Ah…….. cholesterol…….. we hear this C word all the time, which has been frightening us for nearly 50 years. The second scariest word after Cancer, Cholesterol as a matter of fact is a silent killer, so they say.
What is Cholesterol?
When we say “Cholesterol” actually we aren’t talking about the cholesterol itself. It’s about “Lipoprotein”, a water soluble particle in our blood which carries fats (lipo = fat), proteins and cholesterol (lipids). Lipoprotein is responsible for transporting cholesterol through our blood stream.
The LDL, Low-Density Lipoproteins or “The Bad Cholesterol” contains a lower percentage of protein compared to a higher level of cholesterol. Vice versa, the HDL, High-Density Lipoproteins, “The Good Cholesterol” contains a higher level of protein to cholesterol. HDL brings the cholesterol back to the liver and after processing it, the cholesterol gets wash out from our body.
Cholesterol itself is actually produced by our own body. It’s a construction of the outer layer of our cells (membranes). Every single cell in our body makes cholesterol. We can not live without cholesterol. We have to have enough of cholesterol all the time in order to maintaining a good health.
Cholesterol is a vital element in protecting our cell membranes. It helps controlling our body fluids. It is crucial for our digestion. It is needed to produce Vitamin D. It is used to make steroid hormones, such as estrogens and testosterone. Basically, cholesterol is very important for our body.
But when the level of LDL increase, it can form cholesterol plaques along the inside walls of the artery. Over time the cholesterol plaque deposit is accumulating, caused the inside of the vessel to narrowing and decreasing the blood flows.
If the cholesterol plaques breaking off, it can create a clot and blocks the normal blood flow in the artery, triggering a heart attack or a stroke. Therefore a heart problem is not actually caused by the cholesterol itself, it is induced by the lipoproteins which transporting the cholesterol around, finding its way beyond the artery wall.
Our cholesterol level can edge upward year by year, it becomes more common as we age. Pay attention to it.