The Good Cholesterol (HDL), The Bad Cholesterol (LDL), What Is It Exactly?
We have all heard of cholesterol. We know that there is good cholesterol and bad cholesterol. But what is it exactly? And why do some people have excess cholesterol? Zoom on this problem that affects nearly 20% of the population. What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is essential for proper functioning of the body, but it can also be harmful when it comes to bad cholesterol. The membranes surrounding the cells consist in part of cholesterol. This lipid belonging to the sterol family is also essential for the production of hormones produced by the genital and adrenal glands. Cholesterol comes from 70% of the liver and 30% of the diet.
There are two types of cholesterol: LDL cholesterol for Low-Density Lipoproteins also called bad cholesterol and HDL cholesterol for High-Density Lipoproteins also called good cholesterol. The bad cholesterol is found mostly in the blood and is deposited in the arteries. Eventually, this can cause cardiovascular risks. The good cholesterol plays a restorative role by capturing the excess of bad cholesterol in the blood and dragging it towards the liver so that it is eliminated.
A blood test can be used to determine the levels of good and bad cholesterol. The normal level of total cholesterol in the blood is considered to be less than 2.0 grams per liter.
Risks of cholesterol
Too high a cholesterol level combined with an excess of triglycerides cause hyperlipidemia. This high level of lipids in the blood eventually causes hardening and thickening of the arteries and increases the risk of clots forming in the blood. A clot can clog an artery and cause a heart attack. Cardiovascular disorders are the leading cause of death in the world.
Causes of cholesterol
One of the main factors that contribute to the occurrence of excess cholesterol in the blood is diet. Eating foods high in saturated fat and dietary cholesterol increases the risk of cholesterol and heart disease.Overweight and obesity also promote bad cholesterol at the expense of good. However, thin people can also be affected by cholesterol. Heredity and age can also be taken into account. Some individuals also have a liver that assimilates cholesterol less well.
People with type 2 diabetes are also more prone to cholesterol. Finally, smoking but also stress can increase cholesterol levels in the blood.
What are the symptoms of cholesterol?
Excess cholesterol is asymptomatic. This is why some complications may occur even before the person realizes his cholesterol problem. Excess cholesterol causes deposits on the walls of the arteries. These deposits can lead to angina pectoris. More importantly, a blood clot can come off and clog different arteries causing infarction, stroke or kidney failure.
Prevention and treatment of cholesterol
For people suffering from low or moderate hypercholesterolemia, it is sometimes enough to change their eating habits to find a normal cholesterol level. For people who are high, taking medication is necessary to balance cholesterol levels in the blood. Cholesterol can be prevented by eating a healthy and balanced diet, exercising regularly, and reducing alcohol consumption.
Here are some dietary tips that help prevent bad cholesterol :
- Avoid saturated fats of animal origin such as butter, fatty meats, cold meats and foods high in cholesterol (egg yolks, offal, cream).
- Favor polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats of plant origin such as olive, sunflower, rapeseed, walnut, common seed, as well as fish, veal and poultry.
- Avoid drinking alcohol and smoking.
Thanks for reading. [MK]