Your Complete Fact Sheet to Know about "Bad Cholesterol"
- Cholesterol is a wax-like substance in the body
- It can be categorized into two main types, the good and the bad
- High cholesterol can lead to heart attack and other heart problems
- There are multiple risk factors like age that can lead to high cholesterol
Most of us are aware of the fact that an increased cholesterol level can be injurious to health. But, most people are not able to differentiate between cholesterol and fat.
What is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a wax like substance that flows with the blood in body. It is used by the body to form cells, hormones, and Vitamin D and liver is the organ responsible for creating cholesterol that you require from fats in the diet.
Cholesterol does not get dissolved with blood and bonds with carriers known as lipoproteins. Lipoproteins are made up of fat on the inside and protein on the outside.
What is Good and Bad Cholesterol?
Cholesterol in the body can be categorized into two main types: The good and the bad cholesterol.
Low-density lipoproteins (LDL) are sometimes referred as bad cholesterol. An increased level of LDL in the body can accumulate inside your arteries leading to heart disease.
High-density lipoproteins (HDL) are known as good cholesterol. HDL is responsible for carrying cholesterol from other parts of the body and back to the liver. It is essential to have a healthy level of both types of cholesterol in the body.
High Cholesterol Level: A Threat
When the cholesterol levels increase in the body, it starts accumulating in the arteries. The cholesterol creates a fatty deposit on the wall of blood vessels which hardens and narrows them. This condition is often referred as atherosclerosis. The narrower the blood vessels get, the more difficult it gets to transport oxygen-rich blood in the body. When the heart does not receive enough oxygen it can cause a heart attack and if the brain does not receive enough oxygen, you can have a stroke.
How Common is the Problem?
In America, one third of the total population suffers from high level of LDL cholesterol. Amongst this population, only one in three people has their condition under control.
People suffering from high cholesterol conditions are at two times higher risk of heart disease than people who have a healthy cholesterol level.
Risk Factors for High Cholesterol
There are several factors that can put you at the risk of developing high cholesterol. The level rises with age, especially in women after menopause. High cholesterol also runs in the family. If there has been a history of high cholesterol in your family, you are at a risk. However, you can reduce these risks by indulging yourself into more physical activities, by eating a diet which contains minimum saturated fats, by losing weight, and by quitting smoking.
Consulting the Doctor
If you think you are at the risk of having an increased cholesterol level due to any of the above mentioned factors it is important for you to keep it under check. If your cholesterol level remains at a high end, you must consult a doctor and discuss the best treatment available for you. Your doctor may also give you some precautionary measures and a diet plan to follow.
Learning about the problem is the first step towards curing it. So, know the high cholesterol condition completely to fight all complications.
Image Source: Getty
Source: Onlymyhealth editorial team Oct 09, 2017
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