What does cholesterol do?

What does cholesterol do?

What does cholesterol do is a very good question because cholesterol is a waxy like substance that our bodies need to produce certain hormones, protect nerves and make cell tissue but too much cholesterol especially “bad” cholesterol can be detrimental to your health.

What does cholesterol do

Where does cholesterol come from?

In the normal way cholesterol is produced by your liver, we also get cholesterol from certain foods that we eat including meat, eggs and dairy products, cholesterol is thought of in terms of good cholesterol or bad cholesterol, so what’s the difference.?

Good and bad cholesterol

Good cholesterol or medically known as HDL or high density lipoprotein, this is the good guy because it takes cholesterol through absorption and sends it back to the liver.

On the other hand bad cholesterol medically known as LDL or low density lipoprotein makes up the majority of cholesterol in your body.

This is the had guy because too much LDL can put you at risk of a heart attack or stroke if it isn’t taken care of by dieting, medication or by using cholesterol lowering supplement.

Why you could be at risk

If your cholesterol total level is higher because of elevated HDL levels you won’t be at risk of a heart attack or stroke.

If your cholesterol total level is higher because of elevated LDL levels then you are more than likely to be at risk of a cardiovascular event, this is one of the answers to what does high cholesterol do.

Triglycerides are another part of the cholesterol equation, these are a kind of fat in your blood, eating more calories than your body needs can turn them into Triglycerides.

Changes in your diet and lifestyle can help to improve overall cholesterol levels, lower LDL and triglycerides.

What is ideal cholesterol?

All the research will point to the ideal cholesterol level being :

• Total cholesterol less than 200 (under 5 mmol/l in this part of the world)

• LDL less than 130 depending on heart disease risks, 3 mmol/l for healthy adults or 2 mmol/l for those at high risk

• HDL higher than 60 is ideal

• Triglycerides below 150 mgs per definite

What are the symptoms of high cholesterol?

One of the issues with high cholesterol is you could have it and may not know you have it, for example blood is circulated around your body through blood vessels problems arise when too much bad LDL cholesterol combines with other harmful proteins to form plaque.

It happens gradually over time the plaque grows and sticks to the walls of the arterial blood vessels, this causes a blockage that prevents blood flow to your heart and other major organs.

The second issue that could happen is that the plaque could break apart and form a blood clot that impedes the blood flow.

When an artery leading to the heart becomes clogged up or blocked it can lead to a heart attack, a blocked artery that leads to the brain can lead to a very serious stroke.

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How do you know if your cholesterol is high?

To be honest you may not know if you have high cholesterol unless you have a blood test done in your doctors surgery, or if you go to your optician he may see tell tale signs from your eye test that your cholesterol is high.

Quite a lot of people don’t find out that they have high cholesterol until a life threatening event happens, then it may be too late to do anything about it, this is one of the things related to what does high cholesterol do.

What are the causes of high cholesterol?

Your liver makes cholesterol and you get it from your food, certain foods high in fat can add to your total cholesterol level. A contributing factor to high Triglycerides may be a sedentary lifestyle or a lack of proper exercise, a good exercise strategy each week can work in your favour in terms of lowering your LDL levels.

On the other hand a lack of exercise or none at all can have a negative effect on your HDL levels in terms of lowering the good cholesterol which is something that you don’t need.

Family history plays a part in some cases research has proven that there is a link between family that have high cholesterol and heart disease.

Smoking increases your risk of high cholesterol because each time you inhale cigarette smoke your blood pressure and heart rate rise albeit temporarily, this puts more pressure on your heart and makes it pump faster increasing its work load.

Smoking damages your body in a number of ways;

• Increases inflammation

• Tars your lungs

• Increases clotting

• Makes your blood thicker

• Bone become weaker

• Weakens the immune system

• Lowers your HDL (good cholesterol)

Lipo proteins

What are lipoproteins?

Cholesterol is transported in your arteries by proteins, when HDL and LDL combine they are called lipoproteins, HDL and LDL are the two main types, high density lipoprotein brings cholesterol from the bodies cells and into the liver, it is referred to as good cholesterol because of this important job.

Low density lipoprotein LDL brings the cholesterol to the cells that require it, if the cells don’t need all of it a build up can occur in the artery walls, that is why it is referred to as bad cholesterol.

