Cholesterol and Homeopathy
Maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system is a significant part of maintaining a good quality of life. Cholesterol plays a vital role in getting cardiac diseases with more prevalence. Cholesterol is a waxy, fat like substance that the body needs to function normally. Cholesterol is naturally present in cell walls or membranes everywhere in the body, including the brain, nerves, muscles, skin, liver, intestines, and heart. The body uses cholesterol to produce many hormones, vitamin D, and the bile acids that help to digest fat. Our body takes only a small amount of cholesterol in the blood to meet these needs. If a person has too much cholesterol in the bloodstream, the excess may be deposited in arteries especially the coronary arteries of the heart.
Cholesterol deposits are a component of the plaques that cause narrowing and blockage of the coronary arteries, producing ischemic heart disorders. Cholesterol plaques can rupture, resulting in a blood clot formation that completely blocks the artery, stopping all blood flow and causing a heart attack, during which heart muscle cells die from lack of oxygen and nutrients. Being insoluble in blood, cholesterol is carried in the blood by molecules called lipoproteins. A lipoprotein is any complex or compound containing both lipid (fat) and protein. The three main types are:
- LDL (low density lipoprotein) – also named as bad cholesterol, because of its bad effect on the heart. LDL carries cholesterol from the liver to cells. If too much is carried, and there is too much cholesterol for the cells to use, there can be a harmful rise of LDL. This lipoprotein can increase the risk of arterial disease by getting deposited on the walls of the arteries which makes blood vessels hard and narrow, if levels rise too high.
- HDL (high density lipoprotein) – also known as good cholesterol, because of its good effect on the heart. Experts say HDL prevents arterial disease. HDL does the opposite of LDL - HDL takes the cholesterol away from the cells and back to the liver. In the liver, it is either broken down or expelled from the body as waste.
- VLDL cholesterol (very low density lipoprotein) has the highest amount of triglycerides. VLDL is the smallest mass of lipoproteins produced by the liver from carbohydrates, after which it is carried to other tissues for storage.
Triglycerides - these are the chemical forms in which most fat exists in the body, as well asin food. They are present in the blood plasma. Triglycerides, in association with cholesterol, form the plasma lipids (blood fat). Triglycerides in the plasma originate either from fats in our food, or are made in the body from other energy sources, such as carbohydrates. Calories we consume but are not used immediately by our tissues are converted into triglycerides and stored in fat cells. When your body needs energy and there is no food as an energy source, triglycerides will be released from fat cells and used as energy - hormones control this process.
Total cholesterol is the sum of LDL + HDL + VLDL.
High cholesterol Causes
High cholesterol is typically due to a combination of environmental and genetic factors.
- High cholesterol is often found to run in families. Familial hypercholesterolemia is an inherited form of high cholesterol that may lead to early heart disease.
- Environmental factors include: Obesity and dietary choices.
- Smoking and sedentary lifestyle can also raise cholesterol levels.
- Diet has an important effect on blood cholesterol but the size of this effect varies substantially between individuals. Foods rich in saturated fats like meat, chicken, eggs, oil, etc. will raise LDL cholesterol levels.
- Secondary causes include diabetes mellitus type 2, obesity, nephrotic syndrome, obstructive jaundice, hypothyroidism, Cushing’s syndrome, anorexia nervosa etc.
- Altered oestrogen levels may increase LDL Cholesterol levels in women during Pregnancy and Post-menopausal.
- Drinking too much alcohol can damage the liver and heart muscle, lead to high blood pressure, and raise triglyceride levels.
- Several studies have shown that mental stress raises blood cholesterol levels over the long term.
- Medications like thiazide diuretics, ciclosporin, glucocorticoids, beta blockers, retinoic acid, etc.
High cholesterol is a risk factor for other illnesses and by itself does not cause symptoms. Routine screening of blood may reveal elevated cholesterol levels in the blood. The National Cholesterol Education Program guidelines suggest that everyone aged 20 years and older should have their blood cholesterol level measured at least once every 5 years. It is best to have a blood test called a lipid profile to find out cholesterol numbers.
Management - Dietary Recommendations
Eat a diet low in fat – reduce fat intake to not more than 30 percent of total calories a day. Reduce intake of saturated fatty acids as it boosts blood cholesterol levels more than anything else we consume. Reduce the amount of salt fats intake to less than 10 percent of total daily calories .
- Reduce high cholesterol foods like meat, cakes, pastries, cookies, nuts, milk products, butter, ghee, sugary, and fried foods. Take less than 7% of daily caloric intake.
- Low sodium diet – Healthy normal adults are advised to consume not more than 2,400 mg of sodium daily.
- Eat more fibre, fruits and vegetables - Oatmeal, oat bran, rice, wheat bran and beans may help lower blood cholesterol levels. Fibre rich food may help to take cholesterol away before it can be absorbed into blood stream. Fruits and vegetables like oranges, bananas, potatoes and tomatoes supply a lot of potassium which may help control blood pressure.
- Choose good fats such as monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and omega-3 essential fatty acids.
- Fenugreek seeds can decrease LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, and increase HDL cholesterol levels. This is due to the high fibre content of the seed and its effect on reducing intestinal absorption of cholesterol. Using garlic in food is considered as traditional medicine for controlling cholesterol.
- People with higher triglycerides may benefit from a diet that is higher in monounsaturated fat and lower in carbohydrates, particularly simple sugars. A common source of monounsaturated fat is olive oil.
- Although exercise has little effect on LDL, aerobic exercise may improve insulin sensitivity, HDL, and triglyceride levels and may thus reduce the risk of heart disease. People who exercise and control their diet appear to be more successful with long-term lifestyle modifications that improve their heart risk profile.
- Moderate (1-2 drinks daily) alcohol intake increases HDL (good) cholesterol but does not lower LDL (bad) cholesterol. Drinking too much alcohol can damage the liver and heart muscle, lead to high blood pressure, and raise triglyceride levels. Because of the risks, alcoholic beverages should not be used as a way to prevent heart disease.
- Quit Smoking – Smoking may lower HDL cholesterol and seems to increase blood pressure level quick.
High blood cholesterol is supposed to be a constitutional disease, so treatment also should be constitutional. Normal levels can be absolutely attained and maintained with Homoeopathic treatment. In Homoeopathy, medicines are highly individualized to the patient and this will help lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, raise HDL cholesterol, inhibit the formation of plaque, lower high blood pressure, detoxify the body, and also enhance immunity system. Homoeopathic remedies can help maintain cardiovascular function and a healthier circulatory system.
There are numerous homeopathy remedies which are quite helpful to treat the symptoms and condition related to abnormal cholesterol level. For constitutional treatment consult a qualified homeopath.
Self-medication is not advisable.