Cholesterol

Occurs when the heart is not as strong as it should be and blood ends up pooling in the heart, therefore congesting it.

What is Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a macromolecule commonly described by its waxy, fatlike nature. It is often regarded as bad, but it a very important part of our bodies chemistry. Our body relies on it to synthesize steroids like Testosterone. It can also be used to create Cortisol, which helps regulate temper and blood-sugar levels. And sometimes, it can even produce Vitamin D, which keeps our bones sturdy and our teeth strong.

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Cholesterol is actually used in the liver to create bile. This is important because it’s our bodies’ main approach to getting rid of excess cholesterol. If we have too much Cholesterol, the liver will try to regulate by stopping self-production and increasing bile production. The bile is used in digestion, so it is an effective method of ridding the body of waste.

The liver produces enough cholesterol naturally, but cholesterol can also be found in common meat and poultry products. It can also be found in oils such as Palm Oil, Coconut oil, and Vegetable oil. Foods that are high in trans fats seem to higher in cholesterol content, as well. However, there are different types of cholesterols and monitoring these is very important.

Three main types of Cholesterol:

  1. LDL stands for Low Density Lipoprotein. This is commonly referred to as “Bad Cholesterol.” More often than not, it ends up sticking to the walls of blood vessels. This is not always good
  2. HDL stands for High Density Lipoprotein. This is also commonly referred to as “Good Cholesterol.” The job of HDL consists of sweeping the bloodstream for impurities and LDL and bringing these impurities to the liver for processing.
  3. VLDL stands for Very Low Density Lipoprotein, and is also considered bad. There is a correlation between VLDL and high triglyceride levels, which are found in people with obesity and/or type 2 diabetes. (Vergès, B. et al, 2015)

What is high cholesterol, and what causes it?

High cholesterol is a condition in which the total content of cholesterol in your blood is too high. This is usually given in a measurement-per unit of blood. In General, anything below 200 micrograms per deca-liter of blood is considered very healthy, whereas 200-240 is considered at risk, and 240+ is considered High.

There are several factors that are commonly seen in people with high cholesterol:

  • A genetic predisposition to high cholesterol is very real. The condition ‘familial hypercholesterolemia’ is inherited and causes one to have high levels of cholesterol.
  • Smoking reduces total levels of LDL, which is responsible for filtering HDL from the blood stream
  • Poor eating habits also play a big role in the battle against high cholesterol. Individuals whose diets are high in LDL content, such as sweets, greasy fried foods, and fatty meats, end up having significantly higher cholesterol levels than those who don’t.
  • A sedentary lifestyle also puts people at risk. Exercise is one of the best way to promote overall well being and metabolize all of that pesky triglyceride residue.
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What health problems can high cholesterol cause?

High cholesterol is not a good thing. This is fairly obvious, but the true danger lies in exacerbating any existing conditions. For example, having Hypertension and High Cholesterol is a recipe for disaster. The continued friction against the artery walls from Hypertension causes the beds in the artery to develop tiny little cuts. Then, the LDL circulating in the blood gets deposited in these cuts, eventually causing a buildup of cholesterol. This is commonly referred to as plaque build up.

This process is responsible for a large amount of other heart diseases, such as coronary and peripheral arterial disease, congestive heart failure, and even angina. Thus, it is imperative that the blood ways in your body stay healthy and bad cholesterol free!

Dealing with high cholesterol

Fortunately, there exist medication to deal with high cholesterol levels. Statins are a very potent and effective choice for dealing with cholesterol levels. They also have the added benefit of reducing the risk of stroke or heart attack.

However, your doctor will most likely consider many medications, and tailor his choice based on your specific needs.

Other medications include:

  • Bile Binding resins
  • Selective cholesterol absorption inhibitors
  • Statin and Cholesterol Absorbtion Inhibitor combination
  • Injectable medications

However, the most effective way to manage high cholesterol will most likely depend dealing with the factors that put you at risk in the first place.

Citations

Vergès, B. (2015). Pathophysiology of diabetic dyslipidaemia: where are we? Diabetologia, 58(5), 886–899. http://doi.org/10.1007/s00125-015-3525-8