Thursday, June 1, 2023



 In France, nearly 20% of the adult population has hypercholesterolemia, ie an excess of cholesterol in the blood. How to control your cholesterol level? Answers.
Hypercholesterolemia corresponds to a total cholesterol level that is too high in the blood compared to the limit recommended by medical authorities. It is then necessary to change your habits to lower the rate and it is best to consult your doctor.

What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a fat (or lipid) that circulates in the blood. Two-thirds of it is made by the liver from protein, fatty acids and carbohydrates. We then speak of endogenous origin.
The final third comes from the animal foods we eat such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy products. We then speak of exogenous origin. 

Cholesterol plays several major roles in the body: it participates in the production of cell membranes, contributes to the production of many hormones such as testosterone and estrogen. It synthesizes vitamin D , helps the liver to manufacture the bile acids essential for the digestion of dietary fats and it also participates in the proper functioning of the nervous system.

Cholesterol is therefore essential for the proper functioning of our body. Everything lies in the balance between "good" and "bad" cholesterol in our body: an excess of "bad" cholesterol compared to "good" cholesterol can jeopardize our cardiovascular health and ultimately increase the risk of disorders. cardiovascular. 

Good and bad cholesterol: how to tell them apart?

Insoluble in the blood and composed mainly of water, cholesterol needs vehicles, called "carriers", to reach the various organs. There are two types, low density lipoproteins (VLDL and LDL) and high density lipoproteins (HDL). The first correspond to the "bad" and the second, to the "good" cholesterol.

VLDL and LDL or “bad cholesterol”:

Composed of cholesterol and triglycerides (another form of lipid), lipoproteins called VLDL carry cholesterol on the go. The whole leaves the liver, where it is produced, in the form of "clusters" whose size is reduced as they release into the blood, triglyceride fats used as fuel by the cells. Triglycerides are stored in fatty tissue, where they constitute an energy reserve, and in the muscles to be burned during physical activity. Once rid of triglycerides, VLDL transporters become LDL, whose role this time is to transport cholesterol to the cells that need it. They are the ones that contain the highest concentration of cholesterol and are called “bad” cholesterol.

HDL or “good cholesterol”:

HDLs are the return path carriers. They owe their name of “good” cholesterol to the fact that they help to recover the superfluous bad cholesterol, stuck to the walls of the arteries. Cholesterol is transported to the liver where it is transformed and then eliminated. HDLs therefore protect the arteries by preventing them from becoming clogged.

Hypercholesterolemia: what is it?

Hypercholesterolemia is when  the level of total cholesterol in the blood is too high . If the liver produces too much cholesterol or if the food provides too much, the excess is deposited in the tissues and on the walls of the blood vessels where it then contributes to form thick and hard deposits, called atherosclerotic plaques. These plaques are due to oxidized LDL-cholesterol. The arteries gradually clog and become less flexible.

Hypercholesterolemia is often accompanied by elevated blood triglyceride levels. These fats are produced by the liver and provided by food (especially sugars and alcohol). They are stored in the fatty tissue of the human body and represent the body's largest energy reserve. A high level of triglycerides in the blood increases the risk of occurrence of

How does hypercholesterolemia manifest?

There is no warning sign to know if you are affected by hypercholesterolemia. It is possible to have too much cholesterol, and still feel great. In the majority of cases, hypercholesterolemia is discovered too late, when cardiovascular disorders appear.

Hence the importance of regularly checking your cholesterol level. The right rhythm? Every 5 years, from age 40 for men and from age 50 for women.
To know your cholesterol level, a blood test is enough. The lipid profile indicates the complete dosage of all the fats in the blood: the total cholesterol level, the LDL ("bad" cholesterol), the HDL ("good" cholesterol) and the triglycerides. The dosage is indicated in mmol per liter of blood or in g/l

What are the causes of hypercholesterolemia?

In general, high cholesterol is the result of a diet that is too high in fat.
However, other parameters may be involved: genetics (we then speak of familial hypercholesterolemia), certain diseases such as type 2 diabetes, family lifestyle habits, the intake of synthetic hormones or certain medications, in particular those used against high blood pressure.
Certain factors such as stress, smoking and obesity can also make high cholesterol worse.

How to lower your cholesterol level? 

A healthy diet low in saturated fat:

The first objective is to lower the level of bad cholesterol by monitoring the quantity and nature of the fats consumed. In small amounts, some fats are beneficial to health. Others, on the other hand, are much less so. This is the case of fats found in foods of animal origin (charcuterie, cheese), in industrial sweet preparations or in palm oil. It is advisable to favor vegetable fats such as olive or rapeseed oil. It is also recommended to give pride of place to cholesterol-lowering foods such as fruits and vegetables, legumes and whole grains. These sources of fiber make it possible to capture cholesterol and eliminate part of it in the stool.

Regular physical activity:

Combined with a healthy and balanced diet, physical activity is a pillar of cholesterol balance. Sport acts as a consumer of cholesterol and participates in the use of fat as muscle fuel. The simplest activities like walking or swimming are very effective, the most important being regularity.