Recommended cholesterol levels

Doctors and scientists recommend an ideal total cholesterol level, this will vary and tend to be lower for those at a higher risk of heart disease, if you have high cholesterol there are other factors that will increase 6our risk, they include;

• Bad diet, particularly eating foods high in saturated fats

• Diabetes or blood pressure

• Bad family history

• Smoking causes arteries to narrow

• Familial hypercholesterolemia (causes high cholesterol)

Reasons to lower your cholesterol

All the scientific evidence points to high cholesterol as a marker for

• Atherosclerosis (narrowing of the arteries)

• Heart attack

• Stroke

• TIA (mini stroke)

• PAD or peripheral artery disease

Bad cholesterol can over time build up into plaque in the artery walls causing a restriction to the blood supply going to your heart and brain, it also raises the chances of a blood clot forming in the body.

Other risks to having high cholesterol is coronary heart disease, symptoms may include chest pain, arm pain during physical exercise or stress.

Healthy diet regular exercise

How do you reduce cholesterol levels?

The best place to start is to look at your diet, is it healthy and balanced or is it high in fatty foods, swap the fatty foods for wholegrain, fruit and vegetables, you can achieve a lot by having a balanced healthy diet.

Eat foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids like salmon, mackerel, walnuts, almonds and some eggs. Choose to eat healthier fats like low fat dairy, lean meat, chicken, nuts or avocados.

If you smoke please try to stop, smoking does contribute to heart disease and lung cancer, organize to go for a brisk walk for 30-45 minutes at least four times a week, walking will have a positive effect on your bad cholesterol levels.

Try to change your diet along with regular exercise first, if that doesn’t bring your cholesterol down to the recommended levels you may need go see your doctor to discuss cholesterol lowering medications like NSAIDs or statins.

Your doctor will recommend that you get your blood cholesterol levels done if you:

• Are overweight

• Your blood pressure is high

• You have family history of heart disease

• You have had a stroke or peripheral artery disease

• You have diabetes

• You are over 35 Male

• You are over 45 female

• You are over 20 and a risk for heart disease

• You are a teenager on certain medications or a strong family history

Can you live with high cholesterol?

Of course we now know what does cholesterol do and yes you can live with high cholesterol providing you follow the guidelines outlined on this post and you follow your doctors advice.

High cholesterol does mean that you are twice more likely to progress to heart disease, keep your cholesterol levels under control especially if heart disease runs in the family.

Even if you take statin drugs or cholesterol lowering supplements it’s important to incorporate a good healthy diet and regular exercise into your lowering cholesterol strategy.

Conclusion

I hope that you now know the answer to what does cholesterol do, if you are worried about your cholesterol levels go to your doctor for a blood lipid test to determine your total cholesterol levels, from you and your doctor can work out a plan to lower your cholesterol.

If you have chest pain feel stressed or very tired on a regular basis make it your business to visit a hospital or your doctor without delay, this action could save your life, don’t be a statistic follow up on any of the symptoms mentioned.

As always,

I wish you the best of health,

Fintan

References

https://www.cdc.gov/cholesterol/ldl_hdl.htm

https://www.zerochol.ie/understanding-your-number/



22 thoughts on “What does cholesterol do?”

  1. Hi! I am a food engineer and as well dietist, and let me tell you about cholesterol – one of the factors for increased ldl level is definetly stress – I know people that are thin and slim, but cholesterol level is too high. Recreation is one of the factors that contribute to eithelr low or high cholesterol, not to start with eating habits of people- at least 75% est the same food over and over again and just lie around the house watching tv or PC – it is like they want to be ill. With knowledge about eating habits every one can reduce cholesterol level. I ain’t extreme,  but my dr. Told me I need lift my cholesterol level because it was too low – 4,2 is the minimum, and you shouldn’t go higher than 6, well my number was 2,5, and dr said please ignore your diet and eat bacon, eggs and other fats. Loved your article! You know what you are writing about,

    Cheers,

    Primoz P.

    Reply
  2. Thank you so much for sharing with us such an important article about cholesterol. I’m glad I found your article. I know about Cholesterol, Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that’s found in all the cells in your body. But after reading your article, I learned deep more about Cholesterol. My grandfather is a high cholesterol patient. I’ll advise my grandfather to follow the guidelines outlined in this post. I hope my grandfather gets good results from your guidelines. I will share it with my friends and family. My best wishes to be always with you.Thanks

    Reply
    • Hi Sabrina,

      Cholesterol is needed by our bodies, too much bad cholesterol can have an adverse effect on arteries.

