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Cholesterol and stress relationship

Stress And Cholesterol Levels: What You Need To Know


The human body is capable of handling a certain amount of stress. However, when that stress is constant and relentless, it can take a toll on our physical and mental health. One of the ways that stress manifests itself is through high cholesterol levels.

Cholesterol is a waxy substance that is found in the fats (lipids) in our blood. It is essential for the proper function of our cells, but when levels get too high, it can lead to a number of health problems.

There are two types of cholesterol: low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL). LDL is the “bad” cholesterol because it builds up plaque in our arteries, which can lead to heart disease. HDL, on the other hand, is the “good” cholesterol because it helps remove LDL from our arteries.

It’s important to keep our cholesterol levels in check because too much LDL can lead to a number of health problems, such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. In this article, we are going to see the link between stress and cholesterol levels.

How Does Stress Affect Cholesterol Levels?

Did you know that stress has similar impact to to diet in influencing cholesterol levels? As strange as it may sound, this statement is very true. There have been studies that prove this observation. One of those studies was conducted by checking the cholesterol levels of students around the exam time while keeping their diet unchanged. The result was an increase in cholesterol levels due to an increase in stress levels.

Are you caught up in modern life style? Do you have a mix of crazy work deadlines, household responsibilities and family needs; perhaps car problems or some bills that need urgent payment? You need to be very careful. Medical researchers have now discovered a link between periods of severe stress and increased cholesterol levels. That’s right, your hectic ‘stressful lifestyle’ might be boosting the levels of tiny fat particles in your bloodstream.

That’s not all, though. Additionally, stress can have a significant, unintended impact on your cholesterol. Stress-related unhealthy lifestyle choices like binge eating, smoking, or being a couch potato can increase levels of LDL (bad cholesterol) and lower levels of HDL (good cholesterol). Healthy cholesterol can be buried by gaining weight, consuming a lot of meals high in saturated fats, smoking, and staying inactive.

The Link Between High Cholesterol and Heart Disease

High cholesterol is a common problem that can lead to serious health complications, such as heart disease. Cholesterol is a type of fat that is found in the blood. When there is too much cholesterol in the blood, it can build up on the walls of the arteries and form plaques. These plaques can narrow the arteries and make it difficult for blood to flow through. This can eventually lead to a heart attack or stroke.

As we have seen earlier, there are two types of cholesterol: LDL and HDL. LDL is the “bad” cholesterol that can build up on the artery walls. HDL is the “good” cholesterol that actually helps to remove LDL from the arteries.

Stress and cholesterol levels - HDL and LDL cholesterols
Types of Cholesterol

When LDL cholesterol levels are high and HDL cholesterol levels are low, it’s a major red flag for heart disease. That’s why it’s important to get your cholesterol checked regularly and to work with your doctor to keep it at a healthy level.

Managing Stress to Reduce Cholesterol Levels

In a recent study, 77% of individuals with high levels of stress were able to lower their blood pressure and cholesterol levels simply by training themselves to stay calm. It is possible that a bit of stress can be helpful, BUT that depends on how a person reacts to stress.

If stress leads to more eating, smoking, sitting, brooding and a more depressed mood – then stress may well be harmful. If it leads to more activity, walking, gardening, even fidgeting – that may be beneficial for your artery walls but not necessarily beneficial for you!

Steps that can help in managing stress levels

Well you really need to balance your overall cholesterol-lowering plan by learning how to manage your stressful lifestyle.

  • Make it a priority to manage your time and emotions. This can be achieved by freeing up time for the activities that really matter and also declining burdensome requests.
  • Be conscious of what you eat and when you eat. You need to be asking yourself if you are really hungry or you are just angry, lonely, tired, or frustrated.
  • Before you give in to emotional eating, see if the following may help you: Try waiting for a few minutes, eating a piece of fruit, taking a short walk, or calling a friend. If you are stressed by your hectic lifestyle at night, try sleeping.
  • Treat yourself whenever you can. Go for a swim, take a walk in the park, spend sometime in nature or get a massage. Make it a habit to do things that help your body and mind relax.
  • Spend quality time with family and friends.
  • Try your best to see the positives in any given circumstance. Lough out loud, be thankful of the little blessings you possess.
  • Set aside few minutes a day to close your eyes and focus gently on your breathing and on the positive things in your life.

Meditation and its benefits

Although meditation has long been known to offer health advantages, until recently its main aim was religious. It is currently being researched more as a means of lowering stress on the body and the mind.

Modern studies have found out that regular meditation has the following benefits:

  • Increase longevity and quality of life
  • Reduce chronic pain
  • Reduce high blood pressure
  • Reduce serum cholesterol level
  • Increase intelligence-related measures
  • Lower blood cortisol levels initially brought on by stress
Stress and Cholesterol levels - Effects of long term stress on cholesterol levels
Long-term stress raises cholesterol levels

Final thoughts

In conclusion, it is important to be aware of the relationship between stress and cholesterol levels. Stress can lead to higher cholesterol levels, which can in turn lead to health problems. There are many ways to manage stress, and it is important to find the method that works best for you. If you are concerned about your cholesterol levels, talk to your doctor. Sharing this article with others can also help them to understand the importance of managing stress.

Do you have any questions or suggestions? Share them on the reply. Thank you for reading

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