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What You Really Need to Know About Cholesterol

cholesterol
When a person eats fatty foods, those fats are ultimately absorbed by the small intestine and sent along to the liver, which breaks them down into various other fat products, but mostly cholesterol. The liver then transforms 80 percent of this cholesterol into cholic acid (bile), which is necessary to digest fats and proteins.

The rest of the cholesterol is then used as building blocks for all cell membrane construction, all hormone fabrication, stem cells and the insulation of nerves cells in the brain. Pretty important stuff. In fact, huge amounts of cholesterol are required for these functions. Remember that the brain is 80 percent fats by weight, mostly cholesterol and omega-3.

Cholesterol's Bad Rap

Then why does cholesterol have such a bad reputation? It’s because there are two types of cholesterol. The first is high density lipid (HDL) cholesterol, which is beneficial and does not harm blood vessels. In fact it protects them because it actually collects some of the negative cholesterol and carries it back to the liver for removal.

The negative cholesterol is low density lipid (LDL) and it acts as a free radical in the body. A free radical has nothing to do with the 1960s. It is an unstable protein molecule that can do great damage to the body and cells. The damage done by LDL cholesterol attracts inflammation which obstructs blood vessels and allows excess cholesterol in the circulation to be deposited in the damaged vessel walls. It is when clots form on these blockages in the blood vessels that flow is restricted and heart attacks or strokes may result. That is the cause of cholesterol's negative reputation.

Arteriosclerosis

This inflammation and blockage of the blood vessels is called arteriosclerosis. (By the way, calcium is also deposited in the vessels when inflamed and in this case is as dangerous as cholesterol.) And since it can have such dangerous consequences for human health it's worth understanding more clearly how it develops.

The lining of blood vessels can be damaged by many factors, not just cholesterol. The inflammation caused by the free radicals actually tries to repair damage, but the swelling it causes allows cholesterol and calcium to deposit. There has to be damage for cholesterol to stick and cause and arteriosclerosis.

So it's not so much LDL cholesterol, but the damage done by free radicals that are created by LDL cholesterol, that eventually lead to heart attacks and strokes. The blockages in the blood vessels cause protrusions, which lead to clots, which deprive the heart or brain of oxygen.

Guarding against arteriosclerosis

  • Exercise is the best cure. It can actually reverse arteriosclerosis.
  • Maintain a high intake of potassium. Bananas, orange juice, tomato paste and potatoes are among the foods high in potassium, or take a supplement.
  • No smoking.
  • Eat a balanced diet, low on toxins, fats and meat. Also avoid high amounts of sugars, starches and prepared foods.
  • Lower intake of saturated fat, but don’t cut it out entirely.

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High Blood Pressure Causes Death

High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure (hypertension) is often called the “silent killer.” That’s because there are rarely any symptoms. Then a person may die as the result of the damage done over time by the presence of high blood pressure. For this reason, people need to have their blood pressure monitored routinely.

Doctors prefer blood pressures to be 120/80 or lower. The top number, 120, is called the systolic number. That top number is obtained when the heart is working to pump blood. The bottom number, 80, is called the diastolic number. It is obtained while the heart is at rest. Both numbers are important.

Diagnosing High Blood Pressure

The diagnosis of hypertension is given to a person who has repeated readings of 140/90 or greater. A diagnosis of hypertension is not based on a single reading. Blood pressures vary over the course of the day. It’s usually lower during sleep and higher in the morning. Pain and stress may elevate a blood pressure reading.

Primary or Secondary High Blood Pressure

The doctor may label the hypertension as primary or secondary. Primary has unknown causes. Secondary means it is a result of something else, a tumor for example. No matter what the cause, high blood pressure requires treatment. Treating hypertension properly can prevent many problems. Some of these problems are: heart attacks, strokes, kidney damage, and vision loss.

Hypertension Increases the Risk of a Heart Attack

People with HBP have heart attacks much more often than those who don’t. A heart attack is caused by a blockage of the blood supply to the heart. HBP can cause the arteries to become narrow. That narrowing increases the possibility of a blockage. Blockages cause heart attacks. Hypertension also causes the heart to work harder.

Blood Clots Cause Death to Organs ond People

Anything that prevents the flow of oxygen-carrying blood can cause death to an organ or a person. Since high blood pressure damages the blood vessels, it increases the risk of getting a blood clot. A trapped blood clot cuts off the flow of blood and oxygen. That’s what kills organs and people.

Strokes Cause Brain Damage

When a person has a stroke, the brain function is impaired because of a problem in the blood supply. As a result, the brain is damaged. Prolonged high blood pressure can cause blood vessels to become narrow. That makes the blood vessels more likely to trap a clot or burst (hemorrhage). Blood clots and hemorrhages are the leading two causes of strokes.

High Blood Pressure Causes Kidney Damage

The same abnormal high blood pressure that damages the heart and brain can also damage the kidneys. When the flow of blood to the kidneys is impaired a person can become very sick, very fast. The kidneys are the filtering system for the body, so any damage to this organ can turn fatal.