      Fintan

      Reply
  3. This is a great and informative article. This article has taught alot more on cholesterol. I have been a victim of this illness and it affected me very bad. Chest pain has a part of me for so long thinking it’s just not important, Not until my friend shared me this article then I glanced through. I went on seeing my doctor and it was this same illness and right now I’m on treatment. I sincerely appreciate this great article because it’s been really helpful to me.

    Reply
  4. I really appreciate this article. Thank you for sharing this Excellent post with us.
    I hope your post makes everyone aware. Bad cholesterol increases blood concentration in the human body. Which creates a block in the human heart. My father was diagnosed with bad cholesterol. Your advice will help my  father’s on reducing your cholesterol levels will help.
    I think this post will benefit others.

    Reply
  5. High cholesterol is a common health issue when we reach a certain age. Whenever there is a gathering with my friends or family, this issue always comes up. My latest annual health check revealed that my good cholesterol is at a healthy level while the bad is not too good thus urged me to exercise more. 

    Your informative article will surely help more people understand cholesterol more. Although I fairly know what it is, it is still a good read as a reminder to stay healthy with regular exercise and a healthy diet.

    Thanks for posting this. 

    Reply
  6. Frankly speaking, I use to think cholesterol was harmful to the body; I never knew that it had such important function like important movements from body cell to the liver by high density lipoprotein and movements by LDL like you explained. Now I know the difference and where the danger lies. Thanks a lot for such handy information

    Reply
  7. Thank you so much for providing such a beautiful information.Never before seen such wonderful information about cholesterol.In your article, I found that smoking increases cholesterol.It really seems to be true to me and I have seen my father often suffer from cholesterol.And I’ve noticed many times on my own that I often have chest pains, what do you say about this thing, is it for cholesterol or is it some other disease?
    But the last thank you is so much for giving us such an informative article.

    Reply
  8. Many thanks to you for sharing such a beautiful article with us and having the opportunity to discuss a wonderful topic through your article.You have written a very good article about heart disease in the human body which will be a useful article for everyone. My father is already 80 years old and he has always suffered from heart disease. And the cholesterol levels in his body sometimes rise, and we were always worried. We always took our dad to our family doctor and he gave us a guideline to take, and as we followed that guideline. And as a result, my father’s blood cholesterol decreased. When I read your article, I found that you described excellently how cholesterol can be lowered in the blood.And you have described the causes of heart disease that may be caused by excess cholesterol.I would like to share your article on my social media and I think if I share your article on my social media then many will know about it and will share their experience with you very soon.

    Reply
  9. HDL or high-density lipoprotein and LDL or low-density lipoprotein are a vital concern of health safety.

    Several experiences happened around me with different individuals. The did not know the type of cholesterol.

    As a result, had to face massive physical disorder.

    People should be educated about this element of the human body and practice the right way.

    And thank you a lot for this educative website blog and I personally recommend others to touch with site.

    Best of Luck!

    Reply
  10. Thank you for all the great information.

    I saw first hand when my father lost his extra weight he no longer had to drink his cholesterol and high blood medications. So it just goes to show that a healthy lifestyle and thus weight is definitely beneficial. And not having to pay for medication, is better on the pocket.

    Reply
  11. Many thanks to you for sharing such an excellent article with us .Cholesterol builds up certain hormones in my body, protects nerves and builds cell tissue. Of course good cholesterol is good for the body .And I eat meat, eggs, milk, etc. I get cholesterol .Having high cholesterol can cause a variety of problems, so I always watch my intake of cholesterol on a diet. And I have gained a lot of knowledge through reading your articles, so to say your article is very informative and important .Last year I became ill due to high cholesterol intake and am currently healthy as per the doctor’s advice. And your article has given me some important information to keep me healthy and I will definitely be following it .

    Lastly, I hope that by reading your article, everyone will gain a lot of important knowledge and will certainly share their new experiences with you. Can I share your article on my social media?

    Reply
  12. This information is very useful and for me it is the first time I know so much about cholesterol. Being a fitness enthusiast I mean that I face cholesterol avoidance every day. It is very interesting that there is good cholesterol (HDL) but also bad cholesterol (LDL). Do you think that consuming protein supplements in powder form can influence cholesterol levels in the body?

    Reply
    • Hi Nimrodngy,

      While protein supplements are generally a good thing they won’t help with cholesterol levels, keeping fit and watching the foods that you eat is the best strategy.

      Fintan

      Reply

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