Cholesterol is something which our body really needs for proper functioning.
Cholesterol is said to be important for the production of certain types of hormones in the body along with Vitamin D.
There are two types of cholesterol related disorders, Hyperlipidemia and Hypolipidemia.
Hypolipidemia would mean low levels of cholesterol in the body. Hypolipidemia can also be a sign of malnutrition or when there are high doses of cholesterol medications. It is also termed as low blood cholesterol.
What is cholesterol?
Despite the various associations of cholesterol with health related issues, cholesterol is required for proper functioning of the body. Cholesterol is said to be important to produce certain types of hormones in the body. It is also involved in the production of Vitamin D which is said to help the body in better absorption of calcium. Cholesterol also has a role in producing certain substances which are essential for digestion of food.
Cholesterol travels in the blood in the form of lipoproteins. These are basically tiny molecules of fat which are wrapped with protein. There are two major types of cholesterol, one being LDL or low density lipoprotein and the second being HDL or High density lipoprotein.
LDL is sometimes referred to as bad cholesterol because this particular kind of cholesterol can clog the arteries causing danger to the body. HDL which is the good cholesterol helps to bring the bad or LDL cholesterol from the bloodstream to the liver. HDL helps in removing the excess LDL present in the liver.
Liver plays a vital role in the production of cholesterol. Most of the cholesterol in the body is produced in the liver itself, while the rest of it comes from the food we eat. Animal food sources such as poultry, eggs and meat are known to contain dietary cholesterol, something that is not found in plants.
What are the disorders related to cholesterol?
Cholesterol is not a bad thing for the body, it is something which is essential for life and it is found in the cells of the body in humans and animals. Our body needs cholesterol in adequate amount for working properly, but if there are any changes in the level of cholesterol, then it can lead to certain issues. There are two types of cholesterol related disorders, Hyperlipidemia and Hypolipidemia.
When we break the word Hypolipidemia, then “Hypo” would mean low and “lipidemia” would mean the blood lipid levels, for example, cholesterol. Hence, Hypolipidemia would mean low levels of cholesterol in the body. Hypolipidemia can also be a sign of malnutrition or when there are high doses of cholesterol medications. It is also termed as low blood cholesterol.
The term Hyperlipidemia would mean increase in the levels of cholesterol. There are unusually high levels of fats or lipid present in the body. This in turn would put the individual at risk of a lot of health issues which can turn out to be major if proper care is not taken. Those medical conditions would include stroke or heart attack. This is also sometimes called as high blood cholesterol.
The cases of low cholesterol levels are less than the high cholesterol levels. Hyperlipidemia is mostly associated with heart related disease but in case of Hypolipidemia, it is known to be one of the factors for other kind of medical conditions such as depression, cancer and anxiety attacks.
A rare kind of genetic disorder such as abetalipoproteinemia and hypobetalipoproteinemia.
Malabsorption wherein the body is unable to absorb the essential nutrients for carrying out other functions.
Those individuals who suffer from high levels of LDL cholesterol mostly show no symptoms until it leads to a stroke or a heart attack. But if there is a serious case of blockage in the coronary artery, then the individual may tend to experience pain in the chest which is often caused due to decrease in the supply of blood to the heart muscles. With the occurrence of low cholesterol, there is no case of chest pain which can signal as a buildup of certain fatty substances in the artery.
Low cholesterol is also known to lead to depression and anxiety attacks in an individual. Few of the symptoms concerning anxiety and depression are feelings of confusion, hopelessness, getting agitated easily, changes in the mood, feeling very nervous, sleep disorder, finding it difficult to make a certain decision and changes in the pattern of eating.
Individuals who experience any of the above-mentioned symptoms should reach out to the doctor immediately. In case the doctor does not suggest a blood test, then you can confirm if there is a need to do so.
When the body has high levels of HDL, then it can be gradually lowered with the help of medications which can include statins, bringing about changes in the lifestyle, regular exercising and following a healthy diet. But if the cholesterol level in the body dips down due to various factors, then it isn’t actually considered as a problem.
It is said that low cholesterol levels are much better than the rise in the cholesterol level in the body most of the times. But when the cholesterol in the body starts to fall for no obvious reason, then that is the time when one should take notice and discuss it with the doctor.
