What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a naturally occurring substance in your body, and is found in every cell. It is a type of fat known as lipid, and it crucial for the functioning day to day of the cells that make up your body. Cholesterol is important in to make cell membranes, vitamin D, and hormones.
2 kinds of cholesterol exist:
What's the difference between the two cholesterols?
LDL particles are carried from the body cells from the liver, whereas HDL cells return additional cholesterol to the liver. LDL is generally thought of as the "bad" cholesterol and HDL is usually the "good" cholesterol.
Why Is LDL the bad cholesterol?
Thought to be "bad" cholesterol is LDL because when there is an excess of LDL, it leads to buildup of plaque in the arty walls. With plaque buildup, your arteries get narrower and lose elasticity. Flow of blood is reduced, and can lead to atherosclerosis. Development of atherosclerosis in the arteries leading to and from the heart risks development of coronary heart disease, which in turn increases the risk of a heart attack.
Where is cholesterol made in my body?
Most cholesterol is made in your liver. In normal, healthy people about 80% of the cholesterol is from your body, the other from your diet. Chances are, if your diet is high in saturated fats, then you will have higher levels of "bad" cholesterol. Saturated fats and Trans fats are responsible for raising levels of LDL.
What steps can I take to minimize developing high levels of LDL?
- Choose lean meats, poultry, and fish.
- Reduce meat
- Cook with no fat, or little fat.
- For cooking use vegetable oils.
- Avoid store bought baked goods.
- Eat more vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.
- Avoid egg yolks
What if I am in good shape? I don't have to worry about cholesterol, do I?
Regardless of weight, anyone can have high cholesterol. High cholesterol can be hereditary, so maintaining a healthy weight is important, but does not guarantee that you will not be at risk for high levels of cholesterol.
What are the signs of high blood cholesterol?
There are no signs of high blood cholesterol, and it can only be detected by blood test.
What other factors would put me at risk for high blood cholesterol?
- Family History of heart disease
- High blood pressure
Having a poor diet, inactivity, smoking, and obesity also contribute to high blood cholesterol, so make healthy choices.
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