High cholesterol is a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. Many sufferers therefore take medication to regulate blood lipid levels. But tablets are not necessary for every patient. We reveal what the blood lipids are and how you can lower your cholesterol levels naturally.
What exactly is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a fat-like substance that performs vital functions for the human body. It is involved in the building of cell walls and hormones and is part of the energy metabolism. The body produces a large part of the cholesterol it needs, the rest is ingested through food. A high-calorie and high-fat diet, a lack of vitamins and too little exercise can lead to an increase in cholesterol in the blood.
The total cholesterol is composed of the so-called HDL and LDL cholesterol. These are called either “good” or “bad” because they have different functions in the body. The “bad” LDL cholesterol (Low Density Lipoprotein) easily adheres to the walls of the vessels and thus favors “calcification” (arteriosclerosis) and vessel damage. The “good” HDL cholesterol (high density lipoprotein), on the other hand, collects excess cholesterol in the blood and transports it to the liver. A low LDL value and a rather high HDL value are therefore desirable.
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Prevention and therapy: Lower cholesterol naturally
Three main factors can be responsible for high cholesterol: diet, obesity and lack of exercise. Everyone can influence these factors themselves and thus specifically contribute to lowering the cholesterol level. Regular monitoring of blood values is essential. In general, if the limit of 200 milligrams of total cholesterol per deciliter in the blood is exceeded, the cholesterol level is too high. However, what the individual risk is must be taken into account. For people with a previous illness, for example, other values apply.
Natural cholesterol lowering and measures that have a positive effect on cholesterol levels are sports and a balanced diet. If the cardiovascular health is improved, the cholesterol level is automatically regulated. Refraining from cigarettes, restricted alcohol consumption and avoiding stress are also important to permanently lower LDL cholesterol.
Lower cholesterol without medication – with physical activity
Instead of taking cholesterol-lowering medication over a long period of time, overweight people in particular should rather adapt their lifestyle. If you lose a few kilograms as a result of exercise or more exercise, you can already lower your cholesterol level to some extent even without tablets. Regular endurance sports increase “good” HDL cholesterol and lower “bad” LDL cholesterol. Sport also has a positive effect on blood pressure and strengthens the heart.
Which sports are suitable?
- to jog
- To go biking
- To dance
Lower blood lipid levels through diet
Changing eating habits can help to lower cholesterol effectively. However, most of the cholesterol is not absorbed through food, but is formed by the liver. This process is genetically predetermined. The influence on the diet is limited in both good and bad: If you ingest 100 milligrams of cholesterol through food, it only increases the cholesterol level in the blood by about two mg / dl. However, a balanced diet is an important factor in naturally lowering the “bad” LDL cholesterol level. Just like normal weight and enough exercise, it is also a good basis for a healthy life.
Fats are not fundamentally bad
It used to be thought that patients with high cholesterol should eat as little fat as possible. This pretty much restricted the choice of food. It is now known that there are certain fats, those affected girls should. These include the saturated fatthat are mainly found in animal foods such as eggs or meat. The mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids, on the other hand, even help to lower the unfavorable blood lipid levels. These are found in some nuts, olive oil or safflower oil, for example.
To reduce high cholesterol, foods with animal fats should be avoided as much as possible. However, the fats from dairy products are not considered unfavorable, as has long been assumed. On the other hand, animal fats from sausages, fast food and hardened fats from processed foods are disadvantageous. A low cholesterol diet includes:
- fresh fruit
- whole grain products
- Nuts, seeds
- Vegetable oils
When are cholesterol lowering necessary?
When to start taking cholesterol-lowering drugs is quite controversial: Scientists warn against premature taking of the tablets, because they are often prescribed without the need for the patient. Instead, you should first consider natural methods such as changing your diet or exercising.
Increased cholesterol levels can be dangerous for patients who belong to the risk group for cardiovascular diseases, for example smokers, diabetics, overweight people or people with family history. In patients with multiple risk factors, the high cholesterol level in the worst case could lead to a stroke or heart attack, which is why it can make sense to take cholesterol-lowering drugs.
Even if you have already suffered from coronary artery disease or a stroke, or you have circulatory problems in the area of the brain or leg as well as a closure in the leg, taking cholesterol-lowering tablets in consultation with your family doctor is advisable so that the cholesterol level is normalized again.
What cholesterol tablets are there?
The most common tablets that are prescribed for high cholesterol levels contain the drug “statin”. Statins are so-called cholesterol synthesis enzyme inhibitors (CSE inhibitors) and have the task of inhibiting the body’s own cholesterol, which is produced in the liver. In addition, statins not only lower the LDL level, they also significantly reduce the risk of heart attack and cardiac death. Because the progress of hardening of the arteries (arteriosclerosis) is slowed down.
Medicines approved in Germany that contain statin are:
It is recommended to take the tablets in the evening to achieve a greater effect. Therapy with statins can help reduce the risk of life-threatening circulatory disorders in the heart and brain. Statins also minimize the likelihood of relapse if you’ve already had a cardiovascular disease such as a heart attack.
What are the side effects of statins?
Statins are considered the drug of choice to lower LDL levels in the blood and at the same time the risk of cardiovascular diseases. But in some patients, they also trigger side effects. Muscle pain is often reported. But it can also lead to liver problems and, at worst, kidney failure. Another possible side effect is the cataract eye disease, in which lens clouding occurs.
What are the alternatives?
The active substance ezetimibe is an option if patients cannot tolerate statins. It is said to lower bad LDL cholesterol by around 20 percent and is often well tolerated, according to several studies. However, studies have clearly shown that atherosclerosis progresses when patients only take ezetimibe. These medications are also prescribed by the doctor in combination with a low dose of statins, because some patients tolerate this better and ezetimibe increases the effects of the statins.
Cholesterol-lowering tablets only in consultation with the doctor
Before taking cholesterol-lowering medication, you should definitely consult a doctor. After a careful examination, he can advise you individually whether you are considering therapy with cholesterol-lowering tablets and, if so, which you should choose.