These days everyone talks about cholesterol and the possible health risks that it carries with it. But do you really know what cholesterol is and why the body needs it? Here are some basics about cholesterol that you must know:
What Is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a lipid molecule (type of fat) that is produced by the liver and is essential for the functioning of the human body. Each and every cell in the human body has an outer layer of cholesterol. You may be surprised to know that cholesterol isn’t bad itself, rather it is one of the many important substances that are required to keep the body healthy.
Why Does The Body Need Cholesterol?
Cholesterol helps in building and maintaining the cell membranes (outer layer of the cells).
-It is an essential molecule for the synthesis of bile acids, vitamin D and steroid hormones
-It converts the energy from sunlight into vitamin D in your body
-It is involved in production of sex hormones: androgens and estrogens
-It is essential for the metabolism of fat soluble vitamins namely A, D, E and K
What Are The Types?
There are 3 three main types: high density lipoproteins (good cholesterol), low density lipoproteins (bad cholesterol) and triglycerides.
1 . High Density Lipoprotiens (HDL)- Good Cholesterol
It is due to the presence of HDL that your heart stays healthy .HDL constantly works to carry the cholesterol back to the liver away from the cells. In the liver, the cholesterol is either broken down or excreted as a waste.
2 . Low Density Lipoprotiens (LDL)- Bad Cholesterol
It is LDL that carries the cholesterol from the liver to the cells. There are chances that your body may transport an amount exceeding the normal which can be a matter of concern. If too much LDL is circulated in the blood, it would slowly start depositing along the inner walls of the arteries connecting the heart and the brain.
3 . Triglycerides
Trigycerides are a type of fat found in the blood plasma of your body. Triglycerides in plasma come from either fat in the food you eat, or they are made in the body from other energy sources like carbs.
What are The Signs Of High Cholesterol?
In most of the people, there are no signs and symptoms making it even more dangerous for health.The best way to know is to get a regular health check-up and to ask your doctor for blood tests that check cholesterol levels.
What Are the Causes of High Cholesterol?
Most of the times, high cholesterol levels are related to unhealthy lifestyle.Some of the most common causes include: smoking, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, genetic factors, unhealthy eating habits and family history.
What Can High Cholesterol Do To You?
When you have more than your body needs, cholesterol can cause plaque to build up in your blood vessels. This thick, hard plaque can clog your arteries like a blocked pipe. Reduced blood flow can lead to stroke and heart attack.
How Is High Cholesterol Detected?
You can get your cholesterol levels checked by a simple blood test from a good lab.
How Can Cholesterol Level Be Lowered?
– The doctor might prescribe some cholesterol lowering medications depending on various factors like age, cholesterol level and presence of other diseases.
-Adopting a healthy lifestyle is the most important step to lower and maintain cholesterol levels.
-Stay active. Take up walking, running ,swimming, or cycling to help in keeping the cholesterol in check.
-If you have a sedentary job, make sure to move around and go for short walks atleast every 2 hours.
-Choose a healthy oil like olive oil or rice bran oil and make sure to use it in moderation.
-Cut don on deep fried, processed foods as well as sweets and packaged foods.
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Even a small step would lead to healthy changes, so put on those walking shoes and take the first step towards a healthy life.Stay Healthy, Stay Happy!