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Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a sterol that is synthesized by the liver.  It is a very important building block of steroids like sex hormones as well as the adrenal cortex hormones. Formation of certain tissues and cell membranes are dependant on the availability of cholesterol. The molecules that carry cholesterol in the blood stream are called the lipoproteins and these lipoproteins are classified into three groups.

Low density lipoprotein High density lipoprotein   Triglycerides

Low density lipoprotein is abbreviated as LDL and is the bad cholesterol in the body, which is suspected to be the cause for arterial diseases. This LDL cholesterol buildup in the cells can be harmful.

High density lipoprotein is abbreviated as HDL and is considered good cholesterol which is thought to fight arterial diseases by taking away the cholesterol from the cells, sending it back to the liver where it is excreted or broken down.

The normal range of cholesterol calculation in the body is 3.6 mmol/Liter to 7.8 mmol/Liter. Once the cholesterol level starts reaching 6mmol/Liter medical attention should be sought.

Cholesterol is naturally produced in the body and with some coming from an external food source.  Levels of LDL cholesterol in the blood depends on the speed with which the body produces and the speed with which it is disposed off in the natural process.

When cholesterol is at unhealthy levels it can cause narrowing of the arterial passages which is referred to as arteriosclerosis.  Arteriosclerosis is caused when fatty substances start building up in the arterial route where plaque buildup results in poorer blood flow in the arteries.  The result is a narrowed inner lining resulting in blood clotting which increases the risk of strokes and heart attacks. Smoking and hypertension further the risk of heart problems. Diseases like reduced metabolism, diabetes and kidney problems are associated with high levels of cholesterol. 

SYMPTOMS

1)       Clotting of blood.

2)       Pain in the limbs on exertion.

3)       Narrowing of coronary arteries of the heart leading to angina.

 Causes

Food items such as oily foods, dairy food products like cheese and butter, excessive red meat consumption are some of the contributing factors for high cholesterol levels in the body.

Certain factors which influence high cholesterol levels are obesity, heredity, smoking, hypertension (high blood pressure), diabetes and stress among other factors.

Prevention

To reduce cardio vascular risks due to high levels of blood cholesterol levels, start with a medical checkup and determine the appropriate treatment. Increase HDL (good cholesterol) levels by following good eating habits with more fruits and vegetables especially leafy green veggies. Quit smoking if you are a smoker.  Regular exercise to reduce excessive weight is recommended. A doctor will be able to determine the proper medication that may be necessary for an individual

 

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