Cholesterol: what is it?

There is no person who at least once heard the word «cholesterol». About him talking to elderly people, explaining the cause of certain diseases, fight with him, it is removed from the diet and afraid of him. What actually is this substance and the dangerous increase in the blood?

What is it?

Cholesterol is a natural fatty alcohol, which normally is synthesized in the body and is necessary for normal functioning of all organs and systems. A large part of it is produced directly by human organs (liver, intestines, etc.), another part of cholesterol enters the body with food. In the body, it mostly is in free form and only 20% is bound to proteins. What is the role of this substance:

  • Included in the composition of cell membranes and maintains their stability.
  • Determines the permeability of the cell membrane and does not pass it harmful substances.
  • Plays a role in the synthesis of sex hormones. If a person is sitting on a vegetable diet, he could have disrupted production of sex hormones.
  • Involved in the secretion and production of adrenal hormones.
  • Included in the composition of bile, which is essential for proper digestive function.
  • Takes part in metabolism of vitamin D and the synthesis of other fat-soluble vitamins (A, E, etc.).
  • Plays a role in protecting nerve fibers.
  • Thus, the threat not only high cholesterol. The lack of this substance in the body can seriously affect the normal work of internal organs.

    What it is?

    In the body, transport of the substance is carried out by lipoproteins. They constitute a protein-lipid complex and differenziata:

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  • LDL (low density lipoprotein). Most patients know them as «bad» cholesterol. When their level in the blood is elevated, it can be a sign of atherosclerosis or a risk factor for its development.
  • Triglycerides. These substances are replacement energy sources. If necessary, they are released from fat cells and used as energy donors. This process is controlled by certain hormones.
  • HDL (high density lipoproteins). This «good» cholesterol. The function of these proteins is the transfer of cholesterol from cells to the liver, where it undergoes recycling and is excreted from the body.
  • What is the danger of its increase?

    Considered normal cholesterol levels in the range of 3.5 – 7.7 mmol/L. the normal values may differ in each lab due to the difference in equipment settings. In foreign medicine recognize its optimal level below 5 mmol/L.
    High cholesterol increases the risk of such pathological conditions as:

    • atherosclerosis;
    • angina;
    • myocardial infarction and stroke;
    • other problems with the blood vessels.

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    Cholesterol plaque filling the lumen of the vessel and prevent normal blood flow to organs and tissues. In addition, there is always the danger of separation of such a plaque (embolus) and a blockage in her vessel of smaller diameter. This condition is called embolism and may cause severe complications and even death.

    What reasons contribute to the higher levels?

    When the patient has high cholesterol, this may be due to different reasons:

    • With the regime and food. In meat, eggs, flour products and certain other products of its level is very high. If the patient has a problem with that, then you need to adhere to the principles anticholesterol diet.
    • With low physical activity. A sedentary lifestyle contributes to the accumulation of this substance.
    • With the use of alcohol and tobacco.
    • Overweight.
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    Some of the reasons for the growth of cholesterol to affect difficult or impossible. These include:

    • genetic predisposition;
    • gender (men have it more often elevated);
    • age – with age the level of cholesterol is increased;
    • comorbidities such as diabetes, liver disease, kidney and thyroid gland;
    • racial predisposition to excessive levels of this substance.

    So before you start treatment for changes in the level of cholesterol in the blood, patients will be advised to reconsider their diet, lifestyle and limit some bad habits. In most cases this is sufficient to restore the normal values of blood parameters without the use of medication.

    Cholesterol is of great importance in the body. Improving its content, as well as its significant reduction would adversely affect human health. To check its level in the blood is sufficient to perform the biochemical analysis of blood. Treatment in case of discrepancy norm selects the treating physician.

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