LIFESTYLE NEWS - Understanding the relationship between cholesterol and weight can seem complicated, especially when you consider that there is good and bad cholesterol and that your body actually needs a small amount of cholesterol.
Many people have too much “bad” cholesterol, called LDL. This can happen when you eat too much saturated fat, found mainly in foods from animals. If your LDL levels are too high, plaque can build up in your arteries which can lead to heart disease. The “good” cholesterol, known as HDL, can help to clear LDL from the blood.
To boost HDL levels, people should exercise regularly, avoid smoking and maintain a healthy weight. Besides improving your HDL levels, avoiding obesity can reduce the risk for heart disease and many other health conditions.
While overweight people don’t all automatically have higher cholesterol, carrying extra weight can make you more likely to get high cholesterol as well as high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes.
Dr Alkesh Magan, a specialist Physician/Endocrinologist at Sandton Medi-Clinic, confirms there is a definite link between belly fat and cholesterol, but says that while losing weight can help lower bad cholesterol levels, these levels may not normalise completely in all people.
Cholesterol is always linked to cardiovascular disease, which can affect many organs including the heart and the brain. Dr Magan also stresses that the biggest dangers of high cholesterol, especially when it is undetected, are heart attack and stroke.