Everyone knows that cholesterol is bad for the overall health of the body. High cholesterol levels can contribute to the development of atherosclerosis (the hardening and narrowing of the arteries). This makes a person more likely to suffer a heart attack or a stroke. It’s so extremely important to keep cholesterol levels down to help prevent heart disease. Some reports say that high cholesterol is related to cataracts and other eye issues. Is this true? And, how can you get your cholesterol levels under control?
What Is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a form of fat that runs through the blood. We get it from our livers naturally as well as the from the food we eat. Cholesterol is crucial for the brain and other organs’ functioning. However, the amount our bodies need is minuscule. In fact, we only need one type of cholesterol which is called high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. HDL cholesterol goes back to the liver to be broken down. The bad kind of cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL), stays in the blood and sticks to the walls of our blood vessels.
Most people consume more cholesterol than their body needs which leads to high cholesterol levels in their body. Some people have a predisposition to high cholesterol levels because of family history. It can also be the result of being overweight or not being physically active. In some of these cases, you have control over the amount of cholesterol in your system. However, you may not be able to control the hereditary influence over your body’s predispositions.
What Are Cataracts?
Cataracts are a clouding of the lens of the eye. They impair the vision by preventing light from passing through the lens the way it should.
There are a few things people do to increase their risk of developing cataracts:
- Expose their eyes to ultraviolet light without protection (proper sunglasses)
- Have high blood sugar
- Have high blood pressure
- Use steroid medications
Is cholesterol a contributing factor in the development of cataracts? Not directly, but medications used to control it have been linked to an increased risk of cataracts.
Cholesterol and Cataracts Connection
Some people believe there is a direct connection between cholesterol and cataracts. But, it seems to be less of a direct threat and more of an indirect one. It is an indirect threat by two means – an unhealthy diet and the medicine used to lower high cholesterol.
A healthy diet is important for all body functions. This includes your eyesight. A diet that is high in cholesterol is not healthy. If a person is eating a diet rich in vitamins and minerals and low in fat, they are less likely to develop food-related health issues.
When taking care of your body and eyes, consider reducing the amount of high cholesterol, fat, and sugar items in your diet. That mean limiting the amount of fast food and processed foods you consume.
There are plenty of foods that contain the essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients for improving eye health and vision. And, many of them are delicious. For an eye-healthy diet, you need a blend of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy carbohydrates. Add lots of leafy greens, sweet potatoes, fish, and water to your diet.
Vitamins to Improve Eyesight
Also consider adding an eye vitamin supplement, like our Ocu-Plus Formula. Not only to improve your diet and thus the health of your body, but the health of your eyes. High blood sugar and high blood pressure can both be controlled through proper diet. They’re both contributing factors to the development of cataracts.
The second connection between cholesterol and cataracts comes from the medicines that are commonly prescribed to lower cholesterol, statins. Statins work by clearing cholesterol from the blood. There have been several studies to assess the increased risk of cataracts among statin users. However, many of the studies that suggest statins lead to cataracts were tested on animals. Or, they didn’t use the rigorous research standards expected to be used today. There have been recent tests and trials that were up to standard and tested on humans which report no connection between statins and cataracts.
Unfortunately, the general public isn’t aware of many of these studies. They still believe old studies and outdated facts. It’s up to the doctors and researchers to tell the public the true risks associated with these drugs.
You may be at risk of high cholesterol because of family history, physical inactivity, or poor diet. Consider what you can do to lower your cholesterol with your doctor. They might prescribe statins or other drugs or suggest natural methods like improving your diet.
Improve your diet to include healthier choices by cutting out high-fat foods such as fast food. Then, increase your intake of fruits and vegetables. Drink plenty of water and choose lean meats and fish over red meat. Get physically active by getting up and moving. The more you move, the easier it becomes. Although we can’t change our family history, we can choose to live the healthiest life possible, making your family history less of an influence.
Eye Damage Caused by High Cholesterol
One of the ways cholesterol can damage your eyesight is if the cholesterol breaks free from build-up in the arteries. It then goes into the bloodstream where it can then clog up the retina’s arteries. This would result in retinal artery occlusion. It can also cause macular degeneration because the buildup of cholesterol in the macular vessel slows down the amount of blood flow getting to the eyes.
Don’t wait until it’s too late. Start making changes in your lifestyle and daily routine now to prevent high cholesterol and vision damaging risks. It’s so easy to make healthy, natural changes, like adding the right foods to your diet and exercising. Even if you have a family history of high cholesterol doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to have it, too. Make an effort to get current and updated information about your options from your doctor. A little motivation and dedication can go a long way in the battle to maintain a healthy life and healthy eyes!