Red Alert for Men with High Cholesterol
Research reveals that high cholesterol is the second greatest factor triggering heart diseases especially among men world-wide. Compared to women, men are more likely to be overweight, take to smoking, binge eating, drinking and engage in unhealthy lifestyle. Moreover, it has also been observed that they are less likely to visit a doctor and take preventive steps to protect their health. Naturally, their risk of suffering from heart diseases and other lifestyle ailments is quite high.
Few common diseases among men are – high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, colorectal cancer, prostate cancer and COPD – Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Age and high stress levels of modern times can adversely impact our cholesterol level. Men are more prone to high-cholesterol risks than women. Therefore, we find our fathers and grand-fathers can become easy victims of heart-attack and stroke. To check these risks there is a strong need for monitoring their cholesterol level after they reach the age of 50 years. Dr. Sankha Subhra Das, Consultant Interventional Cardiologist – (MD, MRCP, DNB in Cardiology) shared with Future Healthcare his insights about different aspects of cholesterol, its symptoms, causes and preventive measures to create an awareness about the dangers of high cholesterol.
What is Cholesterol?
This is an oily, fat-like substance which partially synthesises inside our liver. When this fat is oxidised it becomes harmful and starts getting deposited in the arteries. Cholesterol can clog our coronary arteries, renal arteries, and other arteries.
How many types of Cholesterol are there?
There are two types of Cholesterol-
- LDL (Low Density Lipoprotein) which is bad cholesterol
- HDL (High Density Lipoprotein) which is good cholesteroll
What causes high Cholesterol?
Since cholesterol is both good and bad, at normal levels it is an essential substance for the body. However, if its concentration in the blood level gets higher, it becomes a silent killer.
Bad cholesterol on the other hand can be triggered by genetic factors, lack of physical exercise, being overweight, diabetic, intake of excess alcohol and smoking.
When is the right time for the preventive screening of high Cholesterol?
At the initial stage, high cholesterol does not trigger any recognisable symptoms. However, if ignored high cholesterol may lead to heart attack or stroke. That is why it is advisable to go for a preventive diagnostic check-up when you detect the following signs:
- Yellow deposit around eyes
- Obesity or over weight
- Chest heaviness or pain
- Hyper tension or high blood pressure
Moreover, smokers and alcoholic should take extra-guard against the risks of high cholesterol, since these addictions trigger bad cholesterol in the body.
What are the risk factors of high Cholesterol?
There again can be two types of risk factors – i) Modifiable ii) Non- Modifiable.
- Modifiable- Factors which are within our control for e.g. smoking, intake of alcohol, overweight, hyper tension, dyslipidemia or lipid disorder and lack of physical exercise.
- Non- Modifiable- Factors which are not within our control for e.g. age (Cholesterol level generally rises with age), genetic history (hereditary circumstances), sex (For women post menopause cholesterol level tends to go on a rise due to lack of estrogens & progesterone).
What is the normal Cholesterol level?
- HDL- Desirably >50
- LDL- Desirably <80
- Triglyceride – Between 150-200
What should be the ideal age and frequency for screening Cholesterol risks?
Cholesterol screening should be done once a year preferably between the age of 25 and 30 years to check modifiable high cholesterol risks or start a timely treatment plan for non-modifiable cholesterol risks.
What are the preventive measures for high Cholesterol?
- Healthy diet
- Healthy weight
- Regular exercise
- No smoking
- No alcohol
Can you suggest some dietary measures we can follow to offset the dangers of high Cholesterol?
- Eat natural food rich in vitamins, minerals and supplements
- Consume fibre rich fruits and vegetables
- Avoid processed and packaged food
- Avoid tinned, packaged fruit juice and soft drinks
- Avoid eating egg yolk
- Avoid oil with higher level of saturated acid for e.g. Dalda
- Avoid prawns and crabs
Dr. Sankha Subhra Das
(MD. MRCP. DNB in Cardiology)
Consultant Interventional Cardiologist