Research is still going on to study the exact cause of low cholesterol levels on the health of an individual. Studies by various researchers show that the dip in the cholesterol level would appear to be negatively affecting the mental health of the individual. In one study conducted in the Duke University on healthy young women, it was found that those suffering from low cholesterol levels were more than likely to come across symptoms such as anxiety and depression.
Research suggests that because cholesterol is also involved in the production of hormones and vitamin D, hence low levels of cholesterol can affect the health of the brain. For the growth of human cells, it is important to have Vitamin D. In case the brain cells are not healthy enough, then the individual may start to experience depression and anxiety. The connection between low cholesterol levels and mental health of the individual is not completely understood and is still being researched. In one study in the year 2012 at the Cardiology Scientific Sessions, it was found that there is a possible relationship between risk of cancer and low cholesterol. The process which is known to affect cholesterol has the tendency to affect cancer; however research is still needed on this topic.
One of the other concerns about low cholesterol is in women who are pregnant or looking to get pregnant. In case you are pregnant and are having low cholesterol levels, then there is higher risk of the baby being delivered prematurely or the baby would be delivered with low birth weight. Hence, if you are suffering from low cholesterol levels and are planning to conceive, then it is better to let the doctor know of the same in advance.
One of the ways to diagnose cholesterol level properly is carrying out a blood test. The total cholesterol in the body is determined by adding HDL and LDL levels and the 20 percent of the triglycerides which is also known to be another type of fat in the bloodstream.
In case the level of LDL cholesterol is below 50 mg/dL or the total cholesterol level is below than 120 mg/dL, then the individual is diagnosed with low LDL cholesterol. When the level of LDL cholesterol is between 70 and 100 mg/dL, then it is considered to be ideal. It becomes very important to routinely keep a track of the cholesterol level. In case you have not checked the level of cholesterol within the last two years, then it is better to schedule an appointment.
The dip in the cholesterol level is most likely caused by some changes in the diet or the physical condition of the individual. For treating low cholesterol levels in the body, it is important to first understand that simply eating foods rich in cholesterol would not help in solving the problem. By carrying out blood samples and undergoing certain evaluation tests of mental health, suggestions can be made for changes in the diet as well as lifestyle which can be used for treating the problem of low cholesterol.
In case the cholesterol level is causing a negative impact on the mental health, then the doctor can prescribe an antidepressant. It is also known that statin medication has led to drop in the cholesterol levels, but far too low. In such cases, the doctor can look to make changes in the medications or the dose.
Low cholesterol is usually not considered as a cause of concern for most individuals. In very rare cases, individuals with low cholesterol levels would take certain steps to treat this issue. For maintaining the balance in the cholesterol level, it is important to ensure that timely and routine medical checkups are carried out. It also becomes important to maintain a healthy lifestyle, eat healthy foods, try to remain as active as possible by working out or doing physical activity. These changes would also help you to avoid taking blood pressure medications and statins.
If there is anyone in the family who has been or was suffering from cholesterol issues, then beware of the same and try to ensure that others maintain a healthy routine to avoid having cholesterol problems. Also, pay attention to symptoms such as depression, anxiety attacks, panic attacks, stress or any other forms of mental issues which can mostly make anyone feel violent.
Below are a few of the lipid lowering drugs which are known as lipid lowering food items:
Milk: It is known to contain hydroxy and methyl glutaric acid which are known to inhibit cholesterol synthesis enzyme activity which leads to inhibiting the synthesis of the cholesterol, thereby lowering the blood cholesterol levels in the body. Additionally, milk also contains calcium that is shown to reduce the body’s capacity of absorbing cholesterol.
Garlic: Garlic is another food item found effective in lowering lipid level. The active ingredient in garlic is known to have anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-tumor properties which are said to prevent the occurrence of low blood sugar levels, atherosclerosis and blood lipids.
Oats: They are known to contain rich amounts of linoleic acid which accounts for 35 percent and 52 percent of unsaturated fatty acids. The vitamin E content in oats is also very high along with saponins. They are said to play a role in reducing the plasma levels of cholesterol.
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