Basic Facts About Cholesterol
Cholesterol is a substance that is found in the lipids (fats) in your bloodstream and also
in all of the cells in your body. It is a substance that is needed by your body to build cell membranes, certain
hormones and is also used in other functions as well.
Not all cholesterol is bad, knowing the difference between good cholesterol and bad cholesterol and what you
need to know about cholesterol and your diet can help to keep you healthy and your heart strong.
There are three important things to do regarding you, your health and your cholesterol. The first is to know
about cholesterol and the connection it has to your health, especially your heart health.
The second thing to know about cholesterol is what your good and bad cholesterol levels are by going to your
doctor and having them tested. Lastly, it is a good thing to get on a healthy diet to maintain good cholesterol
levels and to maintain the proper level of daily exercise.
Doing these 3 things regarding cholesterol will help you stay healthy and keep your heart strong.
Knowing all about cholesterol:
Cholesterol is a substance that is found in the lipids (fats) in your bloodstream and also in all of the cells
in your body. It is a substance that is needed by your body to build cell membranes, certain hormones and is also
used in other functions as well. When you have a high level of cholesterol in your bloodstream it may be an
indication that you have a high risk for heart disease.
Because cholesterol cannot be dissolved in the bloodstream it has to be carried along between cells by
lipoproteins. There are several of these but the two we hear most about are the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and
the high-density lipoprotein (HDL).
You have probably heard of these names on TV commercials, while talking with neighbors or perhaps you have
already had your levels checked and you know what your numbers are.
Men who are age 45 and older have an increased risk for high cholesterol and women who are aged 55 and older are at an increased risk for high cholesterol. If you have a family history (blood relation) of high cholesterol especially if you have a family history of heart disease at an early age (earlier than age 55 if male and before age 65 if female).
Knowing what your cholesterol levels are:
LDL cholesterol is called the "bad" cholesterol because it can slowly build up in the walls of the arteries that
feed both the heart and the brain if there is too much of it.
If you have a high LDL level you are at high risk for heart disease and if you have a low level of LDL you are
at low risk for heart disease.
The HDL cholesterol is called the "good" cholesterol because a high HDL level protects you against a heart
attack as it removes excess cholesterol from plaques and slows their growth.
If you have a low level of HDL you are at high risk for heart disease and if you have a high level of HDL you
have a low risk for heart disease.
Maintaining a healthy diet and proper daily exercise:
Your body produces approximately 1000 milligrams of cholesterol a day, which is one way you receive cholesterol
in your body.
The second way cholesterol enters your body is by the foods that you eat that contain cholesterol. Foods from
animals contain cholesterol such as egg yolks, meat poultry, whole and reduced fat milk and dairy products as well
as shellfish. Plant foods do not contain cholesterol.
Foods such as nuts, grains, vegetables, seeds and fruits are plant foods.