Cholesterol is a fatty substance which if found in comfortable levels is vital for the functioning of the body. It is mainly made by the liver, but it can also be found in some foods, however, the danger is of very high levels, and the effect it can have on your health including increasing the risk of serious conditions.
If you are wondering why you should look to cut your cholesterol medical evidence indicates that high cholesterol increases the risk of the narrowing of the arteries, known as atherosclerosis, a heart attack, and a stroke.
Cholesterol is dangerous as it can build up in the arteries and restrict blood flow to the heart and brain as well as other parts of the body. Cholesterol also increases the risk of a blood clot developing, and the risk of heart disease also rises if your blood’s cholesterol level is high.
Many factors can increase your chances of having heart problems or a stroke if you have high cholesterol, including diet – in particular, eating high levels of saturated fat, smoking and if there is a family history of stroke or heart disease. It is a good idea to get your cholesterol levels checked, your GP may recommend this if you have been diagnosed with a certain condition, have a family history of cardiovascular disease or you are overweight, have high blood pressure, or have diabetes.
If you are looking to lower your cholesterol level what should you look to do? Firstly, look to maintain a healthy and balanced diet which is low in fatty food. Other lifestyle changes you should look to make are taking regular exercise, if you smoke, give up smoking – all of these tweaks to your life can make a big difference in helping lower your cholesterol levels and as a result will aid in the fight against any of the associated conditions triggered by higher than normal levels of cholesterol.
Cholesterol is carried in your blood by proteins, when combined they are called lipoproteins. The two main types of lipoprotein are: High Density Lipoprotein (HDL) carries cholesterol away from the cells and to the liver, where it is either broken down or passed out of the body as waste. HDL is referred to as good cholesterol and higher levels are better. Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) carries cholesterol to the cells that need it, but if there is too much for the cells to use, it can build up in the artery walls. LDL is known as bad cholesterol as it can lead to disease of the arteries.
By Jacob White