Atherosclerosis is a health condition in which arterial wall of the heart thickens and in turn narrows the channel, impairing the flow of blood of the arterial wall of the heart. However this condition can affect any part of the body. The brain and brain blood vessels and the heart are critical points when it comes to Atherosclerosis.
Normally, the condition is associated with severe illness to many body parts including the intestines, legs and even kidneys. Blood flows to these regions are generally restricted by this condition.
There are common signs and symptoms of atherosclerosis disease. These will aid in the diagnosis of the same though it varies from individual to individual. These symptoms include anoxic pain as one does some physical exercises, performance decrease, tissue damages, difficulty in breathing, sores on the legs that take time or not heal and erectile dysfunction.
Depending on where the blockage happens, related conditions associated with atherosclerosis can be developed. Peripheral arterial disease usually occurs in the limbs of the patient. General pain in the legs is a symptom of this condition. General pain on hips, calves or even both thighs can be evidence.
Agina which is more or less than peripheral arterial disease causes the reduction of blood supply in affected parts. However, this condition triggers general chest pains and discomforts. Heaviness in the chest is the common symptoms of this disease. This heaviness is normally dull and tight. A person may collapse and even pass out.
Aneurysm is caused by Atherosclerosis where the walls of the blood vessels are weakened. Large growth of aneurysm will cause the blood vessels to rupture, internal bleeding follows this rapture and can be very fatal. A symptom of this condition includes a blinding-severe-headache.
Heart Attack is traced to Atherosclerosis. It usually occurs when there is blood clot in one of the coronary arteries plaques. This results in rapture of the coronary arteries. Some of the related symptoms include light-headedness, shortness of breath, anxiety, nausea, wheezing and vomiting. A severe chest pain is also an indication.
Stroke is as a result of blood supply blockage in the brain. A person suffering stroke can be identified when there is absence of smile with their eye or mouth drooping, numbness in the arms leading to difficulty in raising and keeping the arms in that position and slurred speech. Other indications may include lack of balance and coordination, dizziness, talking difficulties, intense headaches, and numbness.
These symptoms are red flags to indicate that something must be done. So far, the only major approach and treatment of atherosclerosis is lifestyle change. Dieting and constant exercising will aid a great deal towards prevention and cure. High fat foods should be avoided. Salt and sugar consumption should be equally reduced.
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Understanding arteriosclerosis and cholesterol is critical to your health, and yet something that many people don’t take the time to do.
We have created this guide to help you understand what arteriosclerosis is, how cholesterol works, and why it is so important that you have balanced levels of cholesterol in your body.
Cholesterol is a lipid, or a waxy, fat-like product that is created by the liver. A small amount of cholesterol needs to come from the diet. Cholesterol helps with many different bodily functions, including maintenance and construction of cell membranes, balancing hormones, and producing Vitamin D.
Cholesterol has a friend that is known as triglyceride, which is another lipid. This substance is also important in cell structure, hormone production and energy production.
Together, these two substances help make sure that the cells are taken care of and that things are functioning as they should.
Of course, if you have too much bad cholesterol or even too little cholesterol, your body will not be fully operational and working to its best capacity. When cholesterol isn’t balanced and working correctly, it can lead to arteriosclerosis, heart attack, stroke, heart disease, and many other health conditions.
Keep reading to learn more about arteriosclerosis, how cholesterol works, good vs. bad cholesterol, diagnosis, treatment options for cholesterol imbalance and the Maxalife recommended products to help improve your cholesterol balance.
How Arteriosclerosis and Cholesterol Work
Cholesterol belongs to the steroid class of molecules, and is found in many different foods. It is also naturally produced by the body and found in the cells. Imagine holding a soft, melted candle in your hand.
That’s what cholesterol feels like.
This product is essential for many different functions in the body, which is why it is naturally produced. That’s also why you hear doctors talking about lowering cholesterol, instead of eliminating it or preventing it from occurring in the first place.
