Cholesterol can be both good and bad, so it is important to learn the truth from the myths as they can affect your treatment and prevention strategies. Understanding the facts about cholesterol can help you effectively manage your blood cholesterol levels, thus lowering your chances of developing heart disease, such as heart attack and stroke. Here are some common myths and misconception about cholesterol.
- Cholesterol is always a bad thing
As mentioned before, cholesterol can be good and bad for you. In fact our body needs cholesterol to function properly. It is needed to maintain cell walls and aids in the production of certain hormones. Cholesterol only becomes a problem when too much of it circulates in the bloodstream and builds up inside artery walls, leading to a condition known as atherosclerosis. If too much cholesterol builds up, that artery becomes blocked, and a heart attack or stroke can occur.
- Using margarine instead of butter will help lowering blood cholesterol levels
Margarine is made from vegetable oils, so it contains no cholesterol, unlike butter, which made from dairy products. However, margarine contains trans fat which can raise your LDL (bad) cholesterol. So use them in moderation.
- People with high cholesterol should avoid eating shrimps and eggs
It’s true that eggs have a lot of dietary cholesterol – about 213 mg, which is more than two-thirds of the American Heart Association’s recommended limit of 300 mg a day. But dietary cholesterol is not nearly as dangerous as was once thought. Only some of the cholesterol in food ends up as cholesterol in your bloodstream, and if your dietary cholesterol intake rises, the body compensates by producing less cholesterol of its own. The good news is you can have eggs a few times a week. In fact, eggs are an excellent source of protein and unsaturated fat, a good type of fat.
- Thin people don’t have high cholesterol
Any type of body can have high cholesterol. While people who are overweight are more likely to have high cholesterol, but thin people may also have high cholesterol so be sure to have your cholesterol checked regularly.
- Young people won’t have high cholesterol
It is a good idea to start having your cholesterol checked at an early age. Even children, particularly those in families with a history of heart disease, can have high cholesterol levels. Physical inactivity, poor dietary habits and genetics can all affect a child’s cholesterol levels. You are never too young to develop a heart healthy lifestyle by eating foods that are high in fiber, getting physical activity on most or all of the day, and avoid smoking. Learn more about how to keep your cholesterol within a healthy range.
- Only men have high cholesterol
Although premenopausal women tend to be protected from high LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, as they approach menopause their HDL (good) cholesterol levels rises. Healthy eating and exercise are not enough to keep their cholesterol from rising. Also, cholesterol issues can be hereditary, so even young women should start getting a cholesterol test at age 20.