What is Cholesterol?
by Patrick Lewis
the body needs. Our bodies will also absorb cholesterol directly from food that
In nature cholesterol is only found in animal based foods, but some food processing
can cause other foods to have cholesterol as well. Foods fried in animal fat or tropical
oils, have also been found to contain cholesterol. Saturated fat is also found primarily
in animal based foods.
Cholesterol on its own can not dissolve in the blood. Tiny particles called lipoproteins
deliver cholesterol to and from the blood cells. There are two lipoproteins that work
with cholesterol, low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and high-density lipoproteins (HDL).
LDL cholesterol, often referred to as “Bad” cholesterol, carries cholesterol in the blood
stream to the tissues, where it can be used or stored by the body. The reason this
type of cholesterol is referred to as “Bad” is that this is the cholesterol that can build-
up and clog arteries. This is what happens when there is too much LDL in the body.
HDL cholesterol, often referred to as “Good” cholesterol, carries cholesterol in the
blood stream from the tissues to the liver. The liver then expels this cholesterol from
the body. A high HDL level will tend to protect against heart attack and stroke.
There are other factors that can affect your blood cholesterol levels. Some of these
factors include being overweight, lack of exercise, inherited health traits, increased
age, and gender. Women after menopause tend to have higher cholesterol than
before menopause. Women also tend to have a higher HDL level throughout there
lives than men. This may help to explain why women under the age of 80 usually
experience lower rates of heart disease and stroke than men.
According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), a high cholesterol
level is considered to be over 200 mg/dL for your total cholesterol. Total cholesterol
is calculated as (LDL + HDL). This however, is not the only figure that you should be
concerned about. You also need to have a HDL level greater than or equal to 45
mg/dL, to reduce your risk of heart disease.
Total Blood Cholesterol Levels
Desirable: less than 200 mg/dL
Borderline: 200-239 mg/dL
High: 240 mg/dL or higher
HDL Cholesterol Levels
Desirable: 45 mg/dL or higher
LDL Cholesterol Levels
Desirable: less than 130 mg/dL
Borderline: 130-159 mg/dL
High: 160 mg/dL or higher
About The Author
Patrick Lewis Founded Greatest Health Supplements in mid 2006. Patrick had worked
in Information Technology for over 20 years, and had struggled with stress related
illness for the past 7 years. Patrick soon discovered that there was a lot of
misinformation out there about proper health and diet, some of which was actually
coming from his doctors. Patrick has since set out to debunk some of these myths,
and to provide alternative points of view, based on research and information found on
the internet. Find more articles like this:
Cholesterol is a soft, waxy,
fat-like material that is made by
the liver. Cholesterol serves
many vital functions, and is part
of every cell in the body. Our
bodies require cholesterol to
maintain healthy cell walls, make
hormones, make vitamin D, and
to make bile acids.
The food we eat can also play a
big part in the amount of
cholesterol in our bodies. If we
eat an excess of food containing
saturated fat, the liver will
produce more cholesterol than
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