Having high cholesterol is more than just taking regular medications, as this major health concern not only affects one’s health but also drastically changes one’s diet and ways of living.
Diet plays a major role in regulating and controlling cholesterol levels especially when you are diagnosed with hypercholesterolemia, famously known as high cholesterol.
In fact, studies have indicated that people who are obese or overweight and have higher levels of cholesterol in their bodies have a higher risk of serious cardiovascular diseases.
This is because carrying this extra weight can lead to a rise in the LDL (low-density lipoprotein) or bad cholesterol in the bloodstream.
While most medical professionals consult on losing a couple of extra pounds to regulate the cholesterol levels in the body, others are skeptical about its long-term effects.
Ideally maintaining a healthy weight by dieting and regular exercise can help you achieve lower cholesterol levels.
If you are someone who is on a weight loss journey but skeptical about the effects of weight loss on your cholesterol levels, do not panic.
To help you see how effective weight loss can be in maintaining healthy levels of cholesterol, here is all you need to know about the role of weight loss in managing high cholesterol.
What is High Cholesterol Anyway?
Cholesterol is an organic waxy substance that is naturally present in the body and helps build healthy cells in the body.
When simply described, High Cholesterol is the presence of higher levels or amounts of this particular waxy substance called cholesterol in the bloodstream.
These accumulated deposits in the bloodstream can later form clots that can lead to severe health concerns such as heart attacks and strokes.
As mentioned earlier, Cholesterol is an organic waxy substance that naturally presents molecules called lipids that travel in the bloodstream through two forms of carriers.
These carriers are said to be LDL or Low-Density-Lipoproteins which are regarded as the unhealthy type of cholesterol and HDL or High-Density-Lipoproteins also regarded as good cholesterol.
The levels of both LDL and HDL in the bloodstream can impact one’s overall health greatly when not properly regulated.
These high amounts of cholesterol in the bloodstream can lead to a myriad of health problems among them the major ones being cardiovascular disease leading to the risk of heart attacks or strokes.
High Cholesterol can be inherited through genetics, although it is quite unlikely. It is usually a result of unhealthy living habits which makes this condition easy to prevent and even manageable.
High Cholesterol can be easily prevented and managed with daily or routine exercise, a healthy and balanced diet, as well as prescribed medications.
What are the different Cholesterol Levels?
Cholesterol is an essential organic substance that helps build the structure of cell membranes, however, a higher amount of cholesterol in the bloodstream can lead to severe cardiovascular diseases.
Hence it is imperative to check cholesterol levels in the body to prevent diseases such as heart attacks, strokes, peripheral arterial disease, and atherosclerosis.
In order to check the cholesterol levels in the body, the physician will prescribe drawing out blood samples to be tested for the amount of cholesterol present in the bloodstream.
According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, here are the criteria to determine the different levels of cholesterol in the body:
- Desirable: The desirable level of cholesterol in the body should be lower than 200 milligrams per deciliter of blood.
- Borderline: The borderline high levels of cholesterol fall somewhere between 200 to 239 milligrams per deciliter of blood.
- High Cholesterol: A higher and unhealthy level of cholesterol in the body starts from 240 milligrams per deciliter.
What are the potential risk factors that can lead to high cholesterol?
Below is a list of potential risk factors that can lead to higher levels of cholesterol in the body based on research:
- Family history of higher cholesterol
- A sedentary Lifestyle
- Unhealthy eating habits
- Obesity or being overweight
- High Blood Pressure
- Type 2 diabetes
- Males after the age of 45 and females after the age of 55 are prone to high cholesterol
How can obesity affect the levels of Cholesterol in the body?
The excess weight of the body can increase the levels of LDL or Low-Density-Lipoproteins that are deemed as unhealthy cholesterol.
Increases in levels of Low-Density-Lipoproteins (LDL) can lead to the accumulation of cholesterol deposits in the bloodstream and can later form clots that can lead to severe health concerns such as heart attacks and strokes.
Hence every 10 pounds added to the overweight body can lead to an increase of about 10 milligrams of cholesterol per day.
Your body needs some amount of desirable cholesterol to produce vitamin D and support the immune system.
The problem begins with increased levels of LDL (Low-Density-Lipoproteins) can lead to a medical disease called hypercholesterolemia.
Being obese or overweight can increase the chances of higher cholesterol levels as the body produces higher levels of lipoproteins and triglycerides (another form of lipid or fatty substance).
So a higher level of triglycerides and lipoproteins will in turn lead to higher cholesterol levels due to the following reasons:
- You have a resistance to insulin which can lead to free fatty acids being delivered to the liver.
- Have increased fat tissue in the body, especially around the gut, middle, and waist area leading to more fatty acids being delivered to the liver.
- Or lastly, inflammation in the body can hinder the regulation of HDL or High-Density-Lipoproteins which are also regarded as good cholesterol.
Can losing weight actually help Lower Cholesterol Levels?
Losing weight is directly linked to decreasing the levels of cholesterol in the body, in fact, achieving moderate weight is often recommended for regulating healthy cholesterol levels.
Losing weight can help reduce the production of triglycerides in the liver and Low-density Lipoproteins, further reducing cholesterol levels in the body.
In fact, an active lifestyle and a moderate weight help reduce inflammation in the body as well as reverse insulin resistance.
How much Weight should you lose to maintain Cholesterol Levels?
Believe it or not but losing about 10 pounds is enough to manage desirable cholesterol levels in the body.
In fact, a study has indicated that people who have lost about 5 to 10% of their body weight saw a considerable decrease in their triglyceride and low-density lipoprotein production.
But people who lost less than 5% only saw a decrease in the production of triglycerides.