All forms of cholesterol have certain responsibilities. The amount of cholesterol present should therefore be neither too high, nor too low. In order to determine how much cholesterol is present in the body, a cholesterol level measuring HDL and LDL levels is checked. The concentration of cholesterol in the blood is reported in either mg/dl (milligrams per deciliter) or mmol/dl (millimoles per deciliter).
Normal cholesterol levels:
If risk factors for cardiovascular disease are already present, such as smoking, High Blood Pressure, Diabetes or vascular disease, the cholesterol level should be maintained at varying values.
An elevated cholesterol level can be due to an inherited genetic defect. In this case, receptors on the cells are missing, which are normally responsible for binding cholesterol, making cholesterol uptake into the cell possible. Therefore, the cholesterol level remains persistently elevated. High cholesterol is, however, most often due to an unhealthy lifestyle including lack of physical activity, obesity, poor nutrition or smoking.
Other diseases such as Hypothyroidism, reduced kidney function or liver disease can also lead to an elevated cholesterol level.
In addition, medications taken regularly (such as those taken for chronic diseases) can have a negative impact on the cholesterol level.
Too much stress over an extended period of time can also contribute to elevated cholesterol. When stressed, the body releases hormones (Adrenaline and Cortisol), which in turn cause the release of free fatty acids and triglycerides, causing an elevation in cholesterol. An additional possibility is that, in stressful situations, the body cannot remove enough Cholesterol and an inflammatory process stimulates cholesterol release.
An elevated cholesterol level can strongly affect ones health. It is therefore important to monitor your cholesterol level in order to prevent vascular calcifications and cardiovascular disease. Proper nutrition can help steer your cholesterol level in the right direction, and can even often bring it back under control.
Read more on our Heart Tips page.