Heart disease is the leading cause of death around the world and high cholesterol levels is one of the main causes of heart disease.
Cholesterol is a wax like substance which is naturally present in your body and the body needs it for proper functioning. Build-up of cholesterol on artery walls is dangerous. When this cholesterol is oxidised you get oxidised cholesterol. Oxidation is the result of a normal body process and oxidise cholesterol in limit is not a problem for you but if because of a trigger somehow overproduction of oxidised cholesterol happens, it can be dangerous. Your body's immune system may mistake oxidised cholesterol for bacteria and then can try to fight it off. If that happens, there will be inflammation inside of the arterial wall and that can result in atherosclerosis or heart disease.
How do they form?
The oxidation of cholesterol happens when cholesterol particles present in your body react with free radicals. Free radicals are produced in your body as a result of normal metabolism, exposure to toxins or from disease. These free radicals cause oxidation which is like a chemical destabilisation of molecules. The oxidised cholesterol then becomes more reactive with the surrounding tissue and that reaction results in inflammation. Such inflammation can result in disease and organ damage.
The chance of oxidation increases because of the following reasons-
- Consuming a diet that is high in trans fats
- Poorly controlled diabetes
- Metabolic syndrome, which is often a precursor of diabetes
- Exposure to toxins through pollution and preservatives
The oxidised cholesterol can inhabit the endothelium or the inner lining of the arteries in your body. They are found in the carotenoid arteries, the coronary arteries or the arteries that provide blood to your legs and arms.
The effects of oxidised cholesterol
The oxidised cholesterol that are present in the arteries can be dangerous for you because of the inflammation. Since the blood vessels carry blood to different organs and tissues of your body, the inflammation can stop such supply and may result in a heart attack or a stroke.
The oxidised cholesterol present in the inner lining of the arteries result in a compilation of inflammatory cells. Along with them, platelets which normally helps in stopping bleeding by producing clots, may create plaques in the artery. These are hardened areas inside a blood vessel. Once they are formed, cholesterol, other lipids and macrophages begin to accumulate that area and the plaque gradually grows larger. In that case, partial or complete restriction of blood flow may happen in an artery and that can result in different types of health problems including coronary heart disease, peripheral vascular disease or cerebrovascular disease.
Preventing oxidised cholesterol
It is possible to prevent oxidise cholesterol by focusing on eating healthy fats. Monounsaturated fats are considered anti-inflammatory and they are good for your health. If you're eating saturated fats, it should be done in moderation. You should include more fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet. You should also pay attention to nutrition labels because it is important to stay away from hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated foods. Natural supplements and a healthy diet is the best method of staying away and preventing oxidise cholesterol and the effects of this problem on your overall health, especially cardiovascular health.