Knowing the facts about cholesterol can reduce your risk for a heart attack or stroke.
But understanding what cholesterol is and how it affects your health are only the beginning.
In order to keep your cholesterol levels under control:
- Schedule a screening
- Be physically active
- Maintain healthy weight
- Consume foods that are low in cholesterol and saturated fats and free of trans fats
- Follow your health care professional’s advice (Cholesterol Control)
Here are FAQs about cholesterol:
What does cholesterol mean?
Cholesterol is a fat like substance that is found in the cells of humans and animals. Cholesterol is also found in blood circulation of human beings.
How do we make the cholesterol?
There are two major sources of cholesterol; one is from dietary intake and the other from your liver. You will get dietary cholesterol from fish, poultry, dairy products and meat.
Liver is one of the types of organ meats, which is high in cholesterol. After having the meal, your intestines absorb the cholesterol and then transferred into the blood. It is then stored inside as a protein coat. This cholesterol-protein coat complex is called as chylomicron.
Liver has a great role in removing the cholesterol from your blood and also manufacture new cholesterol and store into your blood circulation.
After having the meal, liver removes the chylomicrons from your blood and in between the meals, again liver manufactures new cholesterol and secretes into your blood circulation.
What are HDL and LDL cholesterols?
HDL cholesterol or high density lipoprotein is good cholesterol. These cholesterol particles help to prevent atherosclerosis by collecting cholesterol from your arterial walls and the liver disposes them.
LDL cholesterol or low density lipoprotein is bad cholesterol and LDL is linked to high risk of coronary heart disease. LDL particles places cholesterol on your arterial walls thus leading to the formation of thick or hard substance called as cholesterol plaque.
This cholesterol plaque thickens your arterial walls and narrow downs the arteries, which is a process called as atherosclerosis.
Your total cholesterol is the sum of HDL (high density) cholesterol, LDL (low density) cholesterol, IDL (immediate density) cholesterol and VLDL (very low density) cholesterol.
Is high cholesterol can be a health risk?
High cholesterol narrows your arterial walls and the walls become less flexible thus reducing the blood flow. Reduced blood flow clogs the arteries, and then you can have a heart attack or stroke.
When should I start checking my cholesterol levels?
All people over the age of 20 should have regular cholesterol screening for every five years. Studies suggested that you should have your cholesterol checked if:
- Your total cholesterol level exceeds 200 mg/dl
- Your HDL is less than 40 mg/dl
- You are a woman over 50 or man over 45
- You have other risk factors for heart disease or stroke
How often should I check my cholesterol levels?
Depending on the results and your overall risk, you should start checking your cholesterol levels regularly for every one to five years.