What is Cholesterol? Cholesterol is a substance found in certain types of food products such as dairy, meat, and eggs. Cholesterol is also produced in the body’s liver. It is described as a waxy and fat-like substance. In order to properly function, the body needs cholesterol for certain processes. Cell walls and membranes of the body need cholesterol in order to create the bile acids which aid in the digestion of fat, as well as the creation of vitamin D and hormones. Even though the body requires cholesterol, it only needs a certain amount of it to function properly. When too much cholesterol is present in the body, health complications, like heart disease, are much more likely to develop and grow.
What causes Cholesterol?
Essentially there are four different types of cholesterol. The different types are categorized according to how many cholesterol-proteins (otherwise known as lipoproteins) there are relative to the amount of fat that exists. Low density lipoproteins are typically known as the bad lipoproteins. These proteins can cause plaque to become built-up on different artery walls throughout the body. The higher the level of low density lipoproteins there is in the blood, the higher the risk of getting heart disease is. High density lipoproteins are known as the good proteins, mainly because they aid the bodies fight against bad cholesterol. Very low-density lipoproteins are almost the same as low density lipoproteins because they have a very high fat content and a very low level of protein. The other type of cholesterol is called a triglyceride. This kind of fat is carried on very low density lipoproteins in the blood. Excess alcohol, sugar, or food consumption can lead to a larger number of triglycerides being present in the blood.
What are the symptoms of high cholesterol?
Someone who has high cholesterol does not typically show any specific symptoms; however if someone has high cholesterol they can have risk factors for other conditions. Serious health complications can occur. There is a direct link between someone’s cholesterol levels and their risk of getting conditions such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. This is why it is very important to lower your level of cholesterol if it is higher than normal.
What treatment options are available for someone who has cholesterol troubles?
Many doctors whose patients that have high levels of cholesterol typically recommend weight loss, changes in diet, and frequent exercise to help control and reduce the levels of cholesterol. Doctors may also recommend certain medications that help lower the risk of heart disease as well. Statin drugs are one of the types of medications that a doctor may prescribe. These medications work by blocking the livers ability to produce cholesterol. With patients who have an extremely high level of cholesterol, doctors usually consider prescribing statins. The lowering of high cholesterol levels involves some effort on the patients part as well. In order to successfully keep the levels low, one must make the appropriate lifestyle changes.