Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a type of fat that is found in the blood. The body needs some cholesterol to work properly. Cholesterol helps make cell membranes and hormones, such as estrogen and testosterone. Cholesterol is also called as Hypercholesterolemia, Hyperlipidemia, Hyperlipoproteinemia

Some people have high levels of cholesterol in their blood when they do not eat enough food that contains cholesterol or when they eat too much food with cholesterol. This can lead to health problems such as heart disease or stroke.

Cholesterol is made by the liver and found in some foods such as animal products, chicken, eggs, fish, nuts, seeds and vegetable oils. Cholesterol can also be found in some plant-based foods such as avocados, olives and soybeans.

What is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a waxy substance that’s found in the body. It is made by the liver and other organs, and it plays an important role in many of the body’s processes.

Cholesterol is a type of lipid, which are fats that are necessary for good health. It’s found in all parts of the body, including blood, muscles, and skin. Cholesterol also helps to make up cell membranes and certain hormones like estrogen or testosterone.

The liver produces most of the cholesterol in your body. When people eat foods high in cholesterol, such as eggs or shellfish, their bodies produce more cholesterol to compensate for this extra intake.

In order to maintain cholesterol levels within a healthy range one should consume less than 300 mg of dietary cholesterol per day.

Cholesterol travels through the bloodstream and helps to make hormones, vitamin D, and bile acids. Cholesterol can also help with fighting off infections because it makes bile acids that can kill bacteria inside the intestines.

What are HDL, LDL, and VLDL?

HDL, LDL, and VLDL are types of lipoproteins. Lipoproteins are molecules that transport fats and cholesterol around the body.

HDL: HDL stands for “High-Density Lipoprotein”, carries cholesterol and other substances from the cells to the liver for disposal or recycling. When HDL levels are high, it means that you have a healthy amount of cholesterol in your bloodstream.

LDL: LDL stands for “Low-Density Lipoprotein”, carries cholesterol and other substances from the liver to cells throughout the body. LDL is known as “bad” cholesterol because it can lead to plaque buildup in your arteries and increases your risk for heart disease.

VLDL: VLDL stands for “Very Low-Density Lipoprotein”. It is a type of fat that carries cholesterol, triglycerides, and other substances from the liver to other parts of the body. It is an intermediate between HDL and LDL.

What causes High Cholesterol?

High cholesterol is a type of fat that circulates in the blood. It can lead to heart disease, stroke, and other health problems. High cholesterol is a condition in which the level of cholesterol in the blood is too high. There are many different factors that can cause high cholesterol, and it may not be clear what is causing the problem.

There are many factors that contribute to high cholesterol levels including:

  • Unhealthy eating habits, such as eating lots of bad fats. One type, saturated fat, is found in some meats, dairy products, chocolate, baked goods, and deep-fried and processed foods. Another type, trans fat, is in some fried and processed foods. Eating these fats can raise your LDL (bad) cholesterol.
  • Lack of physical activity, with lots of sitting and little exercise. This lowers your HDL (good) cholesterol.

What can Raise the Risk of High Cholesterol?

Some people have a genetic predisposition to high cholesterol. This is due to having a family history of high cholesterol or being born with a condition called familial hypercholesterolemia. Diet and lifestyle also play an important role in increasing the risk of high cholesterol. Some diets that are rich in saturated fats can increase the level of LDL (bad) cholesterol in your blood stream. Lifestyle habits such as smoking, drinking alcohol, and not exercising enough also contribute to raising your risk for high cholesterol as well as other diseases like heart disease and diabetes.

There are many factors that can increase the risk of high cholesterol. These factors include:

  1. Genetics: The genes you inherit from your parents may increase your risk for high cholesterol or heart disease by influencing how much HDL (good) or LDL (bad) cholesterol you produce.
  2. Diet: Eating too much saturated fat or trans fats can increase LDL levels in your blood.
  3. Exercise – You may be more likely to develop high cholesterol or heart disease if you don’t regularly exercise.
  4. Weight: Being overweight or having obesity raises your cholesterol level.
  5. Smoking: Smoking is another factor that can raise the risk for high cholesterol levels. quitting smoking can reduce your risk for a heart attack, stroke, and death from cardiovascular disease.
  6. Medications: Medications are another factor that can raise the risk for high cholesterol levels because they may affect how your body metabolizes certain foods . Your doctor may recommend adding or removing medications to see if this will help.

