Let us know our Cholesterol (Part # 1)
You must have experienced many time when you get your Lipid Profile examined , some results are shown like this :
Cholesterol = 180 mg/dl Normal = < 200
HDL Cholesterol =53 ” Normal =35-55
LDL ” =108 Normal = < 130
Some people may not know what is Cholesterol? its function, where it is produced in our body, What is HDL Cholesterol? and what is LDL Cholesterol ?. In this article we will talk all about Cholesterol. its function, good and bad Cholesterol .
Table of contents:
- What is Cholesterol ?
- Sources of Cholesterol.
- Effects of Cholesterol .
- Cholesterol levels
- LDL Cholesterol.
- HDL Cholesterol.
- Cause of high Cholesterol.
- Treatment of high Cholesterol.
- Be safe.
What is Cholesterol?
We all of us heard about Cholesterol , but many of us ( excluding the Doctors) might not know what is Cholesterol?. The Cholesterol is a fatty substance that travel through our body.
Sources of Cholesterol”
Most of the Cholesterol in our body is produced by our Liver. Beside that there are some other factors which effect the amount of production of Cholesterol in our body. These are diet, age, genetics, and activity. To manage Cholesterol levels may include changes in our food, lifestyle changes and medication.
Our Liver , other organs and cells in our body produce about 80 % of the Cholesterol in our body. The rest 20 % of Cholesterol in our body is produced by the food we eat. Foods high in trans and saturated fats can produce unhealthy Cholesterol levels. When we eat such fats, our Liver reduces the production of its own Cholesterol and removing excess Cholesterol. A good news, some people have genes that instruct the Liver to make extra Cholesterol or slow down their body’s Cholesterol removal process. However , not every one has such genes.
Effects of Cholesterol :
When we eat , fats and Cholesterol from the food are broken down in our small intestine. Here bile salts ( Bile = a bitter , yellowish fluid produced by the Liver , to help digesting food. Bile is stored in our Gallbladder), lipases are get repacked with other components before entering bloodstream as Lipoproteins. In fact, some Cholesterol components are stored in our Liver and gallbladder, the main storage area for excess lipoproteins is in fat cells called “Adipocytes”.
A bad effects of too much Cholesterol , the “Adipocytes” cell swell up and we gain weight. Eating too much unhealthy fat or carbohydrate can cause production of more Cholesterol.
Cholesterol does not have entirely bad effects for our body. Our body uses Cholesterol to make some essential hormones such as :
- Sex hormones : Estrogen and progesterone in female.
Testosterone in males.
The hormones are responsible for sex organ development and involved in organ development and reproduction.
- Cortisol : This helps our body to respond to stress.
- Aldosterone : This hormone keeps a balance of minerals in our body.
- Vitamin D : It helps our body to absorb Calcium to make our bones strong and healthy.
Cholesterol should not be above or less than limits set by scientists/researchers. This is more true when it fall under ” Bad ” or “Good ” Cholesterol. To measure the Cholesterol levels, we should consider the following factors :
- Our activity level
- our weight.
- Our age.
- Our diet.
- our sex.
- Any condition , the patients have, like Diabetes Type-2.
- Smoking habit.
- Any medication for cholesterol .
Here are the ideal Cholesterol ranges , recommended by heart specialists :
Total Cholesterol = < 200 mg/dl.
HDL ” = > 60 mg/dl.
LDL ” = < 100 mg/dl.
The only way to find out our Cholesterol levels, is through a blood test. It measures. Cholesterol in Milligrams per deciliter of blood (mg/dl). Blood test will show :
- Total Blood Cholesterol. This will include HDL, LDL and 20% of total Triglycerides.
- Triglycerides: It should be below 150 mg/dl. Triglycerides are common fats. Triglycerides and LDL must be lower than the recommended levels.
- HDL ; higher the level, the better. Normal range for female is > 55 mg/dl. Male should have >45 mg/dl.
- LDL : Lower the level is better. If any body do not have heart disease, blood vessel disease or Diabetes, it should not be more than 130 mg/dl.
If your Cholesterol is high, start taking steps to lower it . Try to change your lifestyle, start walking early morning. and consult your doctor. He /she might change some medication.
LDL Cholesterol :
There are two main types of Cholesterol :
- High-Density lipoprotein known as HDL.
- Low-Density Lipoprotein known as LDL.
LDL is called ” bad cholesterol”. It takes Cholesterol to our Arteries, where it may stick to to artery walls. Too much cholesterol in our arteries may lead to a buildup of plaque known as “Atherosclerosis” . This can cause to increase the risk of blood clots in our arteries. In case if a blood clot breaks away, and blocks an artery in our heart or brain, we may have a stroke or heart attack.
Some families have heart disease history , they could have high level of LDL. This condition is known as “Family Hypercholesterolemia” , ” FH” in short. In this condition, the FH caused by a generic mutation that convert the ability of a person’s Liver to discharge extra LDL cholesterol, making the LDL level high in blood.