Cholesterol Health Issues

What exactly is cholesterol?

You may have come across the term cholesterol quite often. Have you ever paused to wonder what cholesterol is? Once you become aware of the role, function and nature of cholesterol, it is quite likely that you will appreciate the risk involved with high blood cholesterol. You will also take steps to reduce the cholesterol level in your blood.

Cholesterol is a type of lipid fats that serves certain functions in the body. Hormones like progesterone and testosterone are secreted in the body with the help of cholesterol. Cholesterol is also used in producing bile. Whatever little cholesterol is required is manufactured by the liver.

A normal level of cholesterol is desirable for the body. An excess of cholesterol is however not a healthy situation. An excess of cholesterol tends to be deposited in the form of a plaque on the interior walls of our arteries. This increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.

Excessive levels of cholesterol in the blood are formed because of a faulty diet or a lack of exercise or a combination of the two factors.

There are two broad types of cholesterol and those are, low density lipoprotein (LDL) and high density lipoprotein (HDL). A lipoprotein carries cholesterol and is a combination of cholesterol and protein. However HDL and LDL are referred to as types of cholesterol in a manner of speaking. Strictly speaking that is not the case.

* Low density lipoprotein- It forms the greater part of cholesterol content in the body and its excess deposition is dangerous. LDL paves the way for cholesterol deposition in artery, so, Its excess level must be immediately curbed. It's called bad cholesterol.

* High density lipoprotein- It serves the function of bringing back cholesterol from various parts to the liver. HDL has greater protein content than fat. Its deposition may reverse the effect of excess LDL deposition.

In order to prevent excess deposition of arterial plaque, it is advisable to stop consuming foods high on saturated fat and cholesterol. Most foods that are high on saturated fat are of animal origin. Examples are dairy products, red meat, shellfish and eggs.

Getting to the heart of the matter, it is necessary to make suitable modifications to our diet by reducing foods high in saturated fat and increasing foods high on unsaturated fat. Regular exercise and monitoring of cholesterol level is a necessary second step. These two methods in combination can help to reduce our cholesterol level and reduce the risk of heart disease.