High Blood Pressure Causes Vision Loss

The blood vessels in the eye are already very small. And over time, the HBP can cause those passages to become narrower. Hemorrhages occur when the blood can’t pass through the vessels properly. High blood pressure can also cause swelling of the nerves in the eye. All these things can lead to vision loss

Ways to Reduce Blood Pressure

Some factors that affect hypertension cannot be controlled. These factors are age, race, heredity, and gender. Other risk factors can be eliminated. The same things that are bad for general health also influence the blood pressure.
  • Alcohol
  • Cigarettes
  • Obesity
  • Stress
  • Inactivity

Too much salt is also a controllable factor.

So prevention is the key to avoiding these (and other) serious problems. Have blood pressures monitored routinely. If high blood pressure is a problem, follow the doctor’s recommended treatment plan to the letter. Take medicines as prescribed, even if you feel fine. Remember, they don’t call it the “silent Killer” for nothing.

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Avoiding Burnout

Having a very active lifestyle can make it hard to incorporate certain things in your life. Most people struggle with sticking to an exercise regime. It can be extremely hard trying to commit to an exercise regime when life is so hectic. A new and demanding job, a baby on the way, moving into a new home or just adjusting to all the financial, social and familial responsibilities that we have as adults can run you ragged and leave little time for much else. Usually exercise is on the back burner until all these things are dealt with. It can be hard. You can take advice from people, watch different infomercials to try to inspire you but ultimately that “blah” feeling will set in. Getting rid of the “blahs” can be difficult but always beneficial. Leading an active life can be good but if your body isn’t used to regular exercise focused on stretching the muscles and raising the heartrate. You could go from “blah” to burnout.
burnout

There are ways to get rid of the blahs without much fuss. If you have a fairly busy job and don’t spend a lot of leisure time at home you can bring your running shoes and walk on your lunch break. A brisk 20-minute walk five times a week can make a staggering difference in your stamina throughout the week. Little things like purposely parking farther when walking to your car. I often stretch when I’m alone in my office. If the door is locked your good to go. A lot of people have a problem with tardiness in the morning. Of course, rushing eventually follows. Instead of rushing off to work purposely wake up 10 minutes early. You could take a brisk walk into work to concentrate on breathing fully and spend a little time contemplating your day. You’ll be more relaxed and energized. And it’s much better than doing a full on sprint that just leaves you winded and frazzled by the time you get to your office.

Stay at home moms, sometimes, find it hard to exercise. It may sound a little nutty for those who don’t stay at home. But, coming from someone who has done both the working mom and the stay at home mom thing both can be equally tough to deal with when trying to maintain an exercise routine. A very corny way I found myself burning calories while at home with my baby was with the “15 minute quick clean up”. I would start in the center of the room moving throughout the house very swiftly and try to clean up as much as I could in 15 minutes. Nothing like washing the dishes because you are stationary, you can save that fun for later. Grab the broom and see how many rooms you can sweep. Then grab a basket or bucket and move from room to room picking up all the little trinkets on the floors. Dusting tables and cleaning the windows can work up a good heartrate. After the buzzer rings you can walk around for a little bit to cool down and you’re done. It may not sound like much. However, targeted exercise is better than just running around all day behind the kids. Also, you can get a semi-clean house in just 15 minutes.

Many people have active lifestyles where they are constantly on the go. However, if some of that movement isn’t targeted towards active exercise activity geared towards circulating the blood and getting your heartrate going you’re just moving in perpetual motion. Lauren Cooper from Cyclemedia.org is a professional cyclist. She defines active exercise as “ vigorous, sustained, repetitive use of the major leg muscles.” It is important to exercise the entire body. She described the act as involving the heart, lungs and legs. Running from place to place is actively moving but if your body is participating in an active exercise activity you can create more stamina throughout the day. Most people feel if they work hard that that is enough. Lauren explains that hard work throughout the day stresses the body out for brief moments and usually without a warm-up. This can lead to stress on the body as well as the heart. Exercise should be stress relieving not inducing.

Targeted physical activity has so many benefits. Citihealth.com reports that research shows that aerobic exercise can reduce stiffening of the arteries. Reducing your risk of stroke. Exercise can increase the body’s ability to control its glucose level thereby reducing the risk of adult onset diabetes. Strength training can help your bones grow stronger, increase flexibility, improve strength and balance. The body needs its exercise to function properly. You need that 30, 20 or even 5 minutes to relax the body, stretch the muscles, raise the body temperature and don’t forget to breathe. It’s better to burn calories rather than burn yourself out.

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Beat Sleeplessness With Cycling


Copious amounts of sleep may cause lethargy, but nevertheless sleep  is still a man’s most important friend when it comes to reducing stroke and risk of heart disorders However, over 25% of population experience some sort of insomnia and all of us experience troubled nights at some point in our lives.

Out of several different activities tested in a research, cycling at 75% of your maximum heart rate, for 20 minutes, four times a week was found to be the most successful way of bringing your sleeping habits under control.

Cycling
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