High cholesterol, medically called hypercholesteremia, can lead to a number of serious complications. Most young men might assume that they have years or even decades before having to worry about their cholesterol. But studies suggest that the risk of heart disease from high cholesterol, for example – can start as early as age 30s.
Cholesterol, a waxy & fat-like substance, is actually needed by the body. It can be found in all cells of the body to help serve some functions. For examples, it’s required to help make vitamin D, particular hormones, and substances to help digest foods.
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It cannot dissolve in the water. So it needs particles called lipoproteins. As the name suggests, lipoproteins consist of protein on the outside and lipid (fat) on the inside. Cholesterol attaches to these particles to travel through the body.
You have two main lipoproteins;
- LDL (low-density lipoproteins), also called ‘bad’ cholesterol, is dangerous for your cardiovascular system. High LDL will cause a buildup of cholesterol and form a plaque in your arteries.
- HDL (high-density lipoproteins), sometimes called ‘good’ cholesterol, can help carry excess cholesterol back to the liver for elimination. High HDL can help keep your heart and arteries healthy.
Having normal, healthy levels of both LDL and HDL is important. But there are a number of factors that can affect this balance and lead to high cholesterol in your blood. One of the main ones is your poor diet.
You can get cholesterol from your diet. Even some foods contain it a lot. Since your body can make almost all the cholesterol it needs, you have to restrict your dietary cholesterol. Foods high in saturated fats (typically found in animal products such as full-fat dairy products and red meat) are the leading cause.
Other factors that can increase your risk of high cholesterol are as follows:
- Sedentary lifestyle. It’s important to keep active to boost your overall health, including for the balance of your LDL and HDL. Exercise is your HDL booster. On the other hand, lack of exercise can make your LDL easier to rise.
- Being obese, BMI is greater than 29. More excess pounds you gain throughout your life, the greater risk of developing high cholesterol as you age.
- It’s also important to watch on your waist scale! Even though if you’re a thin individual, your large waist circumstance is still dangerous. See also risks associated with belly fat and large waist in here!
- Diabetes, a chronic disorder of glucose metabolism. High blood sugar can contribute to lower HDL and higher LDL.
- Cigarette smoking may cause lower HDL. Furthermore, exposure to tobacco smoke can hurt your artery’s wall, making it likely to accumulate fatty deposits.
High cholesterol doesn’t have early signs and symptoms, thus it can kill you silently. Many times, people don’t realize when they have it.
In general, it’s recommended to check it at least every 5 years. But if you have many risk factors of the condition, your doctor may ask you to check it more frequently.
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Cholesterol levels do rise with age. Older men are relatively easier to have a spike in their blood cholesterol than younger men. But this doesn’t mean that young men can ignore their cholesterol.
A study published in AHA journal circulation suggests that even slightly high level of cholesterol in men at the ages of 35 to 55 will carry long-term negative impact for their heart health. If the level is not controlled as well, this may increase the risk of heart disease by about 39 % for every decade.
The number of years with poorly-controlled high cholesterol could be as dangerous as the number of ‘pack years’ you have spent for smoking (if you’re a smoker). And it seems what you’re doing in your arteries in 20s and 30s is lying the foundation for health problem that will present itself later in your life.
Unfortunately, most young men often ignore this issue. Many times, they think that it is only for seniors. They may not feel the urgency of prevention and treatment for high cholesterol, because they usually think that they can cope with it later. But if they wait too long, it could be late.
The serious complication of higher LDL and lower HDL can take years or even decades to develop. High cholesterol will not kill you today or tomorrow! But most experts agree that it’s never too soon for young men to start taking preventive steps – this is particularly true after age 34. Early prevention is always worth a try.
The good news, there are plenty of ways to control it. For men 30s, the following are the most effective ways to prevent and control high cholesterol: