Good heart health begins in your younger days. The lifestyle and eating habits during your prime years will have a lasting impact on your overall health during the later years of your life. An average person’s heart beats about 2.5 billion times during their lifespan during which, millions of gallons of blood is pumped through the body. The blood is a carrier of oxygen, hormones, fuel and essential cells required for the proper functioning of the internal organs and the human body. Blood also clarifies the waste generated by the metabolic function.
It is no rocket science that heart is one of the most important organs in the human body. The sedentary lifestyle and stressful work and living conditions are adding to the ever-increasing health woes. The long and stressful desk jobs today are cited as one of the major reasons on unhealthy mind and body.
What is Cholesterol?
The most common heart health risk today is the high cholesterol levels in the body. Where does this cholesterol come from? It is a fatty substance found in certain types of food as well as made by the body itself. The human body requires cholesterol to work properly – it helps in protecting nerves and makes cell tissues. However, when the cholesterol levels cross the optimum level required by the body, it puts the person at risk of having strokes or heart attacks.
The high level of cholesterol in the body results in unused cholesterol. This unused cholesterol then builds up into blood vessel walls which results in blockages. These blockages, in turn, affect the blood and oxygen flow in the body which results in a stroke or a heart attack.
What are the Optimum Levels of Cholesterol?
The level of cholesterol varies in different age groups. Cholesterol consists of Low-Density Lipoproteins (LDL) and High-density Lipoproteins (HDL). LDL is commonly known as ‘bad cholesterol’ and HDL as ‘good cholesterol’. The blockages caused in the human body are due to high or increased levels of LDL in the blood.
As we grow, the cholesterol levels tend to rise in the body. Doctors recommend getting your cholesterol levels checked every 5 years after the age of 20. Men are at a higher risk of having high cholesterol levels compared to women. The cholesterol level in women tends to increase post menopause.
The cholesterol levels are measured in milligram per decilitre (mg/dl).
Cholesterol Level in Adults: A total cholesterol level less than 200 is considered as a good level to maintain. The LDL should be 40 or higher and HDL should be less than 100.
Cholesterol Level in Kids: A total cholesterol level less than 170 is considered as a good level to maintain. The LDL should be 45 or higher and HDL should be less than 110.
What to do when you have a high level of cholesterol?
It is not the end of the road if you are detected with high levels of cholesterol in your blood. It is time to make some lifestyle changes that include healthy eating and living. The most common cause of an increased cholesterol level is bad eating habits and lack of exercise in the daily routine.
Here are a few things that you should do when detected with high cholesterol level:
- Healthy Eating Habits
Obese people, be it an adult or a kid, are at high risk of having high levels of cholesterol. Keeping a check on your weight is the best way to control your increasing cholesterol levels. Get rid of the fatty and unhealthy foods which are full of bad cholesterol. Reduce saturated fats and trans fats from the diet eat foods with Omega-3 fatty acids.
- Exercise Regime
Long sitting hours and no exercise can affect your heart health. You don’t need to get into extraneous workout regimen but maintaining a healthy exercise regime can go a long way. Exercising for at least 40 minutes every day has been scientifically proven to keep the cholesterol levels in check.
- Stretching between work hours
Stop being glued to your desk all the time. Take stretching breaks every 30-40 minutes. Get up from the chair, walk around a bit and stretch your body to get rid of the stiffness. This helps in maintaining a healthy flow of blood in the body while relieving stress and tension.
There are many scientific studies that back the claim that meditation helps in reducing stress and tension over time. By adopting a meditation regime, one can help in keeping a check on the stress and tension levels which, in return, helps in controlling and maintaining a healthy blood pressure level.
In today’s time, increased cholesterol levels have become a common occurrence. Getting the cholesterol levels checked at regular intervals can help in curbing the risk of heart diseases. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle during your prime years is as important as taking your multivitamins every day. Sometimes, just changing the dietary habits or changing the lifestyle may not be enough and you might need to take medication. Speak to your doctor to take the appropriate medication.