A Quick Overview of Cholesterol and its Effects

Living without cholesterol is impossible. It’s present in all body cells, helping in digesting fat, in making vital hormones and in keeping the nerves healthy. Although it has major properties that support life, it can turn into a threat. High cholesterol levels in blood end up increasing the risk of circulatory and heart diseases. Basically, cholesterol is a kind of fat, a waxy soft substance, made mainly in the liver, from the consumption of fat. It’s also present in foods like meat, dairy products, eggs, and particularly in saturated fats.

The production of cholesterol in the human body is based solely on the healthy quantity that is required. Eating foods that are high in the substance increase its levels in the blood, and have the potential to cause serious health problems. The blood stream connected to proteins transports cholesterol around the body. Together they are called lipoproteins.

Types of lipoproteins

LDL (Low-Density Lipoprotein) is also called ‘bad’ cholesterol. Cholesterol is transferred to the cells from the liver through LDL. Excessive LDL can increase cholesterol deposits in blood vessels, narrow them and reduce the space through which blood flows.

HDL (High-Density Lipoprotein) is also called ‘good’ cholesterol. This lipoprotein removes the low-density ones from the blood stream and takes them back to the liver. Once it gets to the liver, LDL is expelled from the body as waste, or is decomposed so it will no longer be harmful. HDL in high levels is known to protect against heart diseases.

Causes of high cholesterol

High levels of cholesterol are the result of an individual’s lifestyle. While most endanger their health due to their lifestyle, the positive aspect of reducing said risk can be drawn from the equation.

Among the most important factors that play a role in avoiding high levels of cholesterol is diet. The consumption of foods with high saturated fat levels increases the risk, as the liver converts saturated fat into cholesterol. Processed meat like pies, sausages, beef, and baked food like cakes, biscuits, butter, hard cheese, cream, and lard contain saturated fat.

Other factors

Apart from the diet maintained, there are other factors that can be controlled to reduce the risk of high cholesterol levels. Smokers must kick the butt to be safe. Obese or overweight people are likely to have high levels of LDL and low levels of HDL. Little or no exercise or physical activity can also increase LDL levels while decreasing HDL levels. Excessive consumption of alcohol is also attributed to increasing LDL levels.

Medical conditions can also increase the level of cholesterol in the bloodstream. Conditions that increase cholesterol levels include diabetes, high triglyceride blood levels, hypertension or high blood pressure, some liver and kidney diseases, under-active thyroid glands, etc.

Obviously, consulting the appropriate doctor is very important, but by taking simple steps that can help reduce the risk of high cholesterol levels, it can be easily controlled. One of the easiest ways to keep cholesterol levels in check is to exercise daily and follow the right diet regime.

Author Bio:This is a guest article by ZK who is the co-founder of blog Health Directory where accomplished health specialists and bloggers share information and tips for better health and wellness.

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