What Every Woman Should Know About Cholesterol

Health Tips

Many after 40 are given a mysterious diagnosis, encrypted in three letters – IHD. What does it mean? These three letters are deciphered as Ischemic (or coronary) Heart Disease. This pathology occurs when the blood supply to the heart is disturbed, when the myocardium (the muscular membrane of the heart) begins to suffer from a lack of nutrition and characteristic changes appear on the ECG, usually described as “diffuse changes in the myocardium.” This is the beginning of chronic heart disease.

Why does this pathology develop?

There are many reasons, the main ones are:

Cholesterol plays one of the leading roles among the factors leading to the development of coronary artery disease. Normally, cholesterol should not exceed 5.2 mmol / l. An increase in cholesterol levels above the specified value leads to a gradual deposition on the walls of blood vessels and the formation of “cholesterol plaques”. Plaques narrow the lumen of the vessel, blood flow slows down in this place, which leads to even more active deposition of cholesterol.

Accordingly, the vessel narrows even more and a “vicious circle” is launched, from which it is very difficult for the body to get out on its own. One of the first to be affected are the vessels of the heart (which leads to the development of coronary artery disease and, with further progression, to myocardial infarction) and the vessels of the brain (at the initial stages it manifests itself in the form of headaches, dizziness, decreased vision, and with progression – to such a formidable disease, like a stroke).

However, all the vessels of the body are affected and it is never possible to predict without a special examination of the vessels – angiography – where exactly the weak spot in a particular person is (kidneys, vessels of the extremities, gastrointestinal tract, etc.). Rupture of an atherosclerotic plaque can lead to thrombosis (blockage of an artery) and death of an organ or limb.

Many people who are not much worried about anything in terms of health believe that the malicious word “medical examination” was invented by doctors seeking to torment a healthy person once again. But high cholesterol up to a certain point can be detected only by analysis. The changes that cholesterol deposits lead to are irreversible – modern medicine can only slow down the development of the process, while the vessels can only be cleaned by surgery.

Postmenopausal women need to be especially careful when hormonal changes in the body lead to increased deposition of cholesterol in the vessels. The risk of coronary artery disease in women occurs approximately 10 years later than in men, which is associated with the action of estrogens, which play a protective role before menopause.

And people with pre-existing diabetes should especially strictly monitor their tests – with this pathology, it is not recommended to increase blood cholesterol above 4.5 mmol / l, otherwise the progression of atherosclerosis (cholesterol deposits on the vascular walls) is very fast, several times faster than in a non-diabetic person.

What to do if the level of cholesterol is still elevated?

Be sure to consult a doctor, only a doctor can decide whether you should take drug therapy or you can try to lower your cholesterol with a diet. One of the non-drug ways to lower blood cholesterol levels is to grind sesame seeds to flour and take 1 tablespoon 3 times a day (can be added to food).

How should one behave and what should be done to prevent the development of coronary artery disease?

Stop smoking (reducing the number of cigarettes smoked per day has little effect on the prognosis) and drinking alcohol

Increase physical activity

Control your weight and prevent the development of obesity. The main criterion for determining your normal weight is the body mass index (BMI), which is calculated by the formula: weight (in kilograms) divided by height squared (in square meters). The normal score is less than 25

Control BP. Normal blood pressure values ​​do not depend on age and gender and are equal to 120/80

Follow a fat- and carbohydrate-restricted diet

Control once a year the level of cholesterol, blood glucose at their normal levels, and in case of any changes – once every 6 months

What foods have a lot of fats harmful to blood vessels?

Shrimps, sardines, caviar
Meat by-products (liver, kidneys, brains, heart)

Fatty cuts of meat (beef, lamb, pork, veal)
Sausage, sausages, bacon

Whole milk, cream
Natural cheeses, sour cream, ice cream, processed cheeses

egg yolks
fried foods

Confectionery, chocolate
Butter: cow, coconut, palm, rendered animal and lard

It is recommended to eat:

Fish, shellfish
Skinless poultry

Lean cuts of beef, lamb, pork, or veal
Milk 1%

low fat yogurt
Low fat country cheese (1 – 2%), low fat cheeses

Fruits and vegetables, fresh, frozen, canned
egg whites

Homemade cakes with a minimum oil content
Rice, pasta, cereals

Wholemeal bread
Vegetable oils: olive, corn, rapeseed, safflower, sunflower, sesame, soybeans

Diet margarine
Low fat sauces
Seeds, nuts

If you end up with coronary artery disease,

then you should not wave your hand at yourself, because in addition to the heart, other organs also suffer due to vascular damage and impaired blood supply. In this case, you need to constantly be under the control of a cardiologist and therapist, strictly follow their instructions, monitor the condition of the vessels (angiography) and conduct an ultrasound examination of the heart (echocardiography) once a year, take blood and urine tests, do an ECG 2 times a year. Take care of yourself in time!

Alla GRIGORYEVA,
doctor – therapist

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