Cholesterol is one of the most dreaded words amongst the health conscious people.But let us find out some facts about it:
What is cholesterol ?
Cholesterol is a lipid (fat) which is produced by the liver.The waxy steroid is transported through the blood plasma in all aminals. It is essential in building and maintaining the cell membranes and determines which molecules should be passed through the membrane.
Cholesterol is carried in the blood through molecules called the lipoproteins.Lipopraoteins as the word suggests contains both proteins and fats.
Here are some of the other functions of cholesterol:
· It is involved in the production of sex hormones (androgens and estrogens)
· It is essential for the production of hormones released by the adrenal glands (cortisol, corticosterone, aldosterone, and others)
· It aids in the production of bile
· It converts sunshine to vitamin D. Scientists from the Rockefeller University were surprised to find that taking vitamin D supplements do not seem to reduce the risk of cholesterol-related cardiovascular disease.
· It is important for the metabolism of fat soluble vitamins, including vitamins A, D, E, and K
· It insulates nerve fibers
There are three different forms of Lipoproteins:
· Low density lipoproteins (LDL)
· High density Lipoproteins (HDL)
LDL popularly known as the bad cholesterol is the most dreaded one. It carries the cholesterol from the liver to the blood. If the quantity carried is more, it gets deposited in the arteries causing blockage It increases the risk of cardio vascular diseases
HDL popularly known as the good cholesterol as it prevents cardio vascular diseases and takes the cholesterol away from the blood to the liver.
Triglycerides are the form in which most fats exist in the body. Triglycerides along with cholesterol form the blood fat. Triglycerides in plasma originate either from fats in our food, or are made in the body from other energy sources, such as carbohydrates
How does high cholesterol levels affect us?
High cholesterol levels give rise to a host of heart problems including arterial diseases, heart attack, stroke and other cardio vascular conditions.
What causes high cholesterol?
· Sedentary lifestyle
· Diet rich in fat
· Smoking habits
· Increased consumption of alcohol