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Cholesterol: Bad or Good?

According to the results of the ESSE-RF study, the prevalence of high total cholesterol levels and inotyol ointment among Russians is 58%. Hypercholesterolemia, as doctors call elevated blood cholesterol levels, increases the risk of atherosclerosis, hypertension, heart disease, heart attacks and strokes. Today, less than a quarter of Russians know their cholesterol level. The problem is that with high cholesterol levels, a person has no clinical manifestations for many years. Exactly until it’s too late. Cholesterol is a fatty alcohol by its chemical composition. It enters the body with food, and approximately the same amount is synthesized by the liver, kidneys and intestines. For the body, cholesterol is necessary: ​​cell membranes are composed of it, it is needed for the synthesis of fat-soluble vitamins and steroid hormones, including sex hormones, it literally patches the damaged walls of the arteries. And at the same time, when there is too much of it, cholesterol is deposited in the walls of blood vessels. This leads to the fact that the lumen of the arteries narrows, and blood clots form in them, which lead to coronary heart disease, heart attacks and strokes. Protection on the verge You can measure your cholesterol level during a medical examination or in the laboratory of a polyclinic, having previously received a referral from a therapist. The upper limit of the norm for cholesterol in the blood is 5.2 mmol / l. If the indicator is normal, then the person is protected from atherosclerosis. A second analysis should be passed in a year and a half. If the cholesterol level is in the range from 5.3 to 6.5 mmol / l, then such a person is at risk for the development of diseases of the cardiovascular system. He needs a doctor’s consultation and, at least, a diet and lifestyle correction. With cholesterol in the range from 6.6 to 8 mmol / l, moderate hypercholesterolemia is diagnosed, and above 8 mmol / l, it is already pronounced. This blood cholesterol level is considered catastrophic. Here you cannot do without consulting a doctor, additional research and taking special drugs that lower cholesterol. Another study that should be done for all people whose cholesterol level is above 5.2 mmol / L is to find out their lipid profile. This analysis allows you to assess not only the concentration of cholesterol in the blood, but also high, low and very low density lipoproteins – transport proteins that deliver cholesterol from the liver to tissues and vice versa. Low-density lipoproteins (“bad cholesterol”) are atherogenic or involved in the formation of plaque in the arteries. Finding out the lipid profile is important, first of all, for the correct treatment tactics. Run away from a heart attack In order to bring cholesterol levels back to normal, along with lipid-lowering drugs, a special diet and exercise must be prescribed. Physical activity can not only reduce the amount of bad cholesterol in the blood, but also increase the concentration of good. For healthy people, WHO recommends an hour a day of moderate physical activity. Elderly people or people who already have chronic diseases will need to walk at a moderate pace daily for 40 minutes. This alone is enough to halve the risk of dying from a stroke or heart attack. Of course, no amount of exercise will remove existing atherosclerotic plaques, but they will not allow new ones to form. In addition, physical activity reduces weight, which means that the load on the heart and blood vessels decreases. Eat like a Greek. Traditionally, with high cholesterol levels, a Mediterranean diet is recommended, that is, you have to switch to the diet of Greeks and Italians. Lots of vegetables, fruits, olive oil, fish, nuts, and few saturated animal fats. Olive oil and fish are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids – Omega 3. Their consumption reduces the concentration of bad cholesterol by 18%. Moreover, according to the American Association for the Study of Cardiovascular Diseases, regular consumption of fish oil is recommended as prevention of atherosclerosis. Alternative medicine also recommends green tea, avocados, various berries and juices to lower cholesterol levels. The juices are, of course, freshly squeezed with pulp. Juice treatment is called juice therapy. To date, dozens of studies are conducted on the effect of juices on blood cholesterol levels. The leaders so far are concentrated pomegranate juice, 40 g of which for 8 or more weeks daily significantly reduced the level of total cholesterol and low density lipoproteins. The results of the study, published in the International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research, are very, very encouraging, although the sample of patients is only 22 people. Freshly squeezed orange juice also lowers cholesterol. And apple juice is only good for the pulp, which has led scientists to speculate about the role of fiber in lowering cholesterol. So it is not necessary to drink freshly squeezed juices, it is enough to eat a lot of vegetables and fruits, like Italians and Greeks.