What is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a waxy substance that is vital for the body to function as normal. The majority of cholesterol is produced in the liver with the excess coming from consumption of saturated fats in the diet.
Cholesterol is important in the body because it is:
- A component of the cell wall structure.
- Involved in the production of several steroid hormones such as adrenaline, testosterone, oestrogen and progestogen.
- Involved in vitamin D production.
- A key component of bile acid production.
The problem, however, arises when this waxy substance sticks to the blood vessels and blocks blood supply to the major organs. Because cholesterol is involved in the production of atherosclerotic plaques, high cholesterol is one of the major controllable risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
What are LDL’s and HDL’s?
Cholesterol does not travel alone in the bloodstream but is bound to proteins, the overall complex known as lipoproteins.
Low-density lipoproteins (LDL) carry cholesterol from the liver to other areas of the body. LDL (known as ‘bad cholesterol’) sticks to the lining of the blood vessels causing them to harden and narrow.
High-density lipoproteins (HDL) carry excess cholesterol back to liver for disposal. HDL (known as ‘good cholesterol) helps prevent blocking of blood vessels, therefore, high levels of HDL is desirable.
What are triglycerides?
Triglycerides are the chemical form in which fat exists in food or in our bodies. They can also be produced in the body, either by the body’s fat stores or in the liver. Triglycerides provide a source of energy for the body and also provide insulation helping maintain body temperature.
Excessive consumption of certain foods, some of which include dairy products, meat, alcohol and cooking oils result in excess quantities of triglycerides beyond the bodies needs and can lead to weight gain.
How can I help lower my cholesterol?
Improving your diet, reducing alcohol consumption, quitting smoking and increasing physical exercise can help reduce cholesterol. Call into Lucan Village Pharmacy to get your cholesterol levels checked and receive free advice on reducing your cholesterol.
The following video discusses high cholesterol and lifestyle choices.
The following video provides more information on cholesterol. For more informational videos please visit our YouTube channel.