Getting Serious About Your Cholesterol in 2019!
One in five Australians aged 18-34 years have high cholesterol. Having a high cholesterol is a strong risk factor to both coronary heart disease and stroke.
High cholesterol is often referred to as hyperlipidaemia or dyslipidaemia. Cholesterol is a soft, waxy fat that is made by the body. Over time it can deposit itself and harden in the walls of the arteries which may lead to a partial or complete blockage that could end up becoming fatal causing a heart attack or stroke.
One of the main causes of high cholesterol is our diet. A diet high in saturated fats, i.e. fats from animal foods can increase the bad cholesterol (LDL) in our bodies however, some high cholesterol can also be hereditary.
As mentioned by Dr Currie, ‘cholesterol build up is a progressive disease process because even as teenagers and young adults there is evidence of the build-up of cholesterol’. Dr Currie stressed in a recent podcast interview (https://soundcloud.com/user-590302942/meditalk-cholesterol) the importance of being physically active, eating and sleeping well in order to best manage your cholesterol. These aspects of our lifestyle are essential to having healthy arteries and a healthy heart. Sadly the pressures of modern living in a Western world is proving to cause unhealthy lifestyle choices and we are all living such sedentary lives, eating high sugar, dense foods which are readily available and eating too often, sleeping less, stressing more is all increasing our cholesterol levels and our risk of heart disease.
How often do you hear people say, ‘I am too busy to prepare a meal, I'am too busy to sleep 7-8 hours. I am too busy to go for a walk or go to the gym. I finish work too late from or work too early in the morning to have time to exercise’. Sound familiar?
In fact an Amazonian tribe has actually proven to have the healthiest arteries in the world – Why you ask?
The Tsimane tribe research highlighted that there low fat diet, daily physical activity and the fact they do not smoke contributed to lower rates of heart disease and blood pressure adding years to their life assisting them to live longer and healthier lives.
Amazingly, there was one 80 year old in the study that in fact had arteries equivalent to that of a 50 year old American.
Therefore, the key difference in artery health was not based upon someone's age but, due to the difference in lifestyle.
Statins have proven time and time again they are effective in lowering cholesterol and our risk of heart disease and stroke however; a pill alone does not reduce the risk by itself. We all have to address our diet, our physical activity and our sleep to be able to achieve a goal of living a long and healthy life in an aging population obessed by achieving more work and done as quickly as possible. Finding time to look after ourselves and make healthier lifestyle choices as we know in our heart is the best way forward!
For more information about the management of cholesterol be sure to listen to the podcast interview with Cardiologist Dr Currie interview on Cholesterol