On this page we have tried to answer frequently asked questions on blood cholesterol and heart disease. Ask any question related to cholesterol.
Blood Cholesterol is produced by our body for several purposes. But In some people, it is produced more than is required by the body. The dietary cholesterol is found in animal products.
Following are the answers of most common questions.
Ask your cholesterol question
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- My age is 35 years. My doctor has said nothing about my blood cholesterol. Should I be concerned about my cholesterol?
Suggestion: You should get your cholesterol (HDL - good cholesterol, LDL- cholesterol and triglyceride levels) checked to be sure that you have normal levels. If you have high cholesterol levels, you can control it by simple lifestyle changes like quitting smoking, eating a diet lower in saturated fat and cholesterol and doing 1 hour of physical activity daily.
- I am only in my mid 20s, so I do not need to check my cholesterol level.
Suggestion: Even children with poor eating habits and from families with a history of heart disease can have high cholesterol levels. It is good to have checked your cholesterol level even if you are young. Now-a-days, the children are also at risk for developing heart disease. Note that cholesterol accumulates from childhood.
- I am obese. Am I at risk of heart attack?
Suggestion: Yes, heart attacks are common among people who are overweight or obese. These people have many other health problems. Your lower weight will lower your cholesterol also.
- I am lean and thin so I think I need not worry about my cholesterol.
Suggestion: You can have high cholesterol level even if you are thin. Have your cholesterol checked regularly regardless of your weight.
- Is heart disease related to high cholesterol?
Suggestion: Yes, a high cholesterol level leads to heart problems.
- Is smoking a risk for my heart?
Smoking causes plaque in the arteries, blood clots and rhythm problems. That is why heart attacks occur more frequently among people who smoke. Stop smoking to reduce the risk of heart attack.
- The food nutrition label says "no cholesterol". Does this mean that it is safe for my heart?
Suggestion: Learn to read and understand the food labels correctly. Many "no cholesterol" or Cholesterol Free Foods contain high levels of saturated fat or tans-fats. Both of these are the main culprits for high blood cholesterol. Look for the amount of saturated fat, total fat, cholesterol, trans fats, sugar and total calories in a serving of the product. A packet of potato chips says "no cholesterol", but it does not say prominently that it contains about 40% fat. It has no cholesterol because the chips have been fried in a vegetable oil that has no cholesterol. Do not be fooled by the words "no cholesterol". The dietary cholesterol is found in animal products. Saturated fats are found both in animal and vegetable foods and dairy products.
- Is margarine better than butter for cholesterol?
Suggestion: Both margarine and butter are high in saturated fat, so both should be eaten in moderation. Reduce your intake of saturated fats and trans-fats to control your cholesterol. Choose trans-fat free soft or liquid margarine that have less saturated fat. Some butters containing plant stanol actually reduce cholesterol absorption. These butters claim to reduce cholesterol by 10% in 3 weeks.
- I am having high blood cholesterol. Is walking good for me?
Walking is a great exercise that can reduce blood cholesterol and control blood pressure levels. Walking is better than jogging as it leads to injury to joints.
Avoid sitting continuously for more than half an hour at a place.
- Since I am taking medication for my high cholesterol, I need not worry about my eating. Can I eat anything?
Suggestion: Even if you are on medication, you should be careful in eating saturated and trans-fats. Note that you can control your high cholesterol level and prevent heart disease by making lifestyle changes. It is important to take your cholesterol medication as prescribed by your doctor.
- Since recent study suggests that eggs are not bad for cholesterol, can I have two eggs daily?
Suggestion: One egg (raw) contains about 215 mg of dietary cholesterol. So eating 1 egg leaves 85 mg (recommended daily cholesterol limit is 300 mg) of cholesterol that you can take from other sources, such as meats, poultry and dairy products. The page on cholesterol in eggs gives cholesterol in other form of eggs. Limit on eggs, until it is confirmed that eating eggs reduces cholesterol.
- I have high blood pressure. Since it is hereditary, I think that it cannot be cured.
Suggestion: No, you are wrong. Even the hereditary blood pressure can be reduced by losing weight and remaining physically active, limiting alcohol intake and quitting smoking. You can lower your high blood pressure without medication.
- I have read that a woman need not to worry about cholesterol as only the men can have high cholesterol.
Suggestion: It may be true for women before menopause as the female hormone estrogen tends to raise their HDL cholesterol levels. The situation is different for postmenopausal women whose cholesterol may rise even with a healthy diet and physically active lifestyle. They should consult their doctor for hormon replacement therapy (HRT) option.