What is Cholesterol ?
Cholesterol is a waxy fat-like chemical compound that the body requires as its building blocks for its cell membranes and hormones such as estrogen and testosterone. About 80% of the Cholesterol is produced by the liver and the rest comes from one’s dietary sources. While it is needed for good health, too much cholesterol is harmful for the arteries and also increases the risk of one’s heart disease. Dietary sources like meat, eggs, fish, poultry and dairy products are a rich source of cholesterol. It must also be noted that foods derived from plants contain no cholesterol.
- Some cholesterol is needed by the body in order to build its cell membranes, to make hormones such as estrogen and testosterone, to create vitamin D, and other substances that help in digesting food. However too much cholesterol is harmful for one’s body as it clots the arteries and leads to coronary artery disease.
- When the cholesterol present in one’s body is very high, then it is accumulated in deposits called plaque inside the walls of arteries, causing them to become reduced in size. This enhances the possibility of heart disease, stroke and peripheral artery disease.
- How is cholesterol tested? – A high cholesterol can be detected by conducting a simple blood test. Care should be taken to test for the disease at regular intervals.
Causes of High Cholesterol
- Poor Diet – Intake of animal products, red meat, and food saturated with fat.
- Obesity – Having a BMI of greater than 30 makes one prone to high cholesterol
- Lack of Exercise or practicing a sedentary lifestyle
- Smoking – Damages the walls of blood vessels, and increases the risk of fatty deposits on them. Smoking also reduces the level of HDL (High-density lipoprotein) , which is the good cholesterol that the body needs.
- Age – Increasing age also increases the risk of high cholesterol.
- Genetics – High cholesterol can also be inherited.
- Other medical conditions that contribute to high cholesterol – diabetes, liver/kidney disease, polycystic ovary, pregnancy, under-active thyroid gland, etc
Relevant statistics :
- A third of ischaemic heart disease all over the world is attributable to high cholesterol.
- Raised cholesterol is estimated to cause 2.6 million deaths and 29.7 million disability adjusted life years.
- It has been noticed that higher the average income of the country, the higher the prevalence of raised total cholesterol.
- A 10% reduction in serum cholesterol in men aged within 40 has been reported to result in a 50% reduction in heart disease within the next 5 years. While the same serum cholesterol reduction for men aged 70 years can result in an average 20% reduction in heart disease occurrence in the next 5 years.
Preventive Measures :
- Reduction in intake of saturated fats and cholesterol. Stop eating junk food or canned food products.
- No smoking/ alcohol consumption
- Increase intake of a high fibre diet. Consumption of a preferably low fat, low calorie vegetarian diet.
- Regular exercise, controlling one’s body weight and maintaining the weight to waist circumference
- Avoid day sleeping, anger, anxiety or overexertion.
Single Ayurvedic Drugs :
- Vaca Churna – Acorus Calamus / Sweet Flag
- Haritaki churna – Terminalia chebula
- Arjuna churna
- Guggulu niryasa
- Shilajatu – Asphaltum
Compound Ayurvedic Formulations –
- Varunadi kwatha
- Navaka guggulu
- Amrtadi guggulu
- Trikatu churna
- Arogyavardhini vati
- Phalatrikadi kwatha
- Triphala Guggulu
- Hrdyarnava Rasa