With so much attention on the dangers of high cholesterol. Young people often cringe when they just hear the word. The truth is that cholesterol is a fat-like substance found in our body’s cells. While everyone has it, it’s important to understand what causes high cholesterol in young adults and what need to be doing to reduce risk of heart disease.
The Good and the Bad
Young adults are surprised to learn that the body actually produces two types of cholesterol. High-density lipoproteins (HDL) and low-density lipoproteins (LDL).
» HDL is considered good cholesterol, as it actually helps the body rid itself of LDL, which is known as bad cholesterol. »
Having a healthy balance of both HDL and LDL helps keep cholesterol from piling up in the arteries. It can help reduce the risk of heart disease. This is why it’s important to get your cholesterol checked on a regular basis.
What causes high cholesterol in young adults?
Some young people assume they know whether or not they have high cholesterol based on family history, diet and exercise habits. These factors can affect your levels, because there are no real signs of high cholesterol, It’s best to let blood tests determine whether or not your numbers are within the normal cholesterol range.
Even once you know your numbers, there may be other factors that can affect your risk of heart disease. It’s best to discuss your results with your doctor so any relevant lifestyle behaviors can be considered.
Bringing it down
If your doctor determines that your cholesterol numbers are too high, you may need medication to get things under control. However, it’s important to ask about what causes high cholesterol in young adults and if there are other lifestyle changes that could help get numbers where they need to be.
Feed your cholesterol
When it comes to lowering cholesterol, the focus always seems to be on what not to eat. It’s important to greatly reduce your intake of highly processed foods and saturated fats. Be sure not to cut out all foods with good cholesterol.
Salmon is a good example of a fatty food you should eat occasionally. Fish oils are considered an important part of a heart-healthy diet. Fruits and vegetables in the red and purple family are also known to contribute to raising good cholesterol. Even a bit of dark chocolate now and then has been shown to have a positive effect on HDL.
Sleep it off
We seem to be hearing more and more about the importance of good sleep habits these days. It seems that getting a good night’s sleep is also important for lowering cholesterol. Studies have shown that getting too much or not enough sleep can raise the bad cholesterol and lower the good.
There may be other lifestyle changes that can help you keep your numbers in check, so it’s important to discuss the possibilities with your doctor when you go over your test results.