High cholesterol is typically linked to cholesterol issues. This is because having high cholesterol increases your risk of developing cardiovascular disease. A fatty substance called cholesterol can block your arteries and possibly result in a heart attack or stroke by impeding blood flow through the afflicted artery.
Too little cholesterol is a possibility. This is less often than high cholesterol, though. While low cholesterol may contribute to other illnesses including cancer, depression, and anxiety, high cholesterol is firmly linked to heart disease.
What exactly is cholesterol?
Despite being linked to health issues, the body need cholesterol. Some hormones can only be produced with cholesterol. It contributes to the production of vitamin D, which aids in calcium absorption. Additionally, several of the chemicals necessary for food digestion are made in part by cholesterol.
Lipoproteins, which are small fat molecules encased in protein, are the carriers of cholesterol in the blood. High-density lipoprotein (HDL) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) are the two main categories of cholesterol (HDL).
Some people refer to LDL as “bad” cholesterol. This is so that your arteries won’t become blocked by the particular type of cholesterol. LDL cholesterol is transported to the liver by HDL, or the “good” cholesterol. The extra LDL cholesterol is eliminated from the body via liver.
Another important factor in cholesterol is the liver. Your liver produces the majority of your cholesterol. What you eat provides the remaining energy. Only foods derived from animals, such as eggs, meat, and poultry, contain dietary cholesterol. Plants don’t contain it.
Dangers of low cholesterol
Medication, like as statins, frequent exercise, and a nutritious diet can all help lower high LDL levels. There typically isn’t a concern when your cholesterol decreases for these causes. In fact, most of the time, having lower cholesterol is preferable to having high cholesterol. When your cholesterol drops for no apparent cause, you should pay attention and talk to your doctor about it.
Researchers are concerned about how low cholesterol looks to have a harmful impact on mental health, even if the precise consequences of low cholesterol on health are still being explored.
In a 1999 Duke University research of young, healthy women, it was discovered that those with low cholesterol were more prone to have anxiety and depressive symptoms. According to research, low levels of cholesterol may have an impact on your brain’s health because they are necessary for the production of hormones and vitamin D. Cell development requires vitamin D. Anxiety or despair could be a sign that your brain cells aren’t functioning properly. Research is being done to better understand the relationship between low cholesterol and mental wellness.
A 2012 study revealed a potential link between low cholesterol and cancer risk during the American College of Cardiology Scientific Sessions. Cancer may be impacted by the process that modifies cholesterol levels, but further research is required.
Women who might get pregnant are another group who should be concerned about low cholesterol. You have an increased chance of having a premature delivery or a kid with a low birth weight if you’re pregnant and have low cholesterol. Discuss what to do in this situation with your doctor if you typically have low cholesterol.
What Causes Low Cholesterol?
You could have extremely low cholesterol as a result of:
- an uncommon condition that runs in your family
- Malnutrition (not eating enough, or not eating enough good foods) (not eating enough, or not eating enough healthy foods)
- Malabsorption (insufficient fat absorption by your body)
- Anemia (low red blood cell count)
- thyroid problems
- liver illness
- a few different infections (like hepatitis C)
- severe damage or illness
Low cholesterol symptoms
There are frequently no signs for persons with high LDL cholesterol until they have a heart attack or stroke. You could suffer chest pain if a coronary artery has a significant blockage because less blood is getting to the heart muscle.
When cholesterol levels are low, chest pain that indicates an arterial accumulation in fatty substances does not occur. Low cholesterol may be one of the many reasons of depression and anxiety. Depression and anxiety signs include:
- having trouble deciding
- alterations to your eating, sleeping, or emotional patterns
Consult your doctor if you experience any of the symptoms listed above. If your doctor doesn’t suggest a blood test, ask whether you should have one.
Treating low cholesterol
The sort of low cholesterol a person has and what caused it will determine the course of treatment.
Changing one’s lifestyle to include things like:
- giving up smoking
- achieving a healthy weight
- being more active physically
When low LDL cholesterol is present together with symptoms or a genetic disease, medication may be necessary. Taking vitamin E supplements and other fat-soluble vitamins may be used as treatment for the hereditary diseases that lower LDL cholesterol. A doctor could occasionally advise adding additional fat to the diet as a supplement.
Preventing low cholesterol
Individuals very rarely take action to prevent having a level of cholesterol that is too low because most people don’t worry about having it.
Get regular checks to keep your cholesterol levels in range. To avoid taking statins or blood pressure drugs, maintain a heart-healthy diet and an active lifestyle. Know whether there is a family history of high cholesterol. Finally, be aware of any signs of stress and anxiety, especially if they make you feel aggressive.
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