Proper blood cholesterol is one of the indicators of good health. All adults should regularly check the levels of triglycerides and individual cholesterol fractions (total cholesterol, HDL and LDL) in the blood. This is called a lipidogram or lipid profile. If its result turns out to be different than a safe norm, it will be a clear signal to change your lifestyle to a healthier one. Over many years of observation, it has been established that high cholesterol is directly associated with a high risk of heart and cardiovascular disease. The sooner steps are taken to lower it, the greater the chance of avoiding life-threatening consequences.
A small venous blood sample is required to perform the lipidogram. For the result to be reliable, the test should be fasted (at least 8 hours after the last meal), and a few days before it is advisable to use a low-fat diet. Usually, one day is waiting for the result.
It is the age that decides how often one should be tested. Between 20 and 29 years of age, it is enough to test your cholesterol level every five years, between 30 and 39 years old – once every three years, and between 40 and 49 years old – once every two years. The exception is women taking hormonal contraceptives because these drugs have a negative effect on the lipid profile. They should be examined at least once a year. It is also recommended that men over the age of 50 control their cholesterol levels once a year, and women over the age of 50 – once every two years.
Good HDL and bad LDL cholesterol
HDL cholesterol is also sometimes called good cholesterol and LDL – bad cholesterol. The tendency to high cholesterol can go from generation to generation, which is why people whose parents, grandparents or siblings struggled with this problem should pay more attention to themselves. Another important cause of this ailment is overweight, so sometimes a way to reduce cholesterol can be to lose unnecessary kilograms, combined with regular physical activity. It should also be remembered that the most cholesterol provides an incorrect diet, rich in animal fats, processed trans fats and sugars. Their restriction on the daily menu will certainly have a positive impact on our health.
How to deal with an increased cholesterol level
Cholesterol has been known to science since the end of the 17th century, but it was not until the 20th century that its role in the body and its importance for health was established. In 1976, the medical community hypothesized the direct effect of triglyceride and cholesterol levels on the increased risk of heart and cardiovascular disease. This hypothesis was confirmed relatively quickly, so work on preventing and treating high cholesterol was started just as quickly.
Weight reduction, changing a more active lifestyle and removing all sources of excess cholesterol from your diet are three ways that lower your blood levels. After receiving the test result, it is worth asking for a doctor’s consultation who will help you decide which of the actions is worth taking. If the lipidogram result indicates that your cholesterol level has been significantly exceeded, you may need to use lipid-lowering medicines. Their administration is also decided by the doctor, especially if the introduced changes in diet and physical activity did not bring the expected results.
Drugs that lower blood cholesterol have been known since the 1950s, and the first of these was vitamin PP. In the next decade, research was undertaken into plants that may affect its concentration. One of them was an artichoke. For centuries it was known that this is a plant with undoubted culinary qualities. She appeared on the pages of cookbooks of the ancient Romans, to finally enter the Mediterranean cuisine permanently. Chemicals found in artichoke herb have a positive effect on maintaining proper blood lipid levels.