Here's What Cholesterol Does To Your Body, Explains Dr Dora

For controlled cholesterol levels, one should follow a healthy and active lifestyle and eat a healthy diet as a regular practice

Dr Santosh Kumar Dora
Written by: Dr Santosh Kumar DoraPublished at: Feb 09, 2020Updated at: Feb 09, 2020
Here's What Cholesterol Does To Your Body, Explains Dr Dora

The risk of cholesterol has become such that young people, middle-aged people and the elderly all need to be alert. It is such a danger that you will not even have news and suddenly get to know how cholesterol has affected your overall health. The important thing to remember is that the body needs cholesterol. Cholesterol is a chemical compound required for cell formation and hormones. When it increases over a permissible limit, only then it starts affecting the body. The risk of heart disease, heart attack and peripheral arterial disease starts to surround those with high cholesterol levels. Dr Santosh Kumar Dora, Senior Cardiologist, Asian Heart Institute, Mumbai tells it all!

Does High Cholesterol Cause Heart Disease?

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Excess of cholesterol leads to vascular disease. Some blood vessels in the body have an affinity to cholesterol deposits, i.e. coronary arteries and carotid arteries. Excess of cholesterol deposit in these arteries can lead to a lack of flow of blood to the affected areas. In the case of coronary arteries, it can lead to angina or myocardial infarction and in the case of carotid arteries, it may lead to transient ischemic attack or stroke. Moreover, high cholesterol itself does not affect heart rate. However, once it affects the heart arteries and leads to heart attack and heart-pumping goes down, then the heart rate tends to remain increased.

Also Read: What To Do Differently In Cases Of Heart Attack and Cardiac Arrest, Explains Dr Santosh Kumar Dora

Is cholesterol a good indicator of heart disease?

Cholesterol is part of the larger equation ( what we call as risk factors ) that includes age, sex, race, other health conditions such as diabetes, blood pressure, smoking or tobacco habit and sedentary lifestyle.

Does high cholesterol mean clogged arteries? 

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When we say that a health ailment should be treated on time, it is noted for a reason. High cholesterol, in the long run, may lead to clogged arteries supplying to heart and brain. So it needs to be treated at the earliest to stop the process.

Also Read: Q&A: Everything That Happens In A Heart Failure, Explains Dr Dora

What Are the Symptoms of High Cholesterol?

Very high cholesterol levels in the blood can happen in familial homozygous hyperlipidemia, which is a rare disorder. LDL cholesterol is often more than 600 mg/dl. There can be lipid deposits in the tendons and around cornea in the eyes in the first decade of life. Patients may suffer angina or heart attack in the first or second decade of life. In the heterozygous variety, lipid deposits in the skin and around cornea are present in the adolescent and adulthood. The LDL cholesterol levels are more than 250 mg/dl.

The symptoms appear mainly because of the deposits of cholesterol in the arteries supplying heart and brain. Angina or heart attack can happen when the coronary arteries are involved. Transient ischemic attack or stroke can happen when carotid arteries are involved.

What Numbers Should I Look For?

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Total cholesterol should be less than 200 mg/dL. LDL cholesterol should be less than 100 mg/dL. HDL cholesterol should be more than 40 mg/dL. The cholesterol is predominantly synthesised by the enzymes present in the liver. Partly it comes from outside food. The genetic profile decides how active are the enzymes. There are drugs to inhibit the enzymatic synthesis process in the body i.e. statins.

Also Read: Cardiac Care And Way Forward: Significant Advancement In Techniques In Diagnoses Of Heart Diseases

How Is High Cholesterol Treated?

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Cholesterol is mainly present in the food of animal origin, i.e. meat, egg yolk etc. Thus cholesterol-rich food items should be avoided. Drugs like statins need to be given to inhibit the synthesis of cholesterol in the body.

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