Your body needs cholesterol to help with:
- Forming and maintaining the membranes of cells, providing insulation and protection for nerve fibers and cell walls
- Forming sex hormones, such as testosterone, estradiol, cortisol, and progesterone
- Producing bile salts that are responsible for aiding in digestion
- Converting itself into vitamin D within the skin cells upon being exposed to the sun’s rays
A complicated series of chemical reactions will create cholesterol in the body so that the body has enough to function.
While a little extra help from your food might not be a bad thing, many people eat far too much or far too many foods that cause high cholesterol because there is an excess that the body simply can’t use to help with different functions.
The excess cholesterol in your body can easily turn into a bad guy, attacking your circulation, your heart, and other areas of your body to cause serious health risks.
Cholesterol that is excessive can easily cause atherosclerosis, also known as heart disease, by causing plaque to build up in the arteries and restrict blood flow to the heart.
Imagine what would happen to your kitchen drain if you poured fat from foods down the drain time and time again. The drain would eventually become blocked and unusable.
Unfortunately, while Drano might easily fix your home’s plumbing, there is no real quick fix for your own plumbing like this. What’s more is that the buildup of plaque can cause heart attacks if it affects the coronary arteries.
It can even cause arteries to have rough edges that can make plaque break off, traveling to blood vessels throughout the body. If this plaque makes it to your brain, it can block vessels and cause a stroke.
Blood Cholesterol and Dietary Cholesterol
Your body makes all of the cholesterol that you need. Therefore, any food that is fatty or high in cholesterol only adds excess to the body. When there is too much excess, it cannot be flushed out as easily and causes serious issues.
For most people, about 85% of the cholesterol in the blood is produced by your body, also referred to as endogenous cholesterol. The other 15% of the cholesterol in your blood comes from your diet, which is known as your dietary cholesterol.
When your cholesterol is measured, the doctor measures how much is actually circulating through your body in your blood, which is known as your blood cholesterol.
External sources of cholesterol include meat, dairy, seafood, fish and poultry products. Since these sources make up such a small fraction of the cholesterol in the body, it is perfectly possible for someone to eat a lot of cholesterol-ridden foods and still have low blood cholesterol.
It’s also possible for someone to consume less cholesterol in their diet and still have a high blood cholesterol measurement because the body’s production is more of a factor than diet.
Dietary guidelines recommend people only consume about 300 mg of cholesterol every day. People who have high cholesterol will need to consume less than this. On average, men consume about 360 mg while women consume about 260 mg per day.
People who eat a lot of meat, fast food, or processed foods probably consume up to 2 times the normal amount in a day. This is not healthy, and will contribute significantly to the development of high blood cholesterol levels if it continues over a period of time.
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Arteriosclerosis caused by a cholesterol imbalance can be the result of many factors. Genetics do play a role in the amount of cholesterol that people have, both good and bad.
There are minor genetic defects that can present themselves and lead to excessive production of LDL, which is the bad cholesterol in your body which can lead to arteriosclerosis. Other factors that can cause a cholesterol imbalance include:
- Age: Like all things in the body, the balance of cholesterol can be affected by the aging process. This is a factor that doctors consider in determining different options for their patients.
- Weight: Anyone who is overweight or obese is far more likely to develop a cholesterol imbalance than someone who is at a healthy weight. Of course, people who are overweight can also face the risk of having lower HDL (good cholesterol) levels. Where the weight is on the body matters also. People with excess weight around the abdomen will face higher risk than those with excess weight in the buttocks or legs.
- Gender: Gender plays a significant role in many health conditions, including cholesterol imbalance. Men are far more likely to develop a cholesterol problem than women before age 50. However, the risk for genders balances out after 50 because post-menopausal women can see an increase in LDL due to a loss of estrogen.
- Diet: People who eat foods that are high in saturated fats and cholesterol will face a much higher risk of developing a cholesterol imbalance in their lifetime. Of course, it is important that you know that cholesterol only comes from animal products. Saturated fat can be in any type of food products, so just because something says that it is cholesterol free doesn’t make it totally healthy for your body. On the flip side of this coin, people who are malnourished can face health risks related to a cholesterol imbalance, as well.
