Monday, 28 May 2012

What is Cholesterol and How Does Cholesterol Work?

Cholesterol- you hear the word all the time buy what does it really mean and why you should care?

What is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is waxy fat like substance found in bloodstream and in cells throughout the body. Normally people think negative about cholesterol but you may surprise to know it’s not inherently bad. In fact, cholesterol plays a critical role in the formation of cell membranes and manufacture hormones. But you only need a small amount of cholesterol to carry out these functions. Too much cholesterol present in your body can increase the health risk. To understand that completely let’s look at how cholesterol works.

How Does Cholesterol Work?

Cholesterol does not dissolve in the bloodstream. Instead it’s transported in and out of the cells by carriers called Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and High-density lipoprotein (HDL).

When the amount of cholesterol in the bloodstream increases body needs to create additional lipoprotein to transport them. LDL is known as bad cholesterol. Because too much of LDL results fat build up in the artery walls. This condition is known as Atherosclerosis – hardens and clogs the artery which can lead to heart attack or heart stroke.

HDL on the other hand is known as good cholesterol. Because it aids to remove cholesterol from the body and carries it away from the arteries to liver where it passes out of the body.  To determine the cholesterol level can be done with a simple blood test. The normal level of cholesterol of any individual varies depending upon the age, weight and sex. Typically though the LDL level of 160 is considered high and similarly HDL level below 40 is usually considered too low. Both high LDL level and low HDL level can put you at risk for plaque build up. About seventy five per cent of the cholesterol in the blood is made by your liver and other cells of your body.

Increasing your activity on a regular basis can decrease LDL and increase HDL. Find a reasonable fitness regimen you can stick with so you won't get bored and quit. If you're overweight, shedding those extra pounds may help you control your blood cholesterol.

The other twenty five per cent comes from the food you eat. Cholesterol found in animal products like meat, eggs, poultry and liver are high in amount. This is why eating less saturated fat from animals is good first step towards lowering your cholesterol to a healthy level. Because high cholesterol can be big factor for heart diseases and stroke. Managing good cholesterol level is important to lead a healthy lifestyle.  If you think you may have high cholesterol or if you have a family history of the condition consult your doctor for a test.


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