Cholesterol is naturally produced in the liver. It is readily available in a number of food sources like meats, eggs, and all dairy products. Cholesterol is of two types – the good and the bad cholesterol. Most people make the mistake of believing that all cholesterols are bad for their body system, but this is far from the truth. As a matter of fact, your body requires a certain amount of good cholesterol to carry out some important biological functions. A good example of the functions of good cholesterol, otherwise known as HDL, is its ability to enable your cell walls manufacture hormones, vitamins, and bile acids needed for the digestion of fats.
How Bad Cholesterol Leads To Heart Diseases
When there is too much bad cholesterol or LDT in your system, there may be a formation of plaque in your arteries. When plagues form in your arteries, walls of the blood circulatory routes gets narrowed. Sclerosis, a condition characterized by the hardening of the arteries can equally lead to the hardening of the arteries. Sclerosis can lead to heart diseases. The accumulation of cholesterol in your arteries can reduce the amount of oxygen and blood supply to your heart’s muscles. This condition causes a type of chest pain called angina. When your blood vessels get clogged completely, it increases the risk of heart attacks.
The medium through which cholesterol is transported all through the body is blood attached to a protein. The combination of protein and cholesterol is known as lipoprotein. There are three different types of lipoproteins in the blood: low density lipoprotein, high density lipoprotein, and very low density lipoprotein. The type of protein present in your blood depends on the amount of protein in relation to fat.
- Low density lipoprotein: This type of cholesterol is otherwise known as LDL or bad cholesterol. They are known to be responsible for the formation of plaque in the walls of your arteries. The more the amounts of LDL present in your blood, the higher your chances of suffering from heart-related diseases.
- High density lipoprotein: This type of cholesterol is known as HDL or good cholesterol. It is known for its ability to reduce the amount of LDL in the body. Having a higher level of HDL than LDL is always good for your overall health and wellbeing. The lower the level of HDL in your body, the higher your risks of suffering heart attacks.
- Very low density lipoprotein: Otherwise known as VLDL, it is very similar to LDL and contains more fats than proteins.
- Triglycerides: When you take in excess amounts of sugar, alcohol, and calories, they are converted to triglycerides and stored in your body fat cells.
Factors That Affect Cholesterol Levels in the Body
Several factors can affect the levels of cholesterol in your body. Some of these factors include the following:
- Weight: It is a known fact that your weight can increase your risks of suffering from heart-related diseases. Apart from heart diseases, your weight can affect your cholesterol levels. Losing weight can help you reduce the levels of LDL found in your body and regulate your total cholesterol levels. It can equally increase the level of HDL in your body.
- Diet: The saturated fat and cholesterol content of your food/diets can increase the amount of cholesterol in your body.
- Exercises: Exercising regularly can help you reduce your LDL levels and at the same time increase your HDL levels. Exercising at least 30 minutes daily will help you achieve this.
- Diabetes: Poorly controlled cases of diabetes can increase your cholesterol levels. Effective management/control of your diabetes can help reduce your cholesterol levels.
- Heredity: Your genes partly determine the amount of cholesterol your body produces. High cholesterol levels run in some family lines.
- Age and gender: Your cholesterol level rises as you age. Women naturally have lower cholesterol levels than men before they get into menopause. Women who have gone into menopause are known to have high HDL levels.