What is colesterol or cholesterol?
Colesterol (Spanish for cholesterol) is a steroid that plays an important function in the body. It is used in many different cells to make important structures. That said, cholesterol also plays a major role in heart disease.
From a general perspective, there are two main types of cholesterol: low density lipoprotein, LDL, high density lipoprotein, or HDL. The general rule is that LDL is “bad,” and HDL is “good,” though what that means isn’t exactly clear.
Heart disease can occur when cholesterol builds up on arteries and helps in the formation of a plaque. This can be fatal because the plaques can clog the blood vessels completely. Imagine a lead pipe with a big pile of goo in the middle – water wouldn’t be able to go through it.
That’s what happens in your body pretty much, with cholesterol and your body’s own form of goo.
Additionally, the plaques can break off and float around, which doesn’t sound too bad. That is, until they reach a small enough blood vessel that they can block entirely, causing anything ranging from a stroke, deep venous thrombosis, or heart attack.
Colesterol or cholesterol is reused by the body, and you get a lot of it from your diet.
Some major medications lower cholesterol levels such as the statins.
What are healthy cholesterol levels?
As per the American Heart Association, total cholesterol levels should be lower than 200 mg/dl.
LDL levels should be optimally below 100 mg/dl
100 to 130 mg/dl is not too high risk of disease
130 to 160 mg/dl is moderately elevated
160 mg/dl and up is at significant risk of disease
HDL levels should be optimally be above 60 mg/dl
Less than 50 mg/dl of HDL is high risk for women
Less than 40 mg/dl of HDL is high risk for men
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