cholesterol (ko-LES-ter-ol) in the blood, or high blood cholesterol, can be
serious. People with high blood cholesterol have a greater chance of getting
heart disease. High blood cholesterol itself does not cause symptoms, so many
people are unaware that their cholesterol level is too high.
What Is Cholesterol?
To understand high blood cholesterol, it is important to know more about
Cholesterol is a waxy,
fat-like substance that is found in all cells of the body. Your body needs
some cholesterol to work the right way and makes all the cholesterol you need.
Cholesterol is also found
in some of the foods you eat.
You use cholesterol to
make hormones, Vitamin D, and substances that help you digest foods.
watery and cholesterol is fatty. Just like oil and water, the two do not mix.
So, in order to travel in the bloodstream, cholesterol is carried in small
packages called lipoproteins (lip-o-PRO-teens). The small packages are made of
fat (lipid) on the inside and proteins on the outside. Two kinds of lipoproteins
carry cholesterol throughout your body. It is important to have healthy levels
What Is High
Too much cholesterol in your blood can build up in the walls of your arteries
(blood vessels that carry blood from the heart to other parts of the body). This
buildup of cholesterol is called plaque (PLACK). Over time, plaque can cause
narrowing of the arteries. This is called atherosclerosis (ath-er-o-skler-O-sis)
or "hardening of the arteries."
Special arteries, called coronary arteries, bring blood to the heart. Narrowing
of your coronary arteries due to plaque can stop or slow down the flow of blood
to your heart. When the arteries narrow, the amount of oxygen-carrying blood is
decreased. This is called coronary artery disease (CAD). Large plaque areas can
lead to chest pain called angina. Angina happens when the heart does not receive
enough blood and the oxygen it carries. Angina is a common sign of CAD.
Some plaques have a thin covering and burst (rupture), releasing fat and
cholesterol into the bloodstream. The release of fat and cholesterol may cause
your blood to clot. A clot can block the flow of blood. This blockage can cause
angina or a heart attack.
Lowering your cholesterol level decreases your chance for having a plaque burst
and cause a heart attack. Lowering cholesterol may also slow down, reduce, or
even stop plaque from building up.
Plaque and resulting health problems can also occur in arteries elsewhere in the
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Nutritional and Herbal Therapy for High
Increase you intake of fiber-rich foods
such as oatmeal, wholegrains, fruits, vegetables and legumes (beans,
Soy products help lower cholesterol levels
due to their isoflavone content.
Include garlic, onions, avocados, salmon,
almonds and walnuts in your diet.
Omega-3 oils such as flax seed oil and
fish oil helps lower cholesterol.
Copper and chromium are minerals that have
been shown to lower cholesterol levels.
The herb, Shan Zha, otherwise known
as Hawthorn berry, can help lower bad cholesterol.