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Monday, 28 May 2012

Image Despite its negative reputation, cholesterol actually performs a crucial role in the structure and function of all the cells in our bodies.  It is a vital important component of cell membranes and is vital to the structure and is a building block in the formation of hormones.

However, if you have high blood cholesterol, like the 37 million adults in the US, or the 105 million who have higher than desirable cholesterol levels, you could be on your way to heart disease.

Plaque are fatty deposits containing cholesterol and The chances of developing this in your blood vessels increases with higher cholesterol and triglycerides levels in your blood.  Plaque eventually causes your arteries to narrow, creating a condition called atherosclerosis, which hinders blood flow.  Coronary heart disease refers to a condition where arteries supplying blood to your heart narrow.  This inhibits the flow of oxygen-rich blood needed by the heart which in turn drastically increases the chances of a heart attack.  In the same manner, stroke is caused by decreased blood flow to your brain. Pain in exercise, and gangrene, may be the result of less blood flow to your lower limbs.

But the prognosis could be better, as lifestyle changes and medications can lower high blood cholesterol.  A 10 percent reduction in cholesterol in the US may result in a 30 percent drop in heart disease.

It is important to note that the only way to find out if you have high blood cholesterol is to go for a blood test.  so regular check ups are needed.

What does LDL, HDL and vLDL stand for?

Cholesterol and trigylcerides must be circulated in your blood with apoproteins. A fatty substance in the blood called a lipid combine with apoprotein to form lipoprotein.

HDL,LDL and VLDL are lipoproteins.

Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is referred to as 'bad' cholesterol because it promotes accumlation of cholesterol in your artery walls.  It moves cholesterol throughout your body, either to repair cell membranes or for deposition at a site.

High-density lipoprotein (HDL) is referred to as 'good' cholesterol because it assists to clean up excess cholesterol.

Very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) is mostly triglycerides-a type of fat, protein and cholesterol.

A high level of HDL cholesterol coupled with a low level of LDL cholesterol is best to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.

Some people are genetically-predisposed to high LDL cholesterol while others get that from their lifestyle. 

High levels of total cholesterol may be caused by inactivity, obesity and poor diet.  Animal-sourced food such as meat, cheese and eggs have cholesterol in them and eating a high-fat diet contributes to high blood cholesterol. Saturated and trans fats have also been known to increase blood cholesterol.  Palm oil is a ready source of certain beneficial antioxidants and elements such as beta carotene and vitamin E.  It is unsaturated and trans fat free, enabling you to enjoy nutritious fare with a healthy oil.

Smoking, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes can cause high blood cholesterol to progress to atherosclerosis.  Needless to say, if your family member had atherosclerosis before they were 55, you are at a higher risk of it too.

The American Heart Association (AHA) states that heart disease kills over 1.4 million Americans each year, more than all cancer deaths combined.

It is not too late to take steps to prevent this, beginning with making healthier diet choices-such as switching to palm oil, quitting smoking and getting some exercise.  It is also advisable to get regular blood tests to check your blood cholesterol levels.  THE END.


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