For proper functioning, your body requires lipids, also known as cholesterol which is produced by the liver or contained in some foods. Cholesterol on its own doesn’t cause any health symptoms, though in excess it could cause complications like heart disease. To move around the body, cholesterol combines with proteins, to create a “lipoprotein”. Lipoproteins are of two types, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) which is considered the good cholesterol as it carries cholesterol from the cells and back to the liver or it is expelled out of the body as waste. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) on the other hand carries cholesterol to the cells.
If too much cholesterol is taken to the cells, it builds up on the walls of the arteries which in turn cause artery related diseases. Cholesterol levels are determined by carrying out a blood test and many people have high levels than it should be. For this reason, scientists have tried many ways of helping people lower those level and the most recent is coming up with a vaccine to prevent high cholesterol.
How the Vaccine Works
The newly developed vaccine performs by targeting the protein in charge of managing cholesterol levels in the body, PCSK9. As tests carried out in mice and monkeys have shown, the vaccine is more effective in lowering cholesterol levels than the statins making it a better option.
The vaccine targets the PCSK9 making it non-functional and hence lowering LDL and triglycerides cholesterol levels in the body. The vaccine works effectively than the satins as it has virus-like particles which resemble PCSK9 protein. This confuses the body making it think the protein is a foreign material and hence produces antibodies to fight it. So far the vaccine has shown 55% effective compared to 30% effectiveness of statins. Many drug makers have embraced the use of this protein in the production of drugs to fight cholesterol and especially after satins showed to have several side effects to the users.
Determining Your Cholesterol Levels
To know your cholesterol levels both for HDL, LDL, and triglycerides, you need to go for a blood test. Triglycerides are body fats which are transformed from any extra calories from any food you eat. These fats are stored in fat cells and the body uses them in between meals. If your body is producing more triglycerides than it is burning, you get high levels of triglycerides, which is harmful to your body.
A blood test is done by drawing blood from your arm which is taken to the laboratory for testing. The results are usually milligrams per deciliter of blood which your doctor should interpret to you. Depending on the results of the test, your doctor will advise you on what measures to take. Adults of 20 years and above who have not been diagnosed with any cardiovascular problem in the past are advised to go for cholesterol test once after every five years. For those who have been diagnosed with heart-related diseases, their checkup might be regular as advised by their physicians. These regular checkups are important in ensuring you maintain cholesterol levels checked.
What Causes High Cholesterol?
Many people are surprised when they go to have cholesterol level test and they are told their levels are high. The question that arises in such case what could be the possible of high cholesterol levels? There are many factors that cause this, the major one being a poor lifestyle which determines the amount of fat in the body and how it circulates throughout the body.
Some of the poor lifestyle methods that can lead to high levels of cholesterol and triglycerides include smoking, alcohol intake, high fat saturated diet, lack of exercise, large waist circumference, and obesity. Cholesterol levels can also be caused by medical factors such as type 2 diabetes, liver problems, and kidney complications and hypothyroid. Some medications are also capable of increasing your cholesterol levels like antidepressants, immunosuppressants, and steroids. Natural causes such as old age and menopause can also impact on the levels of cholesterol.
Measures to Manage Cholesterol Levels
Instead of looking forward to using the new cholesterol vaccine and relying on it, it is important to apply some measures to help you manage cholesterol in the body.
- Eat Right – The first step is maintaining a healthy cholesterol free diet. There are many healthy and delicious recipes that you can use to maintain your cholesterol levels at the right level. Low-fat foods and swapping saturated fats with whole grains and fruits is one way that you can manage cholesterol or prevent it from recurring.
- Cut Out Health Risks – Some bad habits such as smoking and too much alcohol intake should be minimized and finally done away with if you want to live healthy without risking getting heart disease caused by high cholesterol.
- Exercise – Keeping fit through regular exercising is another way to keep your health in check. It burns off the excess fat and your arteries free of cholesterol.
What to Remember
You might feel that the above measures are not effective in reducing your cholesterol levels, in such a case you should consider talking to your doctor. The doctor might prescribe drugs such as statins bit with the new invention of cholesterol vaccine; it is highly important to have PCSK9 nine drugs prescribed.
Unlike statins, these drugs are not only effective but have limited side effects. Unless you have inherited cholesterol problem, you can always improve your lifestyle, LDL, and triglycerides will never be a problem for you to worry about. By eating healthy, stopping smoking, hitting the gym, running off to burn the fat and cutting down your alcohol intake, you can manage good cholesterol levels. Regular exercises not only help manage cholesterol, they also help keep a physically fit and admirable body.
Sourced from: time.com
Featured Image Source: Thinkstock / luiscarPosted on May 5, 2023