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An ACLS Guide to Answering Your Cholesterol Questions

A waxy steroid of fat, cholesterol is made in the intestines or in the liver. Cholesterol is transmitted through the blood plasma of a person, and it is utilized to make cell membranes and hormones. It is a fundamental part of the structural component of human cell membranes. Cholesterol is important for the body because it produces bile acid, Vitamin D and even steroid hormones. However, excessive cholesterol in one’s blood is harmful to the human body, as high levels of cholesterol are associated with diseases like heart disease and damaged arteries.

The purpose of cholesterol is both to maintain and create membranes: Cholesterol regulates the membrane fluidity in the human body across the range of bodily temperatures. Cholesterol is also recycled by way of being first excreted by one’s liver (through the bile), from where it goes into the digestive tract. Almost half of all excreted cholesterol is reabsorbed into the bloodstream courtesy of the small bowel. People need cholesterol in their bodies due to the need for particular hormones, cell membrane production, and various bodily functions. Cholesterol is not always bad; there is even so-called "good cholesterol" known as high-density lipoprotein (HDL).

Cholesterol comes in both good and bad versions. High-density lipoprotein (HDL) is known as "good cholesterol," while "bad cholesterol" is known by the opposite term of low-density lipoprotein (LDL). HDL cholesterol actually transports excessive cholesterol away from one’s arteries and to the liver, where that cholesterol is taken away from the body. High levels of HDL cholesterol are actually favorable because they help to protect a person from the risk of heart attacks. To this end, HDL cholesterol levels in excess of 60 mg/dL might shield a person from getting heart disease, while having HDL cholesterol levels lower than 45 mg/dL actually might raise the chance of getting heart disease. Bad cholesterol clogs arteries and raises the chance that one might suffer a stroke in his or her life. Bad cholesterol can also eventually lead to a ruinous condition called atherosclerosis, so it is advised that one keeps his or her LDL cholesterol level beneath 100 mg/dL.

On the other hand, very low-density lipoprotein, or VLDL, is known as a kind of lipoprotein that is manufactured by the liver. This type of lipoprotein is known as being one of the five main types of lipoprotein. The purpose of VLDL is to move cholesterol and also phospholipids and triglycerides through one’s bloodstream. VLDL is regarded as the human body’s internal transmission system for lipids.

Triglycerides are viewed as esters that come from three fatty acids and also glycerol. An ester is a chemical compound obtained by getting a reaction between a hydroxyl compound (like phenol or even alcohol) and an oxoacid. Triglycerides are also the major component of animal fats and of vegetable oil. Like high levels of bad cholesterol, triglycerides have been associated with the onset of atherosclerosis; because of its association with atherosclerosis, triglycerides are therefore also associated with a greater risk of causing heart disease and even stroke in a person.

Cholesterol levels in the human body are affected by a multitude of various factors. Saturated fat in foods that are eaten can increase bad cholesterol in the body, while being overweight also adds to the risk of heart disease because bad cholesterol is increased. At times, one cannot avoid or reduce how certain factors increase cholesterol levels, and this is certainly true regarding the factor of age: Cholesterol increases as one ages. Similarly, one can just be unlucky in getting bad genes that account for heightened levels of bad cholesterol, and even particular types of medication can increase cholesterol, too.

While cholesterol can be a daunting problem for a person, this is only the case if one does nothing to stave off out-of-control cholesterol levels. However, with the right attitude, determination and some common sense measures, one can do a great deal to ensure that cholesterol does not get too high in the body. For example, one can get a certain amount of cardiovascular exercise a few times a week, such as walking or running for up to 30 minutes each time, which really makes a difference in keeping high levels of bad cholesterol at bay. Another example of some good advice to help keep high levels of cholesterol at bay is to watch what one eats. For instance, one can keep their levels of cholesterol down by purposely choosing low-cholesterol foods, which includes choosing foods that have low amounts of saturated fats.