may be higher, and your HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol may be lower.


Eating a diet high in foods that contain unhealthy fats (such as saturated and trans-fats) can raise cholesterol levels. Foods that are low in saturated and trans fats and high in dietary fiber can help reduce the amount of bad cholesterol in the blood. They include vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, and nuts. Read more about the foods that help you to lower your cholesterol.

How Does High Cholesterol Affect Your Body?

Cholesterol is a waxy substance that your body needs to keep its cells, hormones, and other parts of the body healthy. However, too much cholesterol can lead to various health problems. Here is how high cholesterol affects your body.

Coronary Artery Disease

Coronary artery disease affects the arteries that supply blood to your heart. CAD can lead to a heart attack or heart failure. It starts when plaque, made of cholesterol, waste products, calcium, and fibrin, builds up in your coronary arteries. The plaque can also narrow the arteries, making it harder for your heart to get enough oxygen and nutrient-rich blood.

Carotid Artery Disease

The carotid arteries transport blood to your brain. This oxygen-rich blood helps your brain work properly, so a lack of blood flow can cause problems. If the arteries become narrowed or a piece of plaque breaks off, it can block blood flow to the brain. This can also lead to a stroke. High cholesterol levels are also a risk factor for carotid artery disease.

Peripheral Artery Disease

High cholesterol and high blood pressure increase the risk of developing peripheral artery disease. Moreover, this is a condition in which plaques of fat, cholesterol, and other substances build up in the arteries that carry oxygen-rich blood to your legs and arms.

How to Improve Your Cholesterol Levels?

If you want to improve your cholesterol levels, there are several ways to do so. Here are some of the best tips you can follow.

Eat A Heart-Healthy Diet

A heart-healthy eating plan can help lower your cholesterol by reducing the amount of saturated and trans fats you eat. This includes eating a variety of foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and fish. It also emphasizes limiting red and processed meat, sodium (salt), and sugar-sweetened foods and beverages.

Increase Your Intake Of Soluble Fiber

Foods with a lot of soluble fiber, like oatmeal, barley, pears, prunes, and apples, help reduce the absorption of cholesterol into your bloodstream. They also contain pectin, a type of soluble fiber that helps lower LDL cholesterol.

Eat More Fish

Salmon, sardines, and other wild-caught fish are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which help prevent inflammation and may reduce your risk for heart disease. Moreover, you should eat fish two to four times a week.

Get More Physical Activity

Regular and consistent exercise can lower your cholesterol and triglycerides. It can also build your strength and endurance, reduce your stress and improve your overall health.

Keep Up With Your Doctor

Your primary care provider is a good resource for information about how to improve your cholesterol and other health topics. They can recommend a medication that will work best for you and help you make lifestyle changes to support it.


There are two types of cholesterol in the blood: HDL and LDL. The good news is that these are natural substances that your body uses for various functions. The bad news is that too much cholesterol in the blood can also lead to plaque build-up in arteries. Plaque causes atherosclerosis, a condition that reduces or blocks blood flow to your heart, brain, or legs. High blood cholesterol also increases your risk of coronary artery disease, heart attack, and stroke. The only way to find out if you have high cholesterol is by having a blood test. However, it's a very simple test that measures your total cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Laura Bartlett

Laura Bartlett

Northern girl Laura is the epitome of a true entrepreneur. Laura’s spirit for adventure and passion for people blaze through House of Coco. She founded House of Coco in 2014 and has grown it in to an internationally recognised brand whilst having a lot of fun along the way. Travel is in her DNA and she is a true visionary and a global citizen.