Status: 04.12.2023, 09:21 a.m.
By: Juliane Gutmann
Don't know what your cholesterol levels are like? Then quickly off to the doctor. This is because elevated levels are considered a major risk factor for heart attacks.
Cholesterol is vital because it is a component of cells and the starting material for the formation of various hormones. However, it becomes dangerous when too much of the fat-like substance circulates in the body, according to a press release from the German Heart Foundation. In particular, high levels of LDL (low-density lipoprotein) increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. The excess LDL cholesterol is deposited in the vascular walls and leads to arteriosclerosis – the main risk factor for stroke and heart attack*.
A blood test will tell you if your cholesterol level is too high. According to the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG), these factors drive up LDL cholesterol:
- Diet high in saturated and trans fatty acids
- little movement
- Severe obesity
- Diseases such as diabetes, rheumatism, hypothyroidism or kidney and liver diseases
- Taking cortisone preparations or HIV medication
- genetic predisposition
There's nothing wrong with a greasy currywurst – as long as it's seen as a stimulant and not eaten every day. © Jens Kalaene/dpa
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In healthy people, the target LDL cholesterol level is below 115 mg/dl (<3.0 mmol/l). For high-risk patients, such as people with high blood pressure, genetically determined high cholesterol levels or smokers, an LDL cholesterol of less than 70 mg/dl (<1.8 mmol/l) should be sought, according to the German Heart Foundation. Your doctor can determine the ideal value for you.24vita.de* reports on identical twins who took a vegan vs meat nutrition test.
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A change in lifestyle can often bring slightly elevated cholesterol levels back to normal. This includes:
- Balanced diet with lots of vegetables, whole grains and high-quality vegetable oils (Mediterranean cuisine)
- Nicotine Abstinence
- regular exercise (especially endurance sports such as hiking or swimming are considered heart-healthy according to the German Heart Foundation)
Do you want to eat healthier?
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Statins are used for severely elevated cholesterol
In the case of severely elevated or hereditarily high cholesterol levels, the above-mentioned measures usually do not bring the desired success. In these cases, statins are used. This group of drugs inhibits the body's own production of cholesterol in the liver, so that the LDL cholesterol level in the blood drops. "Statins have been proven in large scientific studies to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke* and to be safe to take for many decades," explains Prof. Dr. med. Ulrich Laufs, Director of the Clinic and Polyclinic for Cardiology at Leipzig University Hospital. If therapy with statins does not have the desired effect, other cholesterol-lowering drugs can be tried, according to the press release of the German Heart Foundation. Your doctor can decide which treatment makes the most sense for you. (jg) *Merkur.de and 24vita.de are provided by IPPEN. MEDIA.
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