If you or any other person has had chest pain or a heart stroke, then you must have known that the intensity of pain is debilitating, to say the least. Chest pain or heat strokes usually occur due to a fatty acid called cholesterol.
With increasing number of heart attacks and heart diseases it is imperative that the cholesterol levels are checked more frequently and to assess their impact on our body it is essential that we understand what cholesterol is and how it develops in our body.
What is Cholesterol?
Similar to all substances in our body cholesterol has a function to carry out. The body needs cholesterol to produce hormones, bile acids, vitamins and other useful substances. The body generally makes all the needed cholesterol for itself; however it is the transportation of cholesterol which is an issue.
Since cholesterol is a fatty acid it is almost impossible for it to flow in the blood stream. Therefore packages are formed with the sole purpose of transporting cholesterol. These packages are called lipoproteins which are made up internally of fat and the exterior part consists of proteins.
There are two main forms of lipoproteins which carry cholesterol in the blood.
1) Low Density Protein (LDL): Is also called ‘bad” cholesterol it transports cholesterol to the tissues and the arteries. Most of the cholesterol flowing in the blood is in LDL form and it increases the chances of a person getting a heart attack or any other form of heart diseases.
2) High Density Protein (HDL): Is also termed as good cholesterol as it cholesterol present in the tissues to the liver where it is removed from the body. A low or an insufficient amount of HDL heightens the risk of getting a heart disease.
These two forms of lipoproteins are responsible mainly to act as a medium of movement for cholesterol. Now as we are aware of the basic properties of cholesterol we need to study and understand why cholesterol can become a huge threat for a person.
Why is Cholesterol dangerous?
An excess of anything can be bad similarly an excess of cholesterol can become hazardous for the body. Since cholesterol needs a medium for its transportation some of the excess cholesterol gets trapped in artery walls and gradually transforms itself into a blood vessel narrowing substance called plaque.
This can harden our arteries and lead to a condition called atherosclerosis. This harmful substance can be formed anywhere in the body including the heart. The blood vessels of the heart are called the coronary arteries and if plaque blocks these arteries it disables the blood to bring enough oxygen and nutrients to the muscles in the heart.
This can cause chest pain, or if things become uncontrollable can lead to blood clotting and eventually a fatal heart attack.
Therefore as we have studied high levels of blood cholesterol can block the arteries including the coronary arteries making it a significant reason for heart diseases.
Cholesterol is a reality and a pretty dangerous one as well we need to accept it as a fact and create a proper strategy to avoid it which leads us to the second part of this article.
TLC diet plan
The plan is endorsed by the National Cholesterol Education Program of the USNIH (U.S. national institutes of health.
The plan is to alter the lifestyle completely including diet and exercise.
Many doctors confirm that diet change is essential and the first important step in tackling cholesterol, before consuming any medicine it is imperative that cholesterol reducing diet plan is followed.
It must be remembered that TLC diet does not initially target weight loss the primary aim is to lower the amount of LDL in the body and to determine and maintain the ideal calorie intake.
The basic aim is to lower the saturated fats in our diet. In comparison to unsaturated fats, saturated fats are a healthier option.
The TLC diet plan focuses on few basic guidelines
1) The consumption of saturated fats should be below 7% of the total calories consumed.
2) The cholesterol levels should be below 200 milligrams for every day.
3) Intake of Sodium should not exceed 2400 mg per day.
4) Calories obtained each day should comprise of 25-35% fat.
5) To maintain healthy weight calorie intake should be monitored regularly.
Physical fitness should also be prioritized. 30 minutes of exercise every day would suffice with the diet being consumed.
The diet plan could, at one brief look, seem easy to follow however it requires special attention and commitment.
A person needs to monitor his intake of daily food and it would be beneficial if he creates a proper list of food he consumes during a week, this will make it easier for him to assess his medical position.