LDL cholesterol or bad cholesterol: causes, normal values ​​and how to lower it

There is no doubt that the levels of high cholesterol They are certainly bad and harmful to health, because although it is a fundamental element as essential for the proper functioning of our body (for example, it is vital for cell formation or neuronal activity), when both total cholesterol and he LDL cholesterol they are high, they pose a risk to health.

Different are the virtues that, for health in general, has the so-called HDL cholesterol (also know as good cholesterol ). A type of cholesterol that helps in a very positive way when removing cholesterol from the blood, which in turn prevents the accumulation of fat and the formation of plaque.

Causes of bad cholesterol increase

And is that having high LDL cholesterol is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease , Given the Adheres to the walls of blood vessels , so that it narrows them and multiply the risk of stroke or heart attack .

What is bad cholesterol or LDL?

He bad cholesterol (or LDL cholesterol ) is a lipoprotein formed by lipids (fats) and proteins whose main function is that of transport liquids , so that the function of LDL cholesterol is that of transport cholesterol from the liver to different organs and tissues .

That is, it consists of a low density lipoprotein, which fulfills the function of transporting cholesterol, triglycerides and other fats or lipids to different parts of the body through the bloodstream.

However, it is a type of cholesterol that, when there is too much in the blood, tends to accumulate in the arteries forming name plates with the name of atheroma , so that it can get to obstruct them in a dangerous way.

Since the high cholesterol it does not tend to produce symptoms until there is a cardiovascular or cerebrovascular accident, there is no doubt that it is most appropriate to have a blood test regularly , since it is the only way we have to know if our levels of blood fats (not only cholesterol, but also triglycerides) are adequate, or however they are above what is advised and considered healthy.

We must keep in mind that high cholesterol or hypercholesterolemia is diagnosed when levels of Total cholesterol exceeds 200 mg / dl. ; or also when the levels of LDL are greater than 130 mg./dl. or those of HDL are less than 35 mg./dl. in men and 40 mg / dl. in women.

Why does bad cholesterol increase: what are its main causes?

The bad diet

One of the main causes of high cholesterol is found in a abusive consumption of foods rich in saturated fats , as they can be: whole milk (milk, cheese and yogurt), butter, margarine, sausages, animal lard, red meats, salty snacks, burgers, industrial pastries and certain oils such as palm and coconut oil.

Feeding and bad cholesterol

Stress and anxiety

Another cause is found in the high levels of stress , as shown by the latest scientific studies. And is that having stress or anxiety is usually in most cases linked to the consumption of junk food, together with an abuse of alcoholic beverages and snuff.

Other causes

There are also other causes that can directly and indirectly influence having high cholesterol levels. We distinguish: age, overweight, not exercising regularly, as well as kidney or thyroid problems.

Nor can we forget the one known as genetic cholesterol , a condition known medically with the name of familial hypercholesterolemia , which means that the person has inherited a normal gene and a defective gene that produces a heterozygous hypercholesterolemia .

This causes cholesterol levels to increase twice as much as normal. There is a more serious variant, which occurs when the two defective genes are inherited. In these cases the cholesterol increases between 4 to 5 times above normal.

Risks of bad cholesterol or LDL for health

Did you know that high cholesterol levels do not produce a clear symptomatology until it is too late? When the fat accumulates little by little in our arteries and veins it can obstruct them, in a way that restricts the correct circulation of the blood to our heart and to the rest of the organism.

As a consequence of the lack of blood supply to the brain, a cerebrovascular accident can occur, while the lack of blood supply to a part of the heart can result in the appearance of angina pectoris, as well as ending with the passage of time. in coronary diseases, which can translate into a heart attack.

We could summarize below what are the main risks of having high cholesterol in our blood:

  • It is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases.
  • It adheres to the walls of blood vessels, narrowing them.
  • Multiplies the risk of heart attacks or strokes.

LDL cholesterol risks

Normal values ​​of bad cholesterol or LDL

According to a large number of specialists in medicine, the lower the LDL levels the lower the risk of a person to suffer some disease of this type. Here are your normal values:

  • Normal: less than 100 mg / dl (in some cases it should be less than 70 mg / dl)
  • Normal-high: from 100 to 160 mg / dl
  • High: above 160 mg / dl

How to reduce LDL cholesterol

Some useful tips

Below we summarize what are the main tips to reduce LDL cholesterol:

  • Follow a diet low in fat, especially trans fat and saturated fat.
  • Choose a healthy diet, based on a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables and fiber.
  • Follow a healthy lifestyle: practice physical exercise and avoid tobacco and alcohol.

In addition, both for reduce LDL cholesterol as to avoid their increase in our blood it is fundamental to follow a healthy lifestyle, opting for an equally healthy and balanced diet.

And what foods should we avoid?

However, we must avoid consuming the following foods high in LDL cholesterol :

  • Foods rich in trans fats : industrial pastries or precooked foods stand out.
  • Foods rich in saturated fats : as butter, sausages, cream or red meat.
  • Certain seafood : like prawns, prawns and crayfish.
  • Fried foods . It is better to opt for other forms of cooking, such as steaming, grilling or baking.
  • Whole Dairy .
  • Coconut and palm oil .

As we see, in addition to following a lifestyle as healthy as possible, opting for a healthy and balanced diet based on fresh and natural foods, it is essential to practice physical exercise on a regular basis, which will help us in a very positive way when it comes to lower LDL cholesterol

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