Cholesterol is found in cells of the body and in blood. It is a waxy type of lipid or fat that remains in the blood and moves in the whole body
Effects Of Cholesterol Levels
. Cholesterol is made in the body by the liver and also obtained from foods such as eggs, yolks, cheese, meat Basically, the cholesterol is moved in the body as a bundle form called a lipoprotein. These lipids or fat molecules are important to make the substances essential for digesting food, vitamin D, and hormones.
Need for cholesterol
Cholesterol is necessary for the body to make layers from cell membranes. The layers formed with the help of cholesterol act as gatekeepers and decide what can enter a cell and what cannot. Cholesterol is secreted by the liver and also helps in making bile juice. Thus, the liver secretes cholesterol according to the body.
Cholesterol has two different forms:
- Low-density lipoprotein(LDL): It is also termed “bad cholesterol” which means this form of cholesterol is bad for health. LDL causes atherosclerosis which is stuck in the walls of the arteries and makes it narrower. In this condition, arteries are blocked because of the fatty deposits which form plaque. Saturated fatty acids or trans fats should be included in less amount in the diet so that LDL could not increase.
- High-density lipoprotein(HDL): It is termed “high cholesterol” which means this form of cholesterol is good for health as it drives away bad cholesterol and other types of cholesterol from arteries. HDL reduces the risk of heart diseases. It is also called a delivery truck as it takes cholesterol from the body to the liver.
Level of cholesterol
- Hypercholesterolemia: In this condition, cholesterol level is high in the body.
- Hypocholesterolemia: In this condition, cholesterol level is low in the body.
Effects of cholesterol on different body parts
- Cardiovascular and circulatory systems: High level of LDL leads to plaque buildup in the arteries which makes them clogged and less flexible. Since the blood can’t flow through the stiff arteries, then the heart needs to work harder. This can result in heart diseases. Angina is also caused by a high level of LDL which is a type of blood flow disruption.
Peripheral arterial disease is the result of blocking the arteries for the blood flow to the intestinal tract, feet, and legs due to the formation of plaque.
- Endocrine system: Hypothyroidism is the low production of thyroid hormones and growth hormone deficiency both leads to a high level of LDL that is bad cholesterol and affects our health.
- Nervous system: Cholesterol is an important part of the nervous system. Brain supplies 25% of the body’s cholesterol. It helps in the protection of nerve cells and leads to the communication of the brain with the body. Excessive levels of cholesterol lead to mental problems and memory loss.
- Digestive system: Cholesterol is necessary for the production of bile in the digestive system. A high level of cholesterol leads to the crystal formation of bile droplets and further becomes hard stones in the gallbladder. The gallstones are very painful.
Monitoring of cholesterol
According to American Heart Association, a healthy adult above age 20 should check cholesterol once every 4 to 6 years and if you are at risk of increased levels of cholesterol then you need to check your cholesterol frequently.
In case of a history of cholesterol problems in the family or heart attacks at a young age then you should check the cholesterol level more often.
Following are the reasons for the development of high cholesterol:
- Unhealthy diet
- Irregularly exercise habits
- Use of tobacco products
- Kidney diseases
How to lower your cholesterol through diet?
Diet is important to keep your cholesterol at a normal level other than various factors. For maintaining and achieve cholesterol levels, doctors recommend the following food to eat:
- Avoiding junk foods
- Eating food rich in proteins like fish, legumes, chicken.
- Eat baked, broiled, grilled or steamed, roasted foods instead of fried foods.
- Eat high-fiber foods like vegetables, whole-food grains, and fruits.
Avoid eating the following foods that have high cholesterol content:
- Baked goods like muffins and cookies.
- Processed foods like cheese, palm oil, or coconut oil.
- High-fat dairy products
- Fried foods like potato chips, fried chicken.
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Amanda Wingfield is a certified Diabetes Management Specialist who also holds an MD in Endocrinology, with certifications from ABIM and AACE. She has a decade of experience serving thousands of patients through her independent practice and has been working in the capacity of an expert diabetes consultant for the past 4 years. Ms. Wingfield is revered by her regular readers for her in-depth research and evidence-based analysis of diabetes medications, supplements, and treatments, and her highly critical style of writing.