We’re going to dive a little deeper into heart health this week. Since we’ve explored the inner workings of your body, I want to look into the arteries where the blood in your body flows. (We’re going full Ozmosos Jones here!) I’m going to focus mostly on bringing awareness to what in the world Triglycerides and Cholesterol are and what these two things can mean for your heart’s health.
Part of why I’m exploring this topic with you is because both triglycerides and cholesterol circulate as lipids within your bloodstream. When you have too many triglycerides or too much cholesterol, this increases your risk of developing heart disease.
But what are these two things? Are they inherently bad? No actually! They naturally occur in your body. It’s more a matter of having the right amount and not TOO much of either. Here’s a quick explanation of what these two things are when they exist in healthy levels:
“Triglycerides store unused calories and provide your body with energy.”
“Cholesterol is used to build cells and certain hormones.” (Article 1.)
Now let’s explore more!
What are Triglycerides?
Referenced from Article 1.
Triglycerides are a type of fat (also known as a lipid) that can be found in your bloodstream. As you process food and store excess calories, your body turns those into triglycerides which are then stored in your fat cells. If you eat more calories than you use, you’ll start to build up more and more triglycerides.
“High triglycerides may contribute to hardening of the arteries or thickening of the artery walls (arteriosclerosis) — which increases the risk of stroke, heart attack and heart disease. Extremely high triglycerides can also cause acute inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis).” (Article 1.)
High triglycerides can also be a sign of:
Type 2 diabetes
Risk of heart disease
Low levels of thyroid hormones
But on that note, what levels of triglycerides are healthy?
Most of these numbers will be information that you’ll need to speak with your doctor about (they’ll take a lipid panel/profile), but can help keep you aware:
Normal — Less than 150 milligrams per deciliter, or less than 1.7 millimoles per liter
Borderline high — 150 to 199 mg/dL
High — 200 to 499 mg/dL
Very high — 500 mg/dL or above
How can you lower your levels of triglycerides?
If you know that this is something that exists in your family or that you have personal experience with, there is absolutely a way to reduce your levels and create a healthier situation for yourself. Here are some things to be aware of:
Exercise regularly & maintain a healthy weight
Reduce alcohol intake
Choose healthier fats
Avoid sugar and processed carbohydrates
Now, what is Cholesterol?
This lipid in your body is not bad, just like with triglycerides. Your body actually uses this to make hormones, build cells, and create vitamins to regulate itself and keep you healthy. But again, too much can cause trouble and build up in your arteries.
What is really crazy to know is that your body already makes all the cholesterol it needs within your liver. Excess cholesterol often comes from your diet and sources like meat, poultry, and dairy products. This is especially detrimental in foods that are high in saturated and trans fats.
“These fats cause your liver to make more cholesterol than it otherwise would. For some people, this added production means they go from a normal cholesterol level to one that’s unhealthy.” (Article 2.)
This leads to increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
What increases your risk of high cholesterol?
Referenced from article 3.
Unhealthy eating habits, especially consuming saturated fats can increase your levels of LDL (low-density lipoprotein, aka bad) cholesterol.
Lack of physical activity or increased sedentary activities like sitting, etc.
Other factors that can impact your risk for high cholesterol include your age, your weight, heredity, and race.
How can Light Therapy help?
Just like last week, light therapy really focuses on increasing your body's blood flow by benefiting your blood vessels and arteries. When you sit down to relax into a light therapy session the lights, especially blue light, help your body naturally dilate the blood vessels and reduce the pressure that is being applied to the arterial walls.
When the pressure is released and more space is created, it allows for increased circulation and lets your blood flow so that your heart and organs experience less strain. It also clears out excess cholesterol and triglycerides that shouldn’t be present and build up.
Applying light therapy just twice a week will help to change your triglycerides and cholesterol for the better.
Phew, that is a lot of deep science and knowledge about the body. Thank you for sticking with me and learning. If you have any questions about any of this or want to talk more, I’m here for you anytime.
If you want to learn more about Light Therapy & my Light Therapy work, you can follow me with the links below, or email me at Lisa@lightmattersinfo.com - thank you for reading!
Here are the articles referenced above:
Article 3. https://medlineplus.gov/cholesterol.html
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