What is it?
The presence of high cholesterol in the blood is also known as hypercholesterolemia. The causes of can be genetic, or associated with unhealthy diets or lifestyle. When there are too many cholesterol particles in the blood, cholesterol may build up on the artery walls. Eventually, deposits called plaques may form. The deposits may narrow — or block — the arteries, thus hindering the blood supply to the heart and brain.
A complete blockage of blood flow in a coronary artery can cause a heart attack. A complete blockage of blood flow in a carotid artery can cause a stroke.
Hypercholesterolemia is almost always asymptomatic. Only in an advanced stage of plaque formation, symptoms such as tingling of the limbs, mental confusion, headaches, muscle cramps, oppression and chest pain begin to appear.
Instead, in familial hypercholesterolemia the formation of xanthomas, fatty deposits that form in the skin, fingers and eyes, can occur.
The causes of hypercholesterolemia can be genetic or associated with unhealthy diets or lifestyle. In our current society, it is mainly caused by incorrect food habits and sedentary life.
For sure a diet rich in saturated fats, non-whole complex carbohydrates, simple sugars, red meat, packaged and industrial products is the primary cause of the onset of high bad cholesterol (LDL) and a decrease in good cholesterol (HDL).
A diagnosis of hypercholesterolemia is based on routine blood analysis to check levels of “bad” cholesterol. From the age of 50 onwards blood analysis shall be carried out at least every 6 months. Familial hypercholesterolemia can be diagnosed with genetic testing .
Therapy for the treatment of high cholesterol can be both pharmacological and naturopathic.
With regard to familial hypercholesterolemia, therapy must be mainly pharmacological, associated with nutritional therapy.
If hypercholesterolemia is caused by unhealthy lifestyle, t will be necessary to change the diet, without prescribing drugs.
The drugs used for the treatment of high cholesterol are statins. They involve serious and strong side effects such as liver and muscle inflammation. Iin fact most patients who take statins suffer from muscle and joint pain.
The main phytotherapeutic remedies are:
- Garcinia promotes the elimination of cholesterol with feces;
- Garlic lowers bad cholesterol and raises good cholesterol;
- Fermented red rice contain a statin, also used for the preparation of drugs, lovastatin, with scientifically tested cholesterol-lowering actions.
- Guggul contains plant steroids that lower cholesterol and triglycerides.
- Rosemary essential oil helps to cleanse the liver and lowers triglycerides and LDL cholesterol.
The diet for high cholesterol has to reduce foods of animal origin.
In principles, the main dietary guidelines are:
- Avoid animal fats such as butter, lard, margarine, lard, cream;
- Avoid fatty meat such as sausages or offal such as liver, kidney and heart;
- Avoid high-fat milk and derivatives;
- Avoid alcohol and spirits that increase the production of triglycerides and cholesterol;
- Avoid sauces such as mayonnaise, pink sauce or ketchup;
- Avoid seafood, octopus, shrimps, mussels and clams;
- Avoid eggs or egg products;
- Prefer the consumption of whole carbohydrates with hypolipidic actions;
- Prefer steaming, grilling, foil, without adding excessive seasonings;
- Maintain a very active lifestyle. Scientific studies show that physical activity has important effects in lowering blood cholesterol. Prefer activities such as swimming, light walking, dancing, stair climbing.