What Is Cholesterol And What You Need To Know About It

cholesterolCholesterol is a fat like, waxy substance found in all cells of the body. Cholesterol travels through the bloodstream in tiny packets known as lipoproteins. On the inside these packets consist of fat while on the outside the packets are protein.

Your body needs cholesterol for maintaining cell membranes, and it is essential for making some hormones and vitamin D. It also helps with the digestion of foods.

All the cholesterol needed by the body can be made by the body. However, cholesterol is also introduced in the body by way of the foods we eat. It is found mainly in the animal products we consume.

Transporting the cholesterol through your body are two types of little packets (lipoproteins). One type is known as low density lipoproteins (LDL). This type of cholesterol is also known as “bad” cholesterol. Having a high LDL cholesterol level is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular problems. The LDL cholesterol when it’s level is too high has a tendency to stick to the blood vessel linings. The buildup of the waxy substance in the blood is known as plaque. It will cause these blood vessels to become blocked and will disrupt the healthy flow of blood through the body. If the buildup of the plaque in the arteries becomes too great these arteries can rupture.

Most people have more of the LDL cholesterol and less of the HDL cholesterol.

16cholesterol1The second form of cholesterol is the HDL cholesterol. This stands for high density lipoproteins. HDL cholesterol is known as “good” cholesterol. The HDL carries the cholesterol back to the liver from other parts of the body.

If is very important to have your cholesterol levels checked by your health care professional to be sure you are within a safe range. There are no symptoms of having high cholesterol levels so you can be at greater risk for a heart attack or stroke and not be aware of it.

The higher your LDL cholesterol level the greater your risk for heart problems. The higher your HDL cholesterol level the lower your risk for heart problems.

The good news is that with proper medical treatment it is possible to bring down cholesterol levels that are too high. Your medical professional will outline a course of treatment for you. Often this treatment will include medication to improve your cholesterol levels as well as modification to your diet and an increase in your activities.