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What is high cholesterol?

Favourite foods such as burgers, chips, bacon, and eggs are all a big part of many people’s lifestyles. The problem is that they are all high in cholesterol and can lead to health problems. To understand how this can happen, you have to understand what cholesterol is.

Definition of cholesterol

Cholesterol is a fatty, waxy substance which is produced by the liver. The body actually needs cholesterol to make certain hormones, vitamin D, create bile salt to help digest fat, and to build cell walls. Whilst the body produces enough cholesterol that you do not need to consume it, it is also found in certain foods. Animal food products such as eggs, meat, and dairy products (cheese, milk, and ice cream) all have cholesterol in them.

Good and bad cholesterol

Cholesterol cannot move through the bloodstream without attaching itself to protein. When protein and cholesterol team up, they form a lipoprotein. There are two types of lipoproteins: high-density lipoprotein and low-density lipoprotein. They are referred to as HDL (the good cholesterol) and LDL (the bad cholesterol) cholesterol. Low-density Lipoprotein LDL is bad because of the way it affects the body. Too much LDL cholesterol in the body clogs up blood vessels and stops the blood from flowing as it should. High-density Lipoprotein HDL is good because it removes cholesterol from the blood stream and carries it back to the liver to be processed and then sent out to where it is needed. High cholesterol When someone is told he has high cholesterol, what is really being said is he has too much bad or LDL cholesterol in his body. High levels of LDL create plaque, a hard substance on the walls of the arteries. This causes the arteries to narrow, decreasing blood flow. This can lead to coronary artery disease which puts a person at risk of having a heart attack. It can also lead to a stroke when the blood vessels which supply the brain are affected. Causes Weight
Those overweight or obese typically have high cholesterol levels. Heredity
Sometimes, it is in the genes and you are born with the risk of high cholesterol. Age
As you get older, your risk of high cholesterol increases. Diet
Eating foods high in cholesterol and unhealthy fats increase cholesterol levels.

Lowering high cholesterol

Medication
Depending on how high your cholesterol is, sometimes a doctor will prescribe medication to help lower and keep LDL at a safe level. Exercise
Exercising will increase the HDL levels. Diet
Avoid high cholesterol foods and eat more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

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