What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is naturally found in the body and is essential for many functions such as the manufacture of some hormones, and as an essential component of the outer membrane of cells. Cholesterol is a lipid or fat that is manufactured by the liver, with additional cholesterol coming from the food we eat.
Healthy cholesterol levels is all about balance. The body needs to keep a healthy amount to survive and disposes of the remainder. High cholesterol levels result when this balance is upset.
High cholesterol levels in the blood may be due to a generic susceptibility (inherited) or as a result of a diet too high in fats.
High cholesterol may contribute to long-term health risks such as cardiovascular disease. It is important to have your cholesterol levels checked by your doctor.
What are LDL’s and HDLs?
Cholesterol, like fat, cannot move around the in the blood on its own. That’s because fat does not mix with water, the major ingredient of blood. So it hitches a ride with some proteins, called lipoproteins.
There are several types of lipoproteins: very low-density lipoproteins (VLDL); low-density lipoproteins (LDL); and high-density lipoproteins (HDL).
levels is all
VLDLs are made in the liver and their job is to carry fats to different parts of the body. Once they drop off some of their fat load, they become LDLs, which carry the remaining cholesterol around the body. LDL cholesterol has been dubbed the ‘bad’ cholesterol; it’s important to have low levels of LDL cholesterol.
HDL, on the other hand, carries cholesterol back to the liver. HDL cholesterol is therefore called ‘good’ cholesterol, and you want to have high levels of HDL in your blood as a kind of cholesterol police, picking up the bad cholesterol.