Future health problems are a definite if you have high levels of cholesterol in your blood. A high amount of cholesterol can put you at risk for heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. Too much cholesterol inhibits circulation, and can cause high blood pressure, gallstones, impotence, and foggy memory.
However, cholesterol is not the demon everyone makes it out to be. The body, for the proper function of cells, nerves, and hormones requires it. Life without this substance would be impossible, because it is an essential component of every cell. In order for cholesterol to travel through the body, substances called lipoproteins carry it through the blood. One form of lipoproteins is called low-density lipoproteins (LDLs), which transports cholesterol from the liver that produces it to the cells that require it. The other lipoprotein is called high-density lipoproteins (HDLs), which collects the excess cholesterol from the cells and transports it back to the liver, where it is broken down and transported out of the body or reused.
When everything is working the way it's supposed to, the lipoproteins usually keeps cholesterol levels balanced. However, at times this system can go out of whack when the body produces more cholesterol than the HDL can take away. After the cells take what they need, the HDL carries away whatever they can, and the left over cholesterol remains in the blood. As the cholesterol remain stagnant in the blood, it can become oxidized (usually the LDL cholesterol) where it attaches to artery walls causing inflammation. This inflammation leads to further buildup and deposition of cholesterol and plaque on the interior walls of the arteries. This buildup then inhibits the amount of blood that can pass through the arteries by blocking them. This is what we call arteriosclerosis or hardening of the arteries. Arteriosclerosis is the beginning of heart disease. If this is left untreated, it will surely lead to a stroke or a heart attack.
The Western diet plays a big role in elevated cholesterol, which predominantly consists of saturated fats, animal products, and refined carbohydrates. Diseases such as diabetes, insulin resistance, and heredity can also cause high cholesterol. However, diet can also play a role in these cases. This is proof that high cholesterol can be treated with improved diet and exercise. There are also good non-pharmaceutical ways to bring down cholesterol levels. Reducing stress can also be a major benefit. Before you try any cholesterol lowering medication on the market, it is highly recommended that you try natural remedies or strategies. Although these medications lower your cholesterol, they're toxic to your liver, and can cause other health problems as wells as nutritional deficiencies. However, these drugs may be necessary in some cases, but many doctors prescribe them out of custom. There are also doctors that prescribe these drugs to patients that they may not trust to make the lifestyle changes necessary to lower their cholesterol naturally. If you were to be prescribed a cholesterol-lowering drug, let your doctor know that you are willing to make dietary and lifestyle changes to avoid dependency on drugs. Make sure you decide on which path to take with your physician and what's best for you.