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A Run-Through on Cholesterol

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Have you hear of this word spoken about so often yet you wonder what it really is?

Cholesterol is a soft and waxy fat that is found in the bloodstream and in the cells of all human beings. Cholesterol, as with other fats, has to be carried through the bloodstream and to and from the cells by proteins called lipoproteins. These lipoproteins have five different kinds: High-density lipoproteins (HDL), Low-density lipoproteins (LDL), Very-low-density lipoproteins (VLDL), Intermediate-density-lipoproteins, and the Chylomicrons.

Cholesterol, about 80% of which is produced by the liver, is important in the cell membranes production of hormones, vitamin D and the bile acids that in turn help in the digestion of fats. It is also believed to aid in the cell connections in the brain that are crucial for learning and memory. However these benefits are put to waste when ones cholesterol level rise in the blood. Depending on the cholesterol and its level, serious health risks may occur.

The needed amount of cholesterol is being produced by the body itself, specifically the liver. Normally the body produces about a thousand milligrams of cholesterol each day, so taking in cholesterol-rich foods found in animals is not really necessary. Saturated fats from animal foods like egg yolks, poultry, fish and dairy products are rich sources of cholesterol. Food derived from plants like fruits, vegetables, and nuts, among others, are not sources of cholesterol.

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A lot of factors influence ones cholesterol levels. Some of these are: diet, weight, exercise, age and gender, heredity, and some other causes such as medications.

A lot of health dangers happen due to high cholesterol levels. Atherosclerosis is a disorder in the arteries wherein fats, cholesterol and other substances are stuck on the walls of the arteries. Atheromas or Plaque would mean greater accumulations on the walls that can damage the arteries and suppress the flow of blood. Artery disease or more familiarly known as heart disease is the top on the list among the causes of death in the U.S.

Warning signs are not evident for these health problems. Angina or heart attacks usually happen when cholesterol builds up on the walls of the arteries. It is advisable for everyone above 20 years old to have their cholesterol levels checked at least once every five years.

Being too complacent might bring about higher risk factors and greater medical expenses. Awareness, coupled with genuine concern for oneself may just get you off these dangers.

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