Everything You Wanted to Know about Cholesterol
One the major causes behind heart disease is high levels of cholesterol. Having this knowledge, what is it that one needs to know about cholesterol and its damages? There are plenty of sources from where you can access information about cholesterol and what can be done to avoid it.
The initial step to take is to know what cholesterol is and how it enters our system. We probably think of cholesterol as just fat that is unnecessary in our bodies. But it is certainly more than that. Cholesterol is that armor that surrounds every cell of our body and shelters the nerve endings against jolts. They also help in transferring signals around our different nerves. And so, cholesterol has a very important role to play in normal functioning of the body.
The liver itself produces the cholesterol that we require in our daily functioning. Problems occurs when a malfunction in the liver forces it to secrete more than that is needed or we have too much fat in our diet, increasing the level of fats in our body. The responsibility of carrying cholesterol around the body is upon the molecules called Lipoproteins. These molecules decide how much cholesterol you will need in your body. Again between them, there are two kinds of lipoproteins, high density ones (HDL) and low density ones (LDL). It is the low density ones that carry the harmful kind of cholesterol. Hence, if the level of these molecules is high, then you can be diagnosed as having high cholesterol.
As far as food is concerned, cholesterol is found in dairy products, meat, seafood, some kinds of fish, and poultry. Anything that we get through these foods automatically gets classified as ‘bad’ fat and is not mandatory for normal functioning. Cholesterol neither dissolves in water nor in blood. Therefore, when there is an influx of it, it just accumulates along artery walls, forming blockages. It obstructs normal flow of blood to the heart, making it difficult for the heart to receive blood and straining the heart in the process.
LDL carries the maximum amount of cholesterol in our blood and tends to leave small particles of this in the blood as it circulates. This is how the accumulation occurs. When the concentration of cholesterol increases in the blood, it brings about a condition known as Hypercholesterolemia. This is what eventually leads to heart ailments.
Our body produces about 1000mg of cholesterol everyday. We can take about 200 to 500mg from our food, but our lines must be drawn till there. If we ingest anymore, there is much damage happening.
The most harmful fact here is that there are no symptoms connected to having high cholesterol. You may not detect it till it’s too late. The only key here is to have regular check ups, ECGs in particular. Cholesterol does ultimately lead to high blood pressure, but there are no way to identify this either till you actually get the illness.
Cholesterol can be both good and bad for the system and it’s important to remember which side we want to be when choosing our diet.