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The Risks of High Cholesterol

The risks of high cholesterol are still somewhat debatable in the medical literature. Some people deny the correlation between high cholesterol and heart disease, for instance. However, there is still a lot of literature illustrating the dangers of high cholesterol. According to the precautionary principle, it still makes sense for people to try to keep their cholesterol readings in a certain range.

It should be noted that the definition of a healthy range of cholesterol has changed over the years. People in the early twentieth century actually had higher cholesterol readings than modern folk, at least on average. The fact that readings like total cholesterol have actually improved over the course of the last few decades is a good sign, and it might be one of the reasons why people live longer and healthier lives today. The frontier American diet of salted pork and corn bread looks bad even next to the worst excesses of the modern American diet.


High Cholesterol Problems


People with high cholesterol are prone to heart problems of all kinds, as well as problems related to the cardiovascular system in general. There is evidence that the people who have high cholesterol are much more likely to suffer from heart disease. People who have high cholesterol are more likely to get heart attacks. Even when people survive heart attacks, it is possible for them to do permanent damage to their hearts.

There seems to be a correlation between high cholesterol and high blood pressure. This could be largely a function of certain dietary factors. The people who have bad diets are going to put themselves at risk for high blood pressure in addition to high cholesterol. However, high blood levels of serum cholesterol should naturally have lots of different effects throughout a person’s body, and these effects are going to directly relate to the circulatory system.

Some people with high cholesterol are more likely to have respiratory problems and breathing difficulties. Given the connection between the heart, lungs, and circulatory system, damage to one system is going to affect another system. People are going to have to contend with multi-faceted damage to their organ systems if they have damaged their hearts as a result of high cholesterol.

High cholesterol readings are overall associated with a reduced lifespan. Many of the people in this situation are going to take years or decades off of their lives in one way or another. Some people might die of heart disease brought on by their higher cholesterol readings. Some people might need surgeries in order to correct these heart problems, and the surgeries might present life-threatening complications. One way or another, people with high cholesterol are less likely to live to a ripe old age.


High Cholesterol At Different Ages


The risks associated with high cholesterol do not usually catch up to people until they reach middle age. However, people will spend their young adulthood years getting themselves to that point in the first place. Young people will eat bad diets that emphasize saturated fat and cholesterol over more wholesome fare, and their bodies will accumulate damage as a result.

A person’s exercise levels will also have a tremendous effect on his or her total cholesterol. People who exercise on a regular basis have lower cholesterol readings than the people who don’t, especially when it comes to aerobic exercise. People who have spent their young adult years exercising are going to be that much more likely to retain low cholesterol readings well into middle adulthood.

The health risks associated with high cholesterol start to increase in middle adulthood. They increase even more in late adulthood. People who have family histories of heart disease and the people who have poor lifestyles are usually going to find that these unfortunate factors will catch up to them by the time they’re in late middle age and when they’re approaching old age.

The definition of old age varies. Some people still consider the people who are over the age of fifty-five to be senior citizens. However, this is widely regarded as middle age today, and old age is thought to start in the sixties or seventies. People who have problems with high cholesterol will usually find that the troubles will catch up with them when they have reached the age of sixty-five or so.

Ultimately, young people need to prepare for middle adulthood by getting their cholesterol readings in order. Middle-aged people need to prepare for late adulthood for the same reasons and in the same way. Maintaining heart health throughout one’s life is a process, and people are going to need to make sure that they have not left anything to the last minute.


Lowering Cholesterol


Fortunately, it is possible for people at any age to get their cholesterol readings down substantially. People who add more exercise into their weekly routines will find that their total cholesterol levels will go down in many cases. Aerobic exercise is going to have a lot of different health benefits, and the people who are able to enjoy aerobic exercise most days of the week will also enjoy lower rates of heart disease.

Reducing total cholesterol through diet is more controversial, because people debate about how it is done. Some people say that it is more important to eat more soluble fiber and fiber in general. Other people say that cutting out fat, especially saturated fat, is more important. Many people say that sugar and salt are significantly more damaging than saturated fat could even be, since saturated fat is natural.

Other people say that it is total cholesterol that people should pay attention to, so they should avoid eating eggs and similar foods that are high in cholesterol. People who follow some or most of these dietary recommendations will probably give themselves a better chance, since most of these recommendations indicate a healthy diet in general. However, some individuals are going to need cholesterol medication in order to really make a difference with their overall long-term health.


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