Cholesterol Treatment

What is Cholesterol?

CHOLESTEROL is a term that makes obese people paranoid and is driving health enthusiasts crazy. A high level of cholesterol in the blood leads to depositing of cholesterol in your arteries. This deposition of cholesterol is known as plaque. Plaque narrows down the arteries making it difficult for them to transport oxygen rich blood to the heart. This condition of narrowing of arteries is called atherosclerosis. The condition in turn can result in a heart attack.

But is cholesterol really all that bad? No, not if it exists in an optimum amount in the body. Cholesterol helps in the building of new cells, insulates nerves and even produces hormones. It only starts to get bad when it exists in a higher quantity in the blood stream.

By essence, cholesterol is simply a waxy and fat like substance that is found in most body parts. Cholesterol usually makes its space in cell walls and cell membranes. These cells could be the cells of your heart, brain, muscles, liver, nerves, intestines and even skin. In short, cholesterol exists in almost every part of your body.

Sources of cholesterol

There are two major sources of cholesterol- the liver and the food we eat. The liver is the primary organ that is responsible for producing cholesterol. The amount of cholesterol produced by this organ is sufficient for the body.

Other than liver, the food we consume also makes up for an important source of cholesterol in our body. Foods such as red meat, eggs and poultry have high cholesterol content. It is in one's best interest to avoid fatty and cholesterol rich foods to minimize the chances of high cholesterol levels in the body.

Types of cholesterol

Since cholesterol is a fatty substance, it does not mix with blood, which is watery. It is more like a mixture of oil and water. To travel in the bloodstream, this cholesterol seeks refuge in packages known as lipoproteins. These lipoproteins have fat on the inside and proteins on the outside. Depending upon their basic nature, these lipoproteins are further categorized into two types.

Low Density Lipoproteins or LDL

LDL, also known as bad cholesterol is responsible for depositing excess cholesterol in the linings of your arteries. Higher the number of LDL in your body, the more prone you are to heart attacks.  Thus, it becomes important that you be vigilant about your LDL count.

Lp(a) Cholesterol

The genetic variation of LDL cholesterol is called Lp(a). A high level of Lp(a) is thus as bad as high level of LDL, the bad cholesterol. Its high levels refer to early deposition of fatty substances in arteries. Thus Lp(a) contributes to the building of fatty deposits in the arteries.

High Density Lipoproteins or HDL

HDL is the good cholesterol for your body. HDL removes all the excess cholesterol present in your blood. High density lipoproteins transport cholesterol from other parts of the body to the liver where it finally gets eradicated from your body. A high HDL count makes you less susceptible to heart attacks. Similarly low HDL makes you susceptible to heart diseases.

Triglycerides

Triglycerides may not be a kind of cholesterol but is closely associated with cholesterol. These Triglycerides travel through the blood stream via particles known as very low density lipoproteins or VLDLs. They are known to be an important cause of coronary attack in women, obese and diabetic people. So, it is very important to keep Triglycerides count in check.

How to keep cholesterol under control?


* Eat Right. Pick foods low in cholesterol, saturated fats and trans fats.
* Fight obesity. Maintain healthy weight.
* Exercise. Be physically active.
* Keep regular checks. Get cholesterol tests done.
* Be regular with medicines. Follow doctor's advice.