Cholesterol is made in the liver and is consumed by eating foods such as meat, eggs, and dairy products. To function, the body needs at least some level of cholesterol to produce vitamin D and help digest fats. The problem is most of our diets contain excessive amounts of cholesterol, way above what our bodies need to function. When our bodies have too much cholesterol, it will lead to heart disease and other dangerous problems.
When our cholesterol levels are too high, plaque will begin to develop in the arteries, making it more difficult for blood flowing through the heart. If this continues, over time the arteries will harden, also known as atherosclerosis, leading to heart disease. There are various types of cholesterol that travel through the blood via a protein:
- Low-density lipoproteins LDL is bad cholesterol which causes plaque to build up against the arteries.
- High-density lipoproteins HDL is known as good cholesterol which helps get rid of LDL cholesterol. If your body has low HDL levels, you will be at an increased risk of heart disease.
- Very-low-density lipoproteins VLDL function in much the same way as HDL cholesterol.
- Triglycerides These are a different type of fat that will be carried out by VLDL cholesterol.
Controlling Your Cholesterol
Now that we know what cholesterol is, it is important to be aware of which factors have an impact on it. Some of the most important things to consider are:
- Weight Being overweight will raise your risk of many problems, including high levels of bad cholesterol. Losing weight can help you maintain healthier cholesterol levels.
- Exercise Be physically active for at least 30 minutes every day in some way or another.
- Diet Monitor the amount of foods that are known to contribute to raising bad cholesterol.
- Age The older we get, the more important it is to watch our cholesterol levels.
- Gender Men are at a higher risk of having high levels of bad cholesterol and dangerously low levels of good cholesterol over women. For women who are postmenopausal, watch the LDL levels.
- Diabetes Those who have diabetes that isnt under control will see dangerous cholesterol levels.
- Heredity Unfortunately, our genes play a part in cholesterol. If you have a family history of high cholesterol, be sure to check and monitor yours more frequently.
There are many things to look into when it comes to cholesterol. Be aware of your cholesterol levels and change your lifestyle to raise HDL levels and reduce LDL cholesterol.