High cholesterol and high blood pressure are the most common causes of heart diseases. The effects of the former actually can cause the latter. Together, they can do more damage to the heart. Though the difference between high blood pressure and high cholesterol is like day and night, there is a link between these two conditions.
To answer the question, high cholesterol is not the direct cause of high blood pressure. BUT, high cholesterol level in the blood CAN lead to high blood pressure. Though it may not be necessary, it is kind of an inevitable conclusion that many people come to.
What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a waxy, sticky substance that is an essentially useful substance in the body. It is useful for the making of hormones, vitamin D and bile for digestion. Our body is capable of making the cholesterol as it needed; it also comes from the diet. The dietary cholesterol increases the total cholesterol level by affecting the cholesterol synthesis in the liver. The excess cholesterol is insoluble in the blood and floats around through the blood affecting the overall quality of the blood.
What is blood pressure?
Blood pressure is the increased pressure with which the heart pumps the blood. It usually happens when there is some kind of obstacle in the blood vessels that reduces the blood flow. In order to keep up the blood flow, the heart pumps the blood harder, resulting in high blood pressure. Cholesterol buildup in the blood vessel walls is one of the common reasons for higher blood pressure.
The high cholesterol- high blood pressure link
High cholesterol and high blood pressure is a lethal team for the heart. When a person has both these conditions, the chances are higher for a coronary heart disease. These are dangerous even when they are present alone.
The link here is that a person may develop high blood pressure because of the high cholesterol level in the blood. The possibility here is higher since there are no symptoms to know the cholesterol level spike unless you do a blood test. So a person with a higher cholesterol level can live for years before encountering any kind of symptoms.
The symptoms that arise usually hint towards the blood pressure issue. Cholesterol buildup is the most likely cause of this high blood pressure. Cholesterol being a sticky substance can bind to the inner walls of the blood vessel forming a plaque. This can gradually thicken with further layers causing a major obstacle in the blood pathway.
Though there are several other reasons for elevated blood pressure, cholesterol is the most likely suspect and the most dangerous one as well. Since the plaque can thicken, blocking the path completely, it may even lead to heart attacks or strokes. The plaque formation could happen in any region of the body.
Why high cholesterol may not cause high blood pressure?
There are cases where people have high cholesterol levels but not high blood pressure. This is because not every type of cholesterol forms the plaque. It is the LDL that we call bad cholesterol that causes the plaque. If your high cholesterol level comprises more of the LDL, you are likely to get the plaque deposition.
The other variety in the total cholesterol, triglycerides, can also be dangerous for the heart as it causes the thickening of the arteries leading to heart diseases.
If it is the good cholesterol type, HDL that is higher, you may not get the plaque. It is the beneficial cholesterol that can control and reduce the other cholesterol types.
How can you reduce the high cholesterol level?
The liver makes cholesterol in the body. It also comes from the diet. The dietary cholesterol can increase the amount of cholesterol produced by the liver. So it is the diet that you need to concentrate on first and then look for ways to get rid of the cholesterol in the blood.
Cut off any food item that has high cholesterol content. Whole eggs, coconut oil, red meat, fatty fishes etc are high in cholesterol. Either reduce their consumption or completely cut them off the menu.
You can have the food that has a good amount of beneficial fats like omega fatty acids. These omega fatty acids help reduce the bad cholesterol and improve the good cholesterol levels. Cold fishes, avocados, olive oil etc are rich in these beneficial fatty acids.
Have a diet rich in fiber and protein. Fiber should include the soluble ones as well. Round oats are the best source of soluble fiber that can absorb the cholesterol from the blood and eliminate it.
Replace the dairy products with soy-based ones. Skimmed milk may be used if you cannot stay away from milk products.
Exercises improve the cholesterol level by reducing the triglycerides. Triglycerides are the energy storage packets of the body. Exercises require energy and these storage packets are used, which reduces the blood cholesterol level.
Exercises also increase the good cholesterol levels and reduce the bad cholesterol if you workout harder.
You need to spend at least 30 minutes to get the best results. The exercises must be at least 3-4 times in a week. The harder you work, better will be the results. But it is recommended to start low, short exercises and have patience.
Cholesterol may or may not cause high blood pressure. Since there are no symptoms of the high cholesterol levels, one needs to go for regular checkups after 20 yrs of old. Cholesterol has no age bar. The regular checkups help you maintain the health and help you know when you need to be cautious and start working out. Exercises and diet keep the cholesterol away and in turn reduces the blood pressure as well.