- Disease: Diabetes, high blood pressure, and other diseases can team up with a cholesterol imbalance to accelerate heart disease, heart attack, and stroke in the body. Additionally, the medications that are used to treat high blood pressure can often cause an increase in bad cholesterol and a decrease in good cholesterol.
- Lifestyle: Stress, smoking, alcohol, and other lifestyle factors can affect a cholesterol imbalance in the body. Smoking, for example, can lower good cholesterol by as much as 15%. Stress will raise the total cholesterol in the body and excessive alcohol abuse can affect the cholesterol levels in the body as well.
These elements will all affect cholesterol levels in the body and can be the cause of a cholesterol imbalance. However, you have to keep in mind that these causes don’t usually exist on their own.
They are typically combined in causing high cholesterol and will amplify one another, causing serious health risks like arteriosclerosis if you don’t eliminate all of the risk factors of your cholesterol imbalance.
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HDL vs. LDL
Cholesterol is a problem in the body because it can’t dissolve in the blood. It is carried around in the blood and goes from cell to cell, helping out or causing problems along the way.
There are two main types of cholesterol that make up your levels along with a couple of extra products that are responsible for helping cholesterol imbalances to cause destruction.
Here’s a brief explanation of HDL and LDL cholesterol so that you can better understand the difference between the good and the bad and how it affects your health.
High Density Lipoprotein, or HDL, is the good cholesterol. About ¼ to 1/3 of the cholesterol in your body is carried around by HDLs. Lipoproteins are the carries of cholesterol.
The high density carriers are the good ones, and are known to help prevent against heart attack and other illnesses caused by the bad cholesterol in your body. Of course, if you have low HDL levels, you can also put yourself more at risk because there will not be enough good cholesterol to help fight the bad.
Think back to the example of the fatty grease in the drain. In your body, the HDL is essentially the ‘Drano’ for your own plumbing. It takes extra cholesterol down to visit the liver, where it is removed from the body, which helps slow the harmful effects of bad cholesterol.
Low Density Lipoprotein, or LDL, is the bad cholesterol in your blood. This is the kind that can build up in the arteries and cause serious health risks.
LDL works with other ‘bad guys’ in the body to form a thick, hard substance known as plaque that can cause arteriosclerosis, serious narrowing of the arteries, complete blockages, and even cause heart attack, stroke, and heart disease.
LDL is the bad guy and it is important to keep the numbers of LDL low in order to have the optimal health overall and a good cholesterol balance.
In addition to LDL and HDL, your body also has two other elements that can affect cholesterol levels:
Triglycerides, a form of fat that are usually caused in excess by being overweight, consuming a lot of carbohydrates, smoking, lack of physical activity, and excessive consumption of alcohol. These fats have very high cholesterol themselves, including a lot of the bad (LDL) cholesterol and not enough good (HDL) cholesterol. They contribute to a higher cholesterol imbalance and the serious health issues that are caused as a result.
Lp(a) Cholesterol is a cousin of LDL cholesterol, which means it is also bad. There isn’t a whole lot of information out there about Lp(a) yet, but it’s believed to interact with different substances in the artery walls and help with fatty deposit buildup in the arteries.
These elements are what make up, and often cause, your cholesterol levels. By understanding how this works, you can be better prepared to lower your risk level and improve the balance of your cholesterol.
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Myths and Statistics
There aren’t a lot of statistics out there about cholesterol imbalance as a global issue, primarily because of the lack of records and tracking in developing nations.
However, in the U.S. alone, more than 37% of the population is affected by high cholesterol. There are estimates of billions of people around the world who are affected by some type of cholesterol imbalance.
