Cholesterol is a fatty substance found in the blood. The body needs cholesterol to build healthy cells, but having high levels of cholesterol can increase health problems. Dr. Luis Rodríguez Padial, team leader of the Cardiovascular Medicine and Prevention Clinic, states that "a clear relationship has been shown between blood cholesterol levels and atherosclerotic disease, such that as cholesterol concentrations rise, Cholesterol in the blood is observed a significant increase in all manifestations of atherosclerosis: myocardial infarction, angina pectoris, stroke, intermittent claudication and aortic aneurysms. More recently, a relationship between blood cholesterol and dementia has also been observed.
There are two types of cholesterol, popularly called "bad and good." The first, or LDL, transports cholesterol from the liver to cells in the periphery, such as endothelial cells, since all cells need a certain amount of cholesterol for their normal functions. The so-called good cholesterol, or HDL, on the other hand, transports cholesterol from peripheral cells to the liver for removal. For this reason, when it is elevated and functional properly, it helps to reduce cholesterol deposits in the body », emphasizes Dr. Rodríguez Padial
When recommending the frequency in which we should control cholesterol, the head of the clinic points out that “it depends on the cases. Patients with atherosclerotic disease (myocardial infarction, stroke, etc.) who are undergoing treatment should be monitored every 6-12 months, and whenever the treatment they are taking is modified. In the general population, a cholesterol level should be determined in the elderly and their cardiovascular risk calculated based on all the risk factors that the patient has. If the cardiovascular risk is low, it would be advisable to reassess it every 4-5 years. If the patient has an intermediate cardiovascular risk, the new evaluation should be done every 1-2 years, although there is no predetermined fixed term”.
Finally, it is advisable to follow a heart-healthy Mediterranean diet, since it has been shown to reduce cardiovascular risk, as well as increasing the intake of vegetables, legumes, fruits, oily fish, and skimmed dairy products, and reducing products with animal fats and fatty acids. trans fats "By following these recommendations, blood cholesterol can be reduced by at least 10%," concludes Dr. Rodríguez Padial.