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Guide to Good and Bad Cholesterol — an article on the Smart Living Network
July 27, 2009 at 1:03 PMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Guide to Good and Bad Cholesterol


What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol can be both good and bad, which is why it's important to know what cholesterol is. Cholesterol is a substance that is naturally formed in your body. It 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. Cholesterol is important to make cell membranes, vitamin D, and hormones. There are 2 types of cholesterol: Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.

What is 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 good cholesterol. LDL is thought to be the bad cholesterol because when there is an excess of LDL, it leads to buildup of plaque in the arty walls. With plaque buildup, your arteries lose elasticity and get narrower, resulting in the flow of blood being reduced. This 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?

The majority of cholesterol in your body is made in your liver. In normal, healthy people about 80% of the cholesterol is from your body, the other from your diet. If you have a diet that is high in saturated fats, and 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.
  • Choose poultry.
  • Choose fish.
  • Reduce portion size of meats, increase vegetables.
  • Eat no more than one egg yolk per week.
  • Choose skim dairy products.
  • Cook with little or no fats, and try to use vegetable oil.
  • Avoid store bought baked goods.

I don't have to worry about cholesterol if I am in good shape, do I?

Regardless of size and 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 physical signs of high blood cholesterol, and it can only be detected by a health professional via blood test.

What other factors would put me at risk for high blood cholesterol?

Other risks could include a family history of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, poor diet, and smoking. The good and the bad sides of cholesterol: Knowing the facts about cholesterol can ensure your well being, as well as help you make educated choices about your health and your body. Controlling cholesterol levels and your diet and exercise plan are one the most important decisions you can make about your health.


Photo Credit: euthman

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