We at On Call Medical Clinic want to share this information about Cholesterol from the American Heart Association. We feel it is important for everyone to be aware of what it is.
Whether you’ve just been diagnosed with high cholesterol or just want to learn more about it, this is a good thing. You’ve already taken the most important first step. You’ve shown you care about your cholesterol and health.
Now, just remember three things: Check. Change. Control.
What cholesterol is and what it does is important to all of us.
It is a waxy substance. It’s not “bad”: your body needs it to build cells. But too much can be a problem.
It comes from two sources. Your body (specifically your liver) makes all the cholesterol you need. The rest you get from foods from animals. For example, meat, poultry and full-fat dairy products contain it (called dietary cholesterol). More importantly, these foods are high in saturated and trans fat. That’s a problem because these fats cause your liver to make more cholesterol than it otherwise would. For some people, this added production means they go from a normal cholesterol level to one that’s unhealthy.
Some tropical oils, such as palm oil, palm kernel oil and coconut oil, also can trigger your liver to make more of it. These oils are often found in baked goods.
It circulates in the blood, and as blood cholesterol levels rise, so does the risk to your health. That’s why it’s important to have your cholesterol tested so you can know your levels.
There are two types : “bad” and “good.” LDL cholesterol is the bad kind. HDL is the good kind. Too much of the bad kind — or not enough of the good kind — increases the chances that cholesterol will start to slowly build up in the inner walls of arteries that feed the heart and brain. We talk more about these two kinds here: LDL, HDL and Triglycerides.
For now, think of LDL as being like a family member who carries stuff all through the house and drops it along the way. (If you recognize or live with this person, sorry!) HDL is like someone who picks up the dropped stuff and puts it away. This (good!) person helps keep the house from becoming impassable.
Together with other substances, it can form a thick, hard deposit that can narrow the arteries and make them less flexible. This condition is known as atherosclerosis. If a clot forms and blocks a narrowed artery, a heart attack or stroke can result.
High cholesterol is one of the major controllable risk factors for coronary heart disease, heart attack and stroke. If you have other risk factors such as smoking, high blood pressure or diabetes, this risk increases even more. The more risk factors you have and the more severe they are, the more your overall risk rises.
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