Does stress cause high cholesterol? Yes! here are 2 simple ways to beat it!

by Editorial Team
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Why does stress cause high cholesterol?

Many people ask themselves or others, “Does stress cause high cholesterol?” and you may be familiar with the phrase “fight-or-flight response”. It is the response by the body caused by the presence of threatening events. Gradual stress causes high cholesterol levels. When you are stressed, your body prepares for defense against the stressing situation. Your body maintains the response process as long as the stress exists. In case you are always under pressure, the body remains attentive, assuming it is required to be prepared for fight or flight throughout.

Correlation between stress and cholesterol

In order to know how and whether stress causes high cholesterol, it is important to note the connection between cholesterol and stress. Stress may be said to be an indirect cause of high cholesterol in the body. When you are stressed, you fail to follow healthy meal plans that increase your weight undesirably. Men are the most affected by this. Similarly, work-based stress puts you at high chances of suffering from high cholesterol. Long term stress leads to high levels of cortisol; this may be the process through which stress can raise cholesterol levels. Hormone Adrenaline that stimulates “fight-or-flight” response may be produced to deal with the stress.

How the body reacts to stress

In case you encounter stress, your body spontaneously gets the heart, muscles and other energy generating organs ready for fight-or-flee response. Your body will undergo particular reactions whether you decide to flee from the threat or encounter the threat. The body will produce adrenaline hormone, norepinephrine, and cortisol. Hormone epinephrine stimulates the heart vigour, hence the rapid heartbeat, faster breathing and elevated blood pressure.

Cortisol triggers the release of fatty acids and glucose to your blood and muscles to be used as a source of energy. High levels of cortisol prevail until you are completely done with the stressing factor. Occasionally, stress may take a more extended period or fail to go down. These elements contribute to elevated cholesterol levels in the body. The importance of the mind causes the ‘bad’ cholesterol, low-density-lipoprotein (LDL), and triglycerides. Consequently, it reduces the levels of the ‘good’ cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL).

Breaking the Chain of Stress-Related Cholesterol

Looking at this process backwards, we realize that stress is a harmful stimulant that causes high cholesterol. Therefore, we should strive to interrupt this process which may cause heart complications and hypertension. Our response to stress is one of the ways through which lipid levels build up in the body. We can, therefore, conclude reducing our reactions to pressure will enhance one’s well-being. People should seek ways of managing stress effectively to stay away from high cholesterol-related complications. For instance, one can share out their problems for assistance. A problem shared is half solved.

Treating and managing high cholesterol

Routine physical workouts and taking a balanced diet is the necessary precautionary measure in response to high levels of cholesterol. In case you have embraced them, but high levels of cholesterol persist, your doctor may advise medical treatment.

The doctor opts for a particular medication or a combination depending on the age, state of health, potential undesirable effects of a drug and one’s risk elements. Here are some of the options:

Medications

Statins

Statins work by inhibiting a substance that the liver requires to produce cholesterol. As a consequence, the liver takes up cholesterol from your blood. The drug is used to rectify coronary artery disease since it helps one’s body to reabsorb accumulated cholesterol reserves from the walls of the arteries. Available options are atorvastatin (Lipitor), rosuvastatin (Crestor), simvastatin (Zocor), pitavastatin (Livalo), fluvastatin (Lescol XL), pravastatin (Pravachol) and lovastatin (Altoprev).

Bile-acid-binding resins

Bile acids are important in the digestion process. Bile acids are made in your liver, and cholesterol is used in the process. These medications bind to bile acids, triggering your liver to use more and more cholesterol in order to meet bile-acids deficit. By doing so, cholesterol levels potentially decrease. Examples of such medications include colesevelam (Welchol), colestipol (Colestid) and cholestyramine (Prevalite).

Cholesterol absorption inhibitors

The small intestine carries dietary cholesterol to your blood. Ezetimibe (Zetia) is a drug that works by hindering cholesterol absorption from one’s diet, thus decreasing cholesterol level in the blood. Doctors may choose to give a combination of Ezetimibe and a statin.

Inject-able medications 

Latest findings entail a drug that makes your liver take up higher levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol which in turn reduces the quantity of cholesterol flowing in the blood. These drugs are called PCSK9 inhibitors. This option is favorable for people with inherited conditions that lead to extremely elevated levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol. It can also be given to people who cannot tolerate all cholesterol treatments and have a background of heart disease. Evolocumab (Repatha) and alirocumab (Praluent) are types of PCSK9 inhibitors that your doctor can recommend. 

Changing Habitual Response To Stress

In our day to day lives, stress may pop up without us planning, then how do we deal with stress? You will find people engaging in toxic activities like excessive eating, drinking too much liquor, smoking and leading a sedentary life with the aim of releasing stress. All these may not take the stress away as planned, instead, they put you at risk of developing high cholesterol levels. We should look for safer ways of managing stress so as to reduce any chances of developing high cholesterol and cardiac disease. 

In summary….

Stress is a normal feeling of being unable to withstand certain challenges in life. Some of the challenges like marital instability, job pressure and financial strain just to mention a few may impart stress on us. Too much stress over a long time might put us at risk of developing health complications. Stress indirectly causes increased levels of cholesterol posing danger to our well-being. If not addressed early, one may require medical intervention. We should maintain proper ways of living to safeguard our wellness. It is, therefore, advisable to seek amicable means of managing stress to keep away from high cholesterol and high blood pressure. 

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