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When someone mentions the word cholesterol, some people automatically think the worst, but not all cholesterol is bad. Itís important to learn the facts about cholesterol in order to take better care of your body. By understanding what cholesterol is and how it affects our health, we can better prepare for the future.
Cholesterol itself is a fatty, wax like substance otherwise known as a lipid. The liver produces most of the cholesterol our bodies need, the rest can be found in different foods that we eat. Some common foods that have high cholesterol are egg yolks, bacon, cheese that is made with whole milk, and high in calorie foods. Cholesterol plays a key part in our bodies, without it we wouldnít have testosterone or estrogen. It also helps us to stay healthy by keeping our cells strong and able to produce hormones.
Cholestrol is produced by the liver. This is then transported through the body to each cell. Excessive amounts are returned to the liver, but can also attach themselves to the walls of the arteries and cause heart disease. Despite this, cholestrol is vital for certain body functions, including membrane building, bile and hormone production, cell wall construction and the formation of sheaths for nerves. However, excess is not good. High levels of bad cholestrol can also lead to gall stones, mental problems and even high blood pressure in some people.
There are two types of cholesterol, the bad type known as LDL and the good type known as HDL. LDL stands for low density lipoproteins, too much of this cholesterol in your blood can clog arteries which can lead to greater chances of heart disease or having stroke or a heart attack. The good cholesterol, HDL (high density lipoproteins) is what the body uses to get rid of LDL.
High cholesterol can come from a number of different sources. As we get older our cholesterols levels tend to rise. If youíre someone who ate bacon and eggs every day for breakfast, chances are you will have higher cholesterol then someone who ate cereal every day. Besides our diet and age, high cholesterol can also be inherited. Diabetics and people that are overweight are also more susceptible to high cholesterol.
Doctors recommend that you get your cholesterol levels checked after your mid thirties. By having you levels checked you can make sure that youíre not at risk for any life threatening diseases.
To keep your cholesterol down there are some easy to follow steps. The most important factor in lowering your cholesterol is diet. Make sure you eat lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and drink plenty of water. Stay away from foods that have trans fat and anything fatty. If youíre a smoker, stop smoking and if youíre overweight, itís time to get on that treadmill.
In cases of severe LDL, medications can be subscribed to help lower cholesterol. These medications are usually a last resort for doctors. The first treatment choice will always be to change your diet and exercise. Having a healthy diet and exercise is important in not only bringing down your cholesterol levels but in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
If after 6 months to a year of a steady diet change, your symptoms donít change, the next step would be for your doctor to subscribe you a medication.
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