Cholesterol is a highly misunderstood entity as it has a bad reputation and a penchant for messing up with heart health. Do you know that cholesterol and its metabolites are quite useful to the body? Cholesterol is a sterol compound obtained through food and fat metabolism. Its primary functions are to maintain the structure of cell membranes, participate in cell repair, synthesize estrogen and bile, and help in the production of vitamin D. In the body, cholesterol is formed in the liver and stored all over the body. It is divided into three considering functions- High-Density Lipoproteins (HDL), Low-Density Lipoproteins (LDL), and triglycerides. HDL is said to be the ‘good cholesterol’ as it sends cholesterol particles directly to the liver and helps avoid its build-up in the arteries. Contrastingly, LDL loads cholesterol molecules directly into the arteries, causing the narrowing of the blood vessel lumen and that is why it is referred to ‘bad cholesterol’. Triglycerides constitute the surplus and unused fat that are stored in different sites under the skin. Having more HDL is rewarding while elevated LDL increases the risk of various metabolic abnormalities. If you have high LDL levels or very low HDL levels in the blood, you might be suffering from hypercholesterolemia.
Hypercholesterolemia is a product of urban living and genetic factors. The modern-day diet that includes fast foods, high sugar, and junk play a crucial role in elevating the bad cholesterol levels in the blood. Hypercholesterolemia can rarely be familial, due to the passage of mutated LDL receptor genes. It can also be secondary to disorders like diabetes, obesity, alcoholism, hypothyroidism, and the effects of certain medications.
According to Ayurveda, it is a disease caused by vitiated medas dhatu associated with kapha dosha. The use of atisnigdha (excessively oily), atimadhura (high sugar) food, divaswapna (day sleep), avyayama (reduced exercise), etc are cited as the reasons for medo roga. These factors weaken the digestive fire and hamper digestion, leading to the formation of ama (toxins) in the body. Medo roga can also be hereditary (beeja dosha) or associated with other pathological conditions like prameha.
Hypercholesterolemia is not a disease, but an alarming pathological condition that can affect different systems of the body. By itself it is asymptomatic, but alarms raise when it influences circulation. Persistently high cholesterol levels can cause fat deposition in the artery walls, narrowing the arterial lumen. This can cascade into a series of troubles that can even lead to death.
Some of them are-
In Ayurveda, hypercholesterolemia is considered a medo roga, a disease in medas dhatu. It is one of the 7 tissues mentioned by ancient scholars, which is responsible for nourishment and lubrication of the body. It can be vitiated by metabolic toxins namely ama and the medas along with ama damage a lot of underlying structures. The usual site of medo dhatu is vapavahana (abdominal cavity in this context). Normal functions of medo dhatu are snehana (moistening/nourishing), swedana (sweating- as sweat is the byproduct of medo dhatuparinama), asthi pushti (lubrication of bones and joints), and dridatva (compactness). Due to impaired agni (digestive fire), improper dhatu parinama (transition from one dhatu to another—pertaining to all 7 dhatus), vata vitiation, and obstruction of medovaha srotas (channels that carry cholesterol), the medo dhatu tends to vitiate. The symptoms caused by faulty medas are termed medo roga.
AyurVAID is a pristine institution that bears the virtue of Ayurveda. Our doctors, skilled and proficient in their field, are here to help you, by providing you with comfort and reassurance. Special attention is given here to the management of lifestyle disorders such as hypercholesterolemia and associated conditions. The focus is not on reducing the gravity of the health condition, but on its complete eradication. In-depth assessment of the condition, precise diagnosis, thorough samprapti vighatana (breaking the disease pathway), properly planned prakriti-oriented treatment, quality procedures, safe and hygienic environment, etc are our peculiarities. We offer you complete care and cure for the conditions that ail you.
The basic principles in the management of hypercholesterolemia can be grouped into 5:-
Prevention is the first step towards healthy living, and it is the essence of Nidana parivarjana. One should be keen enough to observe the factors that cause medo roga and stay away from them. For example, improper food habits, untimely eating, binge-eating, stress eating, dependence on junk foods, lack of exercise, etc have to be avoided.
As medo roga are the diseases caused by over-nourishment, cutting off the nourishment is the key. This is apatarpana chikitsa. Procedures like fasting, emesis, exercise, sudation, bloodletting, preferring dry and light foods over oily ones, etc can do the job.
Shodhana chikitsa or the application of panchakarma procedures for eliminating excess kapha and medas should be considered. Shamana chikitsa is the use of internal medicines for pacifying the same. The medicines processed with drugs that have kapha-alleviating, medas dissolving, and scraping action are favored.