High cholesterol. High cholesterol treatment
People talk about cholesterol a lot and mainly that it is very harmful. But what cholesterol actually is? What role does it play in our organism? Which type of cholesterol is bad for your health?
Cholesterol is a natural fatty (lipophilic) alcohol, which is a part of cellular membranes of all living organisms. So as carbohydrates and fats, cholesterol can be "good" high density lipoproteins(HDL) or "bad" low density lipoprotein(LDL). "Bad" cholesterol, being connected with proteins, forms the lipid-protein complexes that become subsequently the reason for atherosclerosis and other concomitant diseases.
These complexes fasten onto blood vessel walls, forming atherosclerotic plaques that can block these vessels.
Beside the fact that "bad" cholesterol is produced by body itself, it also obtained orally with food. Large quantities of cholesterol are found in hard-roe, egg yolk, liver, kidneys and brains. Food that is rich with saturated fatty acids, contributes to accumulation of "bad" cholesterol.
The reasons for an increase of cholesterol levels are:
- Increased production of cholesterol by the liver cells
- Slow removal of cholesterol out of the organism
It means that a decrease of cholesterol production and increase in removal of "bad" cholesterol from the blood results in lowered levels of cholesterol.
LDL (low density lipoproteins) causes the vessels to lose their elasticity. Due to elasticity blood vessels have the possibility to dilate when the high oxygen level is needed. Reduced elasticity increases the risk of heart attack or cerebral stroke. With age blood vessels lose the possibility to dilate normally and it results in hypertension.
However, cholesterol by itself is not harmful. It is compulsory for cholesterol to be kept in normal quantities in blood. It takes part in many biological processes. Human organism produces it as additional fuel when body requires excessive energy. HDL( high density lipoproteins) are essential for blood vessels. It protects our organism from atherosclerosis.
Large quantities of HDL are found in people who practice sports. As a result of physical exercise, obtained "good" cholesterol evacuates from the vessel walls excess fats that are removed for their destruction in the liver. The sportsmen are less liable to diseases caused by LDL.
The interesting fact is that the concentration of HDL grows in the blood while if a person consumes during the day 60-70 ml of strong alcoholic beverages(vodka,cognac), a glass of dry natural wine or 300ml of beer. You would never think that sports and alcohol that are absolutely incompatible with each other, have the same action!
There are two ways to treat high cholesterol.
The 1st approach is a diet in combination with the systematic moderate exercise. This treatment of high cholesterol is right for people with such conditions as hypertension, smoking, obesity, cardiovascular diseases, hypodynamia and a history of high cholesterol among relatives.
The 2nd approach is medicine use, which by itself requires caution. It is prescribed for the people, who suffer from atherosclerosis, stenocardia, cardiosclerosis and from other cardiovascular diseases, who have history of heart attacks, stroke, heart or blood vessel surgery.
It is very important to specify the dosage of the prescribed drug. Decreased cholesterol levels can lead to such diseases as hyperthyroidism, exhaustion. Some medical specialists consider that deficiency of cholesterol is much more dangerous than its increased level. But actions of drugs that decrease cholesterol are still insufficiently studied.
Currently there are known different groups of drugs which are used to treat high cholesterols. These medicines include:
- Fenofibrate(Tricor, Antara, Lofibra, Lipofen, Fenoglide)
- Bezofibrate (Bezalip)
Fibrates are used to treat several conditions associated with high cholesterol levels (hypercholesterolemia). Fibrates lowers the amount of bad cholesterol (LDL) , apo B and VLDL blood levels (very low density lipoproteins). Fibrates also are used to decrease high blood levels of triglycerides (hypertriglyceridemia). Other effects of fibrates include the decrease of fibrinogen levels as well as increasing the excretion of uric acid. Action mechanism of fibrates is related to increasing the amount of enzymes called lipoprotein lipase. This enzyme is responsible for the breaking down VLDL and LDL lipoproteins. Fibrates also speed up the process of evacuation (elimination) of cholesterol from the organism.
Another group of high cholesterol medications is statins.
Statins include the following groups of medicines:
- Simvastatin (Zocor)
- Lovastatin (Mevacor)
- Pravastatin (Pravachol)
- Fluvastatin (Lescol, Canef, Vastin)
This group of medicines works by lowering high cholesterol levels via blocking the enzyme called HMG-CoA reductase. This enzyme is responsible for production of cholesterol in the liver. As a result liver do not produce cholesterol and collect it from the blood vessels. Statins lower the blood levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) and increases blood levels of good cholesterol (HDL). In addition statins decrease blood levels of triglycerides.
The third group of hypolipedemic medicines includes bile acids sequestrants.
- Cholestyramine (Questran)
- Colesevelam (Welchol)
- Colestipol (Colestid)
This group of medicines binds to bile acids and prevents their reabsorption from the bowel. Since bile acids are synthesized from cholesterol, the disruption of their reabsorption helps to decrease cholesterol levels.
Other medicines which are used to treat high cholesterol include:
- Omega 3 plus (contains fatty acids which help to decrease high cholesterol levels and prevent the development of cardiovascular diseases)
- Nicotinic acid
- Ezetimibe (Zetia) Zetia works by blocking the absorption of cholesterol from the intestine to blood circulation. The medication can lower:
LDL cholesterol ("bad" cholesterol)