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What Is Cholesterol?

| Articles | October 15, 2013

Cholesterol in and of itself, is a natural function of the human body. Every living being requires a certain amount of fat to exist. Like everything in nature, it only becomes a problem when there is an imbalance.

The processing of fat begins when it gets absorbed in the intestines. From there it heads to the liver. The fat requires a delivery system to the rest of the body to be used immediately but also to be stored in fat cells for future use.

In order for the fat to enter the delivery system, while it is in the liver it is split into two different types of fat, cholesterol and triglycerides.

Once this transformation takes place, the two types of fat (cholesterol and triglycerides) are packed into vehicles for carrying the fat to the fat cells throughout the body using the bloodstream. These vehicles are called lipoproteins.

There are three types of lipoproteins: Very Low Density Lipoproteins (VLDL), Low Density Lipoproteins (LDL),High Density Lipoproteins (HDL)

Under normal circumstances, the bloodstream does a very efficient job of carrying the LDL and HDL Lipoproteins throughout the body.

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat like substance that presents itself naturally in cell walls and membranes everywhere in your body. Your body uses cholesterol to produce many hormones. It also uses it to produce vitamin D and the bile acids that help to digest fat.

Where problems arise is when there is an over abundance of cholesterol in your bloodstream. The cholesterol deposited by the LDL leads to a narrowing of the blood vessels.

If this occurs, the excess can be deposited in the arteries of the heart which could result in stroke or heart disease. This is called atherosclerosis. This is why LDL is known as “bad cholesterol.”

HDL usually collects the bad cholesterol and takes it back to the liver. That’s why HDL is known as “good cholesterol.”

Cholesterol is not the only cause of heart disease, but it is a contributing factor.

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