One of the causes that make pregnancy difficult to achieve is high cholesterol. Know the factors associated with high cholesterol and what to do to lower it.
The Mayo Clinic defined cholesterol as a waxy substance found in the blood that builds healthy cells. However, too much cholesterol can result in a risk of heart disease and reduce pregnancy chances.
A study conducted by the National Institutes of Health, the University at Buffalo, and Emory University in Atlanta, revealed that couples with high cholesterol might take a longer time to conceive. Before trying to get pregnant, some doctors recommend couples to have their cholesterol in the acceptable range.
High cholesterol affects the inner flow of the blood vessels resulting in an impairment in the normal blood flow. When this happens, cellular inflammation begins, which leads to an impairment in the metabolism, sex hormones, and overall circulation. It also affects the health of the egg and the sperm.
Factors linked to High Cholesterol
Several factors may lead to high cholesterol. Typically, there is no symptom associated with its elevation. This can only be detected through a blood test. It is crucial to monitor your cholesterol as early as now to make childbearing easier. Here are some factors that you need to know:
A poor diet can spike the bad cholesterol in the body.
Naturally, the body produces a needed amount of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), also known as bad cholesterol. However, it might spike if a person consumes foods that are very rich in cholesterol.
Examples of high cholesterol foods are saturated fat found in animal products, trans fat found in commercially baked cookies, crackers, and microwave popcorn. Red meat and full-fat dairy products are also foods that must be prevented or eaten in moderation.
Obesity is a condition when there are abnormal or excessive fats accumulated that are already dangerous to the health. An overweight person has a body mass index (BMI) that is over 25, while an obese is a person whose BMI is over 30.
In processing cholesterol, the body normally adjusts LDL cholesterol production. However, obesity increases the amount of LDL cholesterol that the liver produces. The best way to reduce LDL is through weight loss.
A chemical in the cigarette called acrolein affects how the body metabolizes cholesterol. It interferes with the high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol by attacking the protein. HDL, also known as good cholesterol, is responsible for collecting fatty deposits and returning them to the liver. Due to the interference, the bloodstream and the rest of the body accumulate more fats.
Not only does it interferes with HDL, but acrolein also affects LDL by hindering the protective enzyme that makes it intact. The molecular structure changes making it hard for the immune system to recognize the LDL. It causes inflammation and buildup that may result in heart attack and stroke.
If you want to get pregnant, it is advisable to quit smoking to prevent high cholesterol levels and avoid the dire consequences it may cause to your body. Some exercises and diets can help you to quit smoking.
High cholesterol is common in older people. The American Heart Association advises adults to have their cholesterol checked every 4 to 6 years. As a person ages, the cholesterol level usually increases.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP), more than 12% of adults age 20 and older had total cholesterol higher than 240 mg/dL, and more than 18% had HD cholesterol levels less than 40 mg/dL during 2015 to 2016.
Diabetes can cause an imbalance between HDL and LDL cholesterol levels. Glucose, a type of sugar, attaches to the lipoprotein making the LDL stick to the arteries. The LDL that is attached to the arteries damages the blood vessels' wall. Aside from that, the sugar-coated LDL stays longer in the bloodstream. Also, people with type 2 diabetes have lower HDL levels.
High blood sugar also results in higher levels of dangerous cholesterol called very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL). This type of cholesterol may result in clogged arteries leading to a heart attack.
Ways to Prevent High Cholesterol
Low cholesterol diet
Banana is a good source of fiber.
There are certain foods you can include in your diet that will lower your cholesterol levels. Soluble fibers prevent the digestive tract from absorbing cholesterol. Some of the foods that have high soluble fibers are whole grain cereals like oatmeal and oat bran. Fruits like apples, bananas, oranges, pears, and prunes are also high in fiber.
Fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids do not lower the LDL level but help raise the HDL level in the body. Some of the fish that are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids are salmon, tuna, and mackerel.
Walking is an exercise that can lower the cholesterol.
Exercises combined with dietary changes help in lowering LDL. It can also raise the HDL on the body and reduce the triglyceride. Triglyceride is the most common type of fat that the body uses for energy. However, a high level of triglyceride increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.
Some of the activities that could help the body lower cholesterol are walking, running, cycling, and some resistance training such as stomach crunches and squats. But you must bear in mind that exercises must be done in moderation, especially if you want to get pregnant.
Quitting smoking helps in starting a healthy lifestyle.
It is time to quit unhealthy lifestyles such as smoking and drinking. Yoga and other stress management techniques help stop these vices by renewing the mind and the body. There are also herbal medicines that have soothing effects.
Stress can also result in high cholesterol levels. The release of adrenaline caused by anxiety triggers triglycerides. If you are suffering from stress, you can have one-on-one counseling and practice activities that alleviate stress.
Dr. Yaron Seidman DAOM