Last Updated on September 1, 2022 by Olivia Anderson
Blood contains a particular sort of fat called cholesterol. The function of every organ in your body, including the brain, skin, and other organs, depends on cholesterol. However, you only need a little of it, not a lot.
Your liver produces cholesterol within the body. In addition to this, cholesterol can also be found in certain foods. Foods that contain cholesterol include meat, fish, eggs, butter, cheese, and milk. Green vegetables and fruits don’t contain any cholesterol. Anything in excess can be harmful. Eating too much fat and cholesterol can also negatively affect your body and health.
Types of cholesterol
The body needs the cholesterol in your blood to move throughout, but it cannot do it independently. To get through the bloodstream, it joins proteins. Lipoproteins are the name for this cholesterol- and protein-containing transport carriers.
The two main forms of cholesterol are as follows:
- Bad cholesterol, also known as low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, is a protein that transports triglycerides from the liver into the blood, where they may adhere to blood vessels.
- Good cholesterol, also known as high-density lipoprotein (HDL), transports circulating cholesterol back to the liver for oxidation.
Do you have trouble remembering what is good and what is bad cholesterol? Here’s a tip: HDL is the “healthy” cholesterol (with the “H” for healthy), and Bad cholesterol is the other one.
What happens if your bad cholesterol level is too high?
LDL (bad) cholesterol in excess in the body can adhere to and thicken the walls of your blood vessels. Plaque is the term for this accumulation. The blood vessels’ internal lumen gets smaller over time as this plaque thickens. These smaller blood arteries impede the passage of blood to and from your heart and other organs. Additionally, if the heart’s blood supply is restricted, it may result in chest pain or possibly a heart attack. So, there is a direct link between high cholesterol and heart disease.
The following list of elements can cause high levels of bad cholesterol:
- Unhealthy food
- Inactive lifestyle
- Exposure to or smoking tobacco
- Having a weight problem
Heredity can play a role too.
Your mother, father, or even grandparents could have passed down genes that make you have high cholesterol. Familial hypercholesterolemia is what this is (FH). FH is risky since it can trigger an early onset of atherosclerotic heart disease.
How can you tell if your cholesterol is high?
The quantity of cholesterol (and triglycerides) in your blood can be determined by a straightforward blood test known as a comprehensive cholesterol test, often known as a lipid panel or lipid profile. This is a crucial tool for determining the risk of heart disease, particularly coronary artery disease.
Who needs to have their cholesterol checked?
If any of the following apply to you, you may need to get your cholesterol checked:
Have a history of heart attacks or high cholesterol in your family
- A weight problem
- Live a sedentary lifestyle
- Consume a poor diet
- Indulge in smoking cigarettes
- Men and women above 45 years of age
- Possess diabetes
When to get tested?
Children, teenagers, and young adults should be tested once between the ages of 9 and 11 and again between the ages of 17 and 21 if they are adults with no risk factors for heart disease. Adults should undergo the test as part of a routine health check every four to six years.
Testing should be done regularly when risk factors for heart disease are present. It would help if you also considered taking a test when earlier results showed high-risk levels and when receiving therapy for high cholesterol levels.
Adults at average risk of developing coronary heart disease should get their cholesterol evaluated every five years.