The Bad Cholesterol Explained

18 June 2019 Medoozle Staff
man making stop sign with hand, refusing a hamburger because he wants to lower his cholesterol

Cholesterol is a chemical compound that is essential to our body as a building block for hormones like estrogen and testosterone and for cell membranes and generating Vitamin D. Approximately 80% of the body’s cholesterol is produced by the liver and the rest comes from sources like meat, eggs, fish, poultry and dairy products.

High density lipoprotein (HDL), also known as the “good” cholesterol, are constituted with a higher level of protein and a lower level of cholesterol - this type of cholesterol, due to the high level of protein, carries the excess cholesterol from your blood, back to your liver in order for it to be broken down and passed through the system.

Low density lipoprotein (LDL), also known as the “bad” cholesterol, makes up most of the body’s cholesterol. High levels of LDL raise the risk of heart disease and strokes. The cholesterol content in our bodies is regulated by the liver, so after a meal, the cholesterol from our diet gets stored in our liver after being absorbed by the small intestine. However, when we have a higher concentration of cholesterol in the body, it builds in deposits, known as plaque, on the inside walls of the arteries.

If your arteries become clogged up, the blood can't flow around your body as easily, which can lead to a number of diseases of the heart and blood vessels.

What factors can lead to high cholesterol levels?

- Excess weight or obesity
- Genetic factors - people with inherited levels could have high amounts of LDL
- Diabetes
- Polycystic ovary syndrome
- Liver or kidney disease

What are normal cholesterol levels?

Table showing recommended levels of cholesterol - total, HDL, LDL

How can cholesterol levels be managed? The Medoozle Tip

We recommend visiting your doctor for regular check ups and ensuring that you make changes to your lifestyle and diet. These actions will reduce the risk of coronary heart diseases.

- Add more vegetables and fruits to your diet
- Reduce the intake of foods with high levels of cholesterol
- Maintain a regular exercise regime
- Quit smoking (we’ve outlined methods to quit smoking in our article here
- Drink alcohol only in moderation

To understand more about cholesterol, watch this video by the American Heart’s Association.

Do you have any questions related to cholesterol? Leave a comment below!


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