What Health Problems Can High Cholesterol Cause?

High cholesterol can cause a variety of health problems. Some of the most common ones are heart disease, stroke, atherosclerosis and liver disease. High cholesterol can also lead to other health problems such as diabetes, obesity and cognitive decline.

If you have large deposits of plaque in your arteries, an area of plaque can rupture (break open). This can cause a blood clot to form on the surface of the plaque. If the clot becomes large enough, it can mostly or completely block blood flow in a coronary artery.

If the flow of oxygen-rich blood to your heart muscle is reduced or blocked, it can cause angina (chest pain) or a heart attack.

Plaque also can build up in other arteries in your body, including the arteries that bring oxygen-rich blood to your brain and limbs. This can lead to problems such as carotid artery disease, stroke, and peripheral arterial disease.

How is High Cholesterol Diagnosed?

The most common way to diagnose high cholesterol is with a blood test. The doctor will order a lipid profile, which includes the following:

  • Total cholesterol
  • Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol
  • High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol
  • Triglycerides

There are many symptoms of high cholesterol, including fatigue, nausea, and high blood pressure.

High cholesterol is measured by total cholesterol levels. High cholesterol is diagnosed by measuring the level of total cholesterol in the bloodstream. The most common way to measure this is through a blood test that draws a sample of your blood and then checks it for levels of triglycerides and HDL, LDL, and VLDL.

The test includes checking for any signs of coronary heart disease or other health conditions that may contribute to high levels of total cholesterol in the bloodstream.

Foods that Causes Cholesterol

The foods that contain proteins are the ones that help to regulate the amount of cholesterol in your body. Examples of these foods are poultry, legumes and soybeans. Vegetables that contain a lot of proteins (Examples: spinach, peas). The foods that cause cholesterol are those that have saturated fats in them. Foods such as

  • Full-fat dairy
  • Red meat
  • Fish
  • Processed meat
  • Fried foods
  • Baked goods and sweets

How are High Cholesterol Levels Treated?

Cholesterol is a type of fat that is found in the blood. Cholesterol comes from food and is also made by the body. The two most common ways to treat high cholesterol levels are with medication and lifestyle changes.

High cholesterol levels can be treated with lifestyle changes, medication, or surgery.

  • Lifestyle changes include eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly.
  • Medication includes statins, bile acid sequestrants, nicotinic acid (niacin), ezetimibe, and resins. These medications can be taken as pills or in liquid form.
  • Surgery includes balloon angioplasty or coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG).

Lifestyle changes that can help to lower cholesterol levels include a healthy diet, weight loss if overweight, exercise, and smoking cessation.

The most common treatment for high cholesterol levels is the use of statins. Statins are a type of drug that lowers the level of cholesterol in the blood by blocking an enzyme called HMG-CoA reductase.

Some people with familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) may receive a treatment called lipoprotein apheresis. This treatment uses a filtering machine to remove LDL cholesterol from the blood. Then the machine returns the rest of the blood back to the person.

Summary

Cholesterol is a waxy substance that is found in all the cells of the body. It is a vital part of cell membranes and helps to regulate the fluidity of these membranes.

The liver produces about 1 gram of cholesterol per day from other molecules, such as dietary fats or excess calories from carbohydrates. The liver then packages this cholesterol with proteins to form lipoproteins for release into the bloodstream.

Cholesterol levels are usually checked when people are being screened for heart disease risk. There are two types of cholesterol – low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL). LDL cholesterol can cause plaque to build up on artery walls, which can lead to heart attacks, strokes, or other serious health problems. HDL cholesterol carries LDL cholesterol away from artery walls, so it does not accumulate and cause blockages.

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