Cholesterol in Adolescents

Parts of adolescent’s body are filled with a waxy stuff identified as cholesterol. It helps to produce vitamin D, cell membranes and certain hormones. Blood cholesterol comes from two different sources, liver within the body and food. The adolescent’s liver produces enough cholesterol to carry out proper functioning.

The blood acts as the carrier of cholesterol and transports it to different parts of the body. They are transported in round particle form known as lipoproteins.

There are two types of lipoproteins called the low density lipoproteins or LDL and high density lipoproteins or HDL. Low density lipoprotein or LDL cholesterol is commonly known as bad cholesterol. It helps in the building up of plaque in arteries and this condition is known as atherosclerosis.

The LDL level must be low in the blood and if it is high it must be decreased. Healthy weight must be maintained and exercise should be done regularly. Food items which have high contents of calories, dietary cholesterol and saturated fat must be avoided.

High density lipoprotein or HDL cholesterol is the good cholesterol. It is actually a kind of fat in blood which helps to remove bad cholesterol from the body and stops the build up of plaque in the arteries. The more the HDL cholesterol in the blood the better it is.

The HDL can be raised by at least twenty minutes of exercising daily, decreasing body mass and keeping away from food with saturated fat. Some adolescents need to take medications in order to increase HDL. In such cases, increasing HDL can be a complicated procedure and the physician can make a therapeutic plan to increase HDL in the blood stream.

Cholesterol screening helps to determine the cholesterol and fat levels in the blood. Children and adolescents with normal cholesterol level is a thing of the past. Because of the changing lifestyle and junk food trend, even they have a high risk to develop high levels of cholesterol which also increases the risk of developing heart diseases which can affect the blood vessels and the coronary arteries.

The main cause of this change is obesity, junk food high in fat, fast food diets, sedentary lifestyle and high cholesterol level in family history. Keeping the blood cholesterol levels at normal is a good way of avoiding high blood pressure and coronary artery diseases.

The blood cholesterol level can vary from individual to individual. Healthy levels of LDL is less than one hundred and thirty milligrams, HDL is greater than thirty five milligrams. If the HDL is less than thirty five milligrams then the adolescent is at a higher risk of developing heart diseases. And LDL more than one hundred and thirty milligrams is dangerous.

But a high level of LDL cholesterol is a problem in many citizens of America. And there is an expected increase in number, the figure is unknown, of adolescents who have a family history of high cholesterol levels.

An adolescent or a child who has a parent having high levels of blood cholesterol and family history of heart diseases at an early age, should take cholesterol test from the age of two. Adolescents who are obese also should have lipid test along with cholesterol test. The lipid test shows levels of kinds of fats in blood such as triglycerides, LDL and HDL.

Cardiac Diet for Healthy Cholesterol and Weight Loss

By Tess Thompson

Cholesterol, a lipid found in cell membranes of tissues, can be a cause of concern for health conscious people since high levels can cause major health issues. Cholesterol is insoluble in blood and is carried in the circulatory system by lipoproteins. Low density lipoproteins or LDL builds up cholesterol in the arteries. High density lipoproteins or HDL takes cholesterol out of the blood. Abnormally higher levels of LDL and lower levels of functional HDL are strongly associated with cardiovascular disease, the harbinger of myocardial infarction, stroke and peripheral vascular disease.

Most of the cholesterol is synthesized by the liver itself. This proportion of the cholesterol in the body is not affected by the type of food that we eat. However, a substantial quantity of cholesterol is also derived from the food we eat and therefore can be managed with proper diet.

Even though healthy diet choices can keep the arteries free of cholesterol, we pay minimal attention to what eat when we are young. The reality check on cholesterol generally occurs after the age of forty when the harm has already been done. By this age, we are so accustomed to a particular diet that it becomes difficult, if not impossible to change over to a diet that is heart-friendly.

Unlike the so-called healthy weight loss plans that are inclined towards slimness with no regard to nutritional needs, the cardiac diet is based on sound medical principles. The diet proposes gradual and natural weight loss with focus on reducing the risk of heart disease or stroke by promoting weight loss . It aims at managing cholesterol levels through dietary modifications and a move towards a more active lifestyle. Though the diet is primarily meant for those who have, unfortunately, experienced cardiac problems, doctors recommend that the diet should also be adopted by those at a higher risk of heart disease (due to hereditary or genetic reasons).

The target of the diet is to lose weight since obesity increases the risk of a heart disease to a large extent. It also aims at maintaining healthy levels of HDL and LDL.

The cardiac diet recommends choosing healthier foods and does not promote the denial of a specific food group. Some of the choices that you can make are:

– Whole grain breads and low fat rolls over butter rolls and commercial doughnuts.

– Vegetables, frozen or fresh, over fried vegetables with cream or butter.

– All types of fruits except coconut or avocado. Fruits in cream or custard are recommended.

– Lean meat (three ounces of meat is sufficient for daily requirement of proteins) instead of prime and fatty meats.

– Low fat dairy products in place of whole milk and yoghurt.

– Home made low fat soups in place of cream soups.

– Home made deserts with recommended oils rather than high sugar foods like candies, chocolates and brownies.

– Adoption of cooking mediums like canola, olive and soybean oils as against solid fats, butter and gravy with meat fat.

– All beverages, including alcohol are allowed in moderation except for those containing fats, salts and egg yolks.

The cardiac diet is about a balanced diet with recommended ratios of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. There is an equal emphasis on exercise depending upon tolerance levels. A 10-15 minute walk before breakfast and dinner is recommended even for those who already have a cardiac condition.