Here are some other interesting statistics and facts about cholesterol imbalances:
- 1 in 6 adults in the U.S has high cholesterol
- People who have high cholesterol are twice as likely to develop heart disease
- Women are more likely than men to suffer from high cholesterol
- In regards to ethnicity, Mexican Americans are the most at-risk group for men
- Caucasians have the highest incidence of high cholesterol in women
- High cholesterol affects more men between the ages of 35 and 54 while it affects women between the ages of 55 and 74 more frequently
There are also many myths out there about high cholesterol and cholesterol imbalances. Here are some of them, with the facts to debunk them so that you have a better understanding of cholesterol:
- Myth: Cholesterol imbalance can’t happen in children.
- Truth: Anyone can have a cholesterol imbalance as early as the age of 8. Factors that affect this include childhood obesity, genetics, diet, and hypertension (high blood pressure). Any child that has these factors in their life or a family history of heart disease is suggested to have their cholesterol tested as young as the age of 2.
- Myth: Eggs are the pinnacle of bad cholesterol.
- Truth: Eggs do have a lot of cholesterol, but dietary cholesterol isn’t nearly as bad as it was once thought to be. Only a portion of what you consume ends up in your bloodstream and eggs are packed with protein and other nutrients that your body could use. You shouldn’t eat excessive amounts of eggs, but you shouldn’t really eat excessive amounts of anything. It’s all about finding the balance.
- Myth: Food that is ‘cholesterol free’ is good for you.
- Truth: Just because food doesn’t have cholesterol doesn’t make it automatically good for you, or your heart. It could contain a lot of saturated fat, trans fat, and processed ingredients that are actually worse for you than the cholesterol-ridden alternative. Take the time to read labels and make sure that you choose the most natural, whole food available for the best nutrition.
- Myth: Cholesterol is bad. Period.
- Truth: Cholesterol is bad, but it is also good. Too much cholesterol, actually, is the bad part. Your body needs cholesterol to do certain things, which is why you need to make sure that you get a balance of cholesterol (good and bad) so that your body can perform like it should without facing the serious risks associated with having a high level of bad cholesterol.
- Myth: If you have high cholesterol, it’s because you don’t eat right and exercise.
- Truth: Although these are contributing factors to the level of cholesterol that you have, they aren’t the only elements involved. You might actually have genetic factors or other elements that cause you to have a cholesterol imbalance. Some of the most physically fit people that you might meet take cholesterol medications for an imbalance, which is proof positive that it’s not all about diet and exercise.
- Myth: Once you’re on cholesterol medication, you don’t need to worry about your diet or exercise anymore.
- Truth: Medication isn’t a replacement for taking care of your body. In fact, if you have high enough cholesterol to be put on medication in the first place, it might actually be a great idea to change your diet and exercise habits to make them healthier. A nutritionally balanced diet and regular exercise are the best tools to keep your whole body healthy, and should be important in your life no matter what medications you are taking.
Hopefully this information can help you understand cholesterol a little better so that you can make informed decisions about your health.
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Discovering whether you have a cholesterol imbalance usually requires a blood test performed by your doctor. There aren’t really a lot of symptoms of high cholesterol to rely on, which is why a blood sample is so useful.
Cholesterol is often known as a silent killer because until it causes serious conditions like heart disease, it often goes undiagnosed and unnoticed without testing.
People over the age of 20 should have their cholesterol tested every 5 years as a standard, which will allow you to see what your total cholesterol is, as well as how much LDL and HDL cholesterol you have.
It will also measure your triglyceride level so that you know how that is affecting your health, as well. Having a good ratio of LDL to HDL cholesterol is key to good health. It isn’t all about having low cholesterol levels when it comes to LDL (bad) cholesterol, because you need a certain amount of good cholesterol in your diet, too.
Once your doctor diagnoses your cholesterol imbalance, you can discuss your treatment options to assist you in getting your body the nutrients that it needs to stay healthy. Be sure to ask about natural products over potentially dangerous drugs.
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The most common treatment for high cholesterol is a family of drugs known as statins. These drugs are usually prescribed as an end-treatment, meaning that they need to be continued for the entirety of the patient’s life in order to be effective.
This is what has made statin drugs the most profitable medications ever developed by pharmaceutical companies.
