The WHO defines cholesterol as a natural fatty substance present in all cells of the human body, necessary for the normal functioning of the organism. It is a fat (or lipid) that is formed in the liver from fatty foods. The paradox of cholesterol is that, being necessary for the normal functioning of the organism and also omnipresent, (since it is present in the outer layer of all its cells) when it is too abundant it becomes dangerous in itself, contributing to produce risk cardiovascular and/or cerebrovascular.
1. What is the difference between cholesterol known as “good” and “bad”?
Cholesterol in the body has two origins: endogenous, which is produced by the body itself, mainly by the liver; and the exogenous acquired through food. 75% of our cholesterol is endogenous –produced by the liver– and only 25% comes from the diet. Because it is a fatty substance, cholesterol does not dissolve in the blood. So, to travel through the bloodstream and reach peripheral tissues, cholesterol needs a carrier. The lipoproteins produced in the liver are responsible for this function. There are several types of cellular fat in our body, namely: HDL cholesterol (high density lipoproteins), which has a high-density lipoprotein, and is known as “good” because it transports cholesterol from other parts of the body to the liver, which, in turn, discards it in the feces without passing into blood. And LDL cholesterol (low density lipoproteins) or low-density lipoproteins, which is commonly known as the “bad” cholesterol, transports cholesterol to the tissues and when there is excess it can accumulate on the walls of veins and arteries as atherosclerotic plaques, which that causes atherosclerosis with high risk of cardiovascular accident.
2. What is dyslipidemia?
Increased cholesterol levels. For many years, in biochemical analyses, the degree of dyslipidemia was evaluated through total cholesterol values. However, as we have seen, there is bad cholesterol and good cholesterol, which makes their joint evaluation inefficient. Currently, total cholesterol is less valuable than individual HDL and LDL levels. As dyslipidemia is one of the main risk factors for cardiovascular diseases, medicine has tried to establish, through studies, what the optimal levels of HDL and LDL cholesterol are.
3. Are there any risk factors for this increase in cholesterol level?
Yes, you must have other risk factors to know the causes of dyslipidemia, such as smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, sedentary lifestyle…
4. And can we control it? As?
The first nursing intervention will be to start working with the patient on how to achieve adherence to treatment of healthy habits, where the three pillars of a healthy life come into play, which are: nutrition, hydration and movement. In other words, we must do regular non-stressful exercise, avoid added sugar and refined carbohydrates, lose weight, choose healthy fats such as virgin olive oil, avoid eating red meat, eat oily fish rich in omega-fatty acids. 3, reduce the amount of alcohol until it disappears, stay well hydrated with water or vegetable broth, and try to do at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day of the week.