Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death worldwide, responsible for 30% of all deaths. A significant proportion of people have a high level of cholesterol, but many of them do not know it, because they do not feel sick. If left untreated, this problem increases the risk of suffering from CVD. A poor diet quality is strongly associated with an impaired lipid profile and incidentally a high risk of CVD. In this article, I give you eight tips to optimize your lipid profile.
Cholesterol is a fat made naturally by our body and is essential for good health. The problem is when there is too much. Excess cholesterol in the blood tends to settle on the walls inside the arteries: this is atherosclerosis. By accumulating, deposits can block the arteries. When cholesterol deposits build up in the arteries that bring blood to the heart, it can cause a heart attack. If the deposits are in the arteries of the neck or head, they can cause a cerebral vascular accident (stroke).
The lipid profile is used to assess the risk of developing CVD. It includes total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and triglycerides.
When we talk about “good” and “bad” cholesterol, we are not talking about the cholesterol found in food, but rather the cholesterol found in the blood. In fact, we should talk about “good” and “bad” cholesterol transporters, because cholesterol is insoluble in water and must combine with lipoproteins to circulate in the blood. There are two types:
Triglycerides are another kind of fat useful for the proper functioning of the body. Too much triglyceride circulating in the blood can also contribute to the development of atherosclerosis and increase the risk of CVD. This is even more true in the presence of a high LDL level, a low HDL level, an increased waist circumference. The blood triglyceride levels are mainly influenced by the amounts of added sugars and alcohol in our diet.