The reality of the situation is that statins might help initially, but if a person can lower their cholesterol to a healthy level, stopping unnecessary medication is something to consider.
Not everyone needs to be on this medication for the rest of their lives. What’s more is that cholesterol and co-enzyme Q10 are produced the same way, and will both be inhibited by these medications, which is not good.
CoQ10 is an antioxidant that the body uses to help produce energy in its cells. Without this antioxidant, free radicals would not be destroyed and the health of your cells, organs, and tissues would be at risk.
Statin medications are sometimes the only option for patients, but they do have many different side effects that are less than desirable. For example, patients can expect the following side effects when taking these medications:
- Tingling and numbness
- Blurred vision
- Trouble breathing
- Weight gain
- Sleep problems
- Muscle aches
Severe side effects of statin drugs include:
- Severe pain and weakness in muscles
- Memory loss and cognitive impairment
- Increased heart failure risk
- Birth defects
The bottom line is that you MUST discuss your situation with your doctor and determine that your need for statin medications outweighs any potential risks that you face or that you are at a lower risk for these effects because of your current situation.
If you are going to take these medications, you should talk to your doctor about natural supplements like omega 3 fish oil and CoQ10 even when the statin medications are trying to inhibit the process.
They will allow you to get nutrients that will benefit your circulation and heart and help lower your bad cholesterol and raise your good cholesterol, which is the ultimate goal.
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When you are trying to find natural solutions or better ways to deal with high cholesterol, you can turn to the growing field of alternative medicine.
Some people will change their diet, while others might consider supplements or medications that are 100% natural to try to help lower their cholesterol. It’s all about figuring out what works for you.
Remember that you need to reduce the production of cholesterol, the absorption of it in your gastrointestinal tract, and the circulating fat in your blood. At the same time, you need to make sure that you are raising the HDL (good) level to correct the cholesterol imbalance properly.
Here are some popular options for alternative treatments for a cholesterol imbalance:
Diet changes: Foods are out there that are known to help reduce LDL (bad) and increase HDL (good) cholesterol levels. These include foods that contain phytosterols (found in fruits and vegetables, as well as plant sources), chocolate, Omega-3 fatty acids, and even plain old beer.
A new study is proving that a few beers might actually have the same cholesterol-reducing effects as wine is known to have. Always make sure that you choose foods wisely and follow a healthy diet in order to get the most from your nutrition.
Supplements: Supplementing your diet with herbal remedies is a very effective solution for many people. There are many different vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that can help improve your cholesterol levels and your heart health, including vitamin B3 (niacin), plant sterols, Co Q10, garlic, pantothine, polyphenols, Resveratrol, flaxseed oil, fish oil, EPA, DHA, and vitamin E. You can rely on these products because they are made from 100% natural ingredients and help to promote a balanced cholesterol level as well as assisting with other health issues in the body. Of course, anyone who is taking medication or who has a medical condition should discuss supplements with their doctor before taking them.
Increasing water intake: Something as simple as drinking enough water every day can have a significant impact on your cholesterol. You might be impressed to learn that if you drink you 8-10 glasses of water every day, you can easily help improve the function of your HDL levels and lower your bad cholesterol.
High-Fiber diet: Fiber is great at helping to lower cholesterol. Adding fiber to the diet is one way that many people address their cholesterol problems naturally. Eating foods that are high in fiber will promote healthy cholesterol levels, a healthy colon, and even heart health.
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When you choose natural supplements to help prevent or treat your high cholesterol levels, you will want to find the best products. Here at Maxalife, we have specially formulated two different products that can help you get the cholesterol balance that you need:
In addition to these supplements that are geared specifically toward cholesterol balance, we also have created a line of multi-vitamins that are proven to be quite effective:
These supplements can be taken together, but you will need to read the labels carefully to ensure that you are getting a good balance of nutrients and not too much of any one ingredient or nutrient.
Our 100% natural supplements are designed to be safe and effective.
Research your options carefully and you should have no trouble determining that Maxalife supplements offer you a great solution for your cholesterol imbalance, along with an array of other health benefits.
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