PAGE PRESENTS AN OVERVIEW OF CHOLESTEROL, ITS TYPES, ITS CAUSES, SOME PREVENTION TIPS,
LINKS TO CHOLESTEROL INFORMATION ABOUT CHOLESTEROL IN THE BLOOD.
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BloodBook.com strives to be a
complete resource for complete and accurate information about your Blood. For certain,
cholesterol is at the top of the list of concerns about Blood related problems in both men
and women. As with HIV/AIDS, there are, at your library and on the internet, excellent
resources available on the subject of cholesterol. Our mission is to provide information
that may be more difficult to find or to understand. We have, however, included here a
quality summary overview of cholesterol, how it affects us, and some of the important
things to look for as you read more about the subject.
Definition || LDL || HDL
|| Normal Range/Reference || Ideal Cholesterol Levels
Rules of Thumb || High Risk || Types of Cholesterol || Causes
Highest Risk Watch Factor List || Other Fats || Prevention Summary
Cholesterol is a
lipid. Lipids are fats. BLOOD CHOLESTEROL, Lipids are transported through the Bloodstream in 'packages,' and
attach themselves to proteins in our Bloodstream, resulting in what are called
'lipoproteins.' Some cholesterols are good, such as the HDLs (high density
lipoproteins). Some are bad, such as the LDLs (low density lipoproteins).
This medical terminology will help us have a better understanding of the many cholesterol
numbers and references about which we hear almost every day. They will help to give us a
sense of our safe range numbers, how to lower the bad numbers and raise the good
LDLs are bad. These types of cholesterol are the ones responsible for
clogging up and blocking arteries, resulting in hardening of the arteries
(atherosclerosis), which is an accumulation of fat buildup inside the walls of our
HDLs are good. These cholesterols prevent fat buildup in arterial walls,
carrying it away from the arteries to the liver where it is processed and eliminated.
These good cholesterols help certain parts of our bodies, such as tissues and hormones to
function normally. They are also used to make bile, which helps the body process the food
that we eat. Bile is produced in the liver and stored in the gallbladder.
When our bodies produce the cholesterol, it is known as endogenous cholesterol. But when
we eat the cholesterol as a component part of our diet, that cholesterol is referred to as
Vegetarians have low LDL; exercise, vitamin C, and niacin elevate good HDL.
It is generally considered as healthier to have a total cholesterol range/reference
reading of less than 200 mg/dL, that is combining both HDL and LDL numbers. The higher the
HDL fraction the better.
If our HDL level is 80 mg/dL and the LDL level is 130 mg/dL, we are considered to be
"low risk" for heart disease as we define it today. As our HDL level decreases,
our potential for heart problems is said to intensify, even if the total is on the low
side. An HDL level below 35 mg/dL is considered to be a dangerous level. An HDL level of
60 mg/dL or higher is considered protective of our circulatory system.
The higher the total Blood cholesterol level, the lower the HDL number will indicate that
a potentially high risk for developing coronary heart disease is present. This number will
also provide a signal that changes must be made in ones lifestyle.
Rule of thumb - The ideal
total Blood cholesterol level is anything below 200. This does not, however, take into
consideration the age and sex of the person and some other relevant factors. A 20-year-old
with a total Blood cholesterol level of 190, who has family members who have died of heart
disease at an early age, may still be at risk and should have frequent, physician
supervised tests. On the other hand, a healthy 70-year-old male with a total Blood
cholesterol level of 240, or greater, has already demonstrated his ability to live
normally, or not, if there have been problems with clogged arteries.
A "rule of thumb" way of looking at our cholesterol numbers is to divide the
total cholesterol level by HDL cholesterol level. A ratio greater than 4.5 indicates a
high heart disease risk, while a ratio of 3.5 and lower is considered optimal.
HIGH RISK - Total (combined) cholesterol of 240 mg/dL and above.
HIGH RISK - LDL of 160 mg/dL and above.
Serum Lipids, Cholesterol, Triglycerides, VLDL, LDL, HDL, Chylomicrons and, Serum
of Cholesterol Problems
Overindulgence in LDL cholesterol-containing foods is dangerous, causing elevated Blood
cholesterol and triglycerides. These fats, in most people, produce plaque-filled arteries
that impede flow of Blood to vital body parts including the heart. High cholesterol levels
are the major cause of heart disease, fatty deposits in the arteries (arteriosclerosis),
and cerebrovascular and cardiac insufficiency. Also, high cholesterol is often cited as a
major cause of high Blood pressure (hypertension.)
Cholesterol is a yellowish, wax-like substance closely related to fat and is absorbed
through the digestive tract, as we eat animal products. The body produces about 1000
mg. of cholesterol per day, while the average American diet supplies another 500
to 900 mg. This amount is two to three times more than
the average adult should consume. Only 300 mg. per day should be eaten. Even
if there were no cholesterol in our diet, our liver, and to a lesser extent the body
cells, would produce enough cholesterol for all of our normal body functions.
Risk Factor Watch List
||Age: Male - over 45
- over 55 years or premature menopause without
||Family history of early coronary
heart disease, certain myocardial infarction or sudden death before age 55 in father
or male first degree relative, or before age 65 in mother or female first degree
smoking, and/or a long history of cigarette smoking
||Hypertension of more than 140/90 mmHg or on
||Low HDL cholesterol of less than 35 mg/dl
||High HDL cholesterol of more than 60 mg/dl
Other factors that show up in
those with high Blood cholesterol are: coffee drinking; a diet high in saturated fatty
acids; a lack of proper exercise; excessive emotional stress; obesity; sugar - high intake
of sucrose or other foods that become sugars.
that Affect our Health
Saturated Fats - Fats that are solid at room temperature. They generally come from an
animal source, and include butter, lard and suet. Cream contains saturated fat, but
because it also contains milk it remains liquid (on the label you can see how much fat it
contains). Coconut oil is, of course, from a plant source, but still hardens at room
temperature. Palm oil is also saturated and is widely used in the manufacture of pastries,
candy items, cakes and biscuits. Remember to always watch for this.
Monounsaturated Fats - These fats are the
preferred choice because they tend to lower, or at least are thought not to contribute to
a bad Blood cholesterol level. The most commonly available monounsaturated oils are
avocado oil, canola oil and olive oil, which are high in HDLs. Tests carried out on people
from the Mediterranean countries consistently indicate that the use of monounsaturated
oils actually reduces the amount of cholesterol in the Blood. It is also believed that the
increased HDLs are able to clean excess cholesterol from the Blood vessels.
Polyunsaturated Fats - Fats that are found in
most nut, seed and vegetable oils. Traditionally they have been combined with dairy foods
to make margarine and cooking oils. It was originally thought this would be a healthier
alternative to butter and other saturated fats, but recent findings contradict this. The
very process used to make margarine (beating the oil) actually saturates it.
||Select the foods
that you eat carefully and consume foods sensibly
||Have your Blood
tested annually; watch your cholesterol
||Know your family
history of heart disease and tell your doctor the facts
Live Healthier, Live Longer - Cholesterol tutorial from the United
States Department of Health and Human Services, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.
Cholesterol - American Heart Association - has great links.
So You Have High Blood
Cholesterol - Excellent presentation, in a short and easily understood book format,
from National Institutes of Health.
Thank you for
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last updated 03/29/2013 bloodbook.com