Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that is found in the cells of our body. It is produced by the liver and also obtained through certain foods we consume. Cholesterol is an essential component of cell membranes and is involved in various vital functions such as hormone production, vitamin synthesis, and digestion.
All About Cholesterol
Cholesterol travels through the bloodstream in particles called lipoproteins. There are two main types of lipoproteins that carry cholesterol:
Low-density lipoprotein (LDL): Often referred to as "bad" cholesterol, LDL carries cholesterol from the liver to the cells. If there is an excess of LDL cholesterol in the blood, it can build up on the walls of the arteries, leading to the formation of plaque. This can contribute to the development of atherosclerosis, a condition characterized by narrowed and hardened arteries.
High-density lipoprotein (HDL): Known as "good" cholesterol, HDL transports excess cholesterol from the blood back to the liver, where it can be broken down and eliminated from the body. Higher levels of HDL cholesterol are associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.
It's important to maintain a healthy balance of cholesterol in the body. High levels of LDL cholesterol and low levels of HDL cholesterol are considered risk factors for cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks and strokes. Lifestyle factors such as a poor diet, lack of exercise, smoking, and obesity can contribute to unhealthy cholesterol levels. In some cases, medication may be prescribed to help manage cholesterol levels, especially if lifestyle changes alone are insufficient. Regular monitoring of cholesterol levels through blood tests is recommended to assess cardiovascular health.