What is Cholesterol?

What is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a form of fat that your body uses for different things.  A few of these things are hormones, vitamin D, as well as other materials.  These are used to help digest food.

Here are 2 different types of cholesterol.  One is a form of beneficial cholesterol and the other is damaging cholesterol. The beneficial cholesterol is called HDL (High Density Lipoprotein) and the damaging cholesterol is named LDL (Low Density Lipoprotein).

Our bodies use cholesterol to maintain living cells.  These cells produce Estrogen in addition to Testosterone.  Cholesterol is carried through the blood by proteins. These proteins allow the cholesterol to piggy back in order to get it to the organs to be used or discarded.  Once it reaches the liver, it becomes lipids.  This is where it becomes HDL/LDL.  Most of our cholesterol is produced from the liver.  Cholesterol that comes from what we eat is absorbed by the liver.  The liver then releases it as our body needs it. The liver also helps to get rid of unwanted or needed cholesterol. The rest is from what we eat.  Some examples of dietary cholesterol are from foods like fish, poultry, calf liver, etc.  Foods that don’t have cholesterol are broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, plus any plant that can be consumed.


Not all cholesterol is harmful.  In fact, the benefits of cholesterol are that it makes a waxy coating that covers the outside of nerves.  Since our bodies make all the cholesterol it needs, there is really no reason to add foods into our diets that include cholesterol.  As a guideline, no more than 200 milligrams of cholesterol needs to be eaten a day.  The types of cholesterol that is beneficial to us are monounsaturated polyunsaturated food.  Intake of polyunsaturated food needs to be only 20% of our total intake per day at the most.  An excellent source of polyunsaturated food is sunflower oil, corn oil, and safflower oil.  Canola oil and olive oil are sources of Monounsaturated fat.

Not all foods that help cholesterol levels have to be bland with no seasoning or lack of flavor which produces food that is not appetizing.  There are several internet sites that have fantastic recipes for anyone’s taste.  This includes those people that are particularly picky about food. The best part is the recipes are not time consuming. There are great crock pot recipes for those who are always on the run.

The risks of high/low HDL /LDL:

Believe it or not, whether you are male or female has an influence on how Believe it or not, whether you are male or female has an influence on how our body deals with Cholesterol.  Women actually run a higher risk than men to have an issue with destructive cholesterol.  When males and females are young, there HDL /LDL are very similar.  As boys mature they start producing more testosterone.  This causes their HDL to drop.  Women on the other hand produce estrogen.  This causes the HDL to rise.  On average women HDL is a little higher than men.  This changes when the woman reaches the age when they no longer menstruate.  At this point the HDL levels are similar to men.  The LDL levels in women are made up of larger fragments after they stop menstruating.  Before this event happens, the fragments are smaller.  Smaller fragments bind together more easily than large ones.  Women who take medicine to prevent pregnancy cause HDL to rise, which subsequently the LDL is lower. On the other hand there is a medicine that makes the HDL to go down as well as LDL to rise.  Talking to a doctor will help decide what method is best.  Each case is different.  This also depends on any other medicines the woman is taking.

If a person has high levels of LDL, that person is at risk of serious health problems.  This can result in heart disease, stroke, and the breakdown of the arteries. This happens because of a substance called plaque that builds up inside the arteries which chokes the blood flow.  This can also cause blood clots.  When these blood clots get big enough, it blows out the artery. Low levels of LDL are desired in order to reduce these health deficits.  The only way to know if your cholesterol needs to be controlled is by blood test.  Here are cases of what are advantageous, unhealthy, as well as optimal levels of cholesterol; 

High cholesterol is 240 or higher.

Borderline-high is 200 – 239.

Best are less than 200.


There are three blood tests that are used to watch Cholesterol numbers.  These are a Fasting cholesterol test, a direct cholesterol test, including simple cholesterol test.  Here is a breakdown of how each of these tests is accomplished in addition to how they are done.  The fasting test is done nine to twelve hours since the last meal has been eaten.  This is the most complete test.  It looks for HDL, LDL, as well as triglycerides.  Triglycerides are fats in the blood that provide the body with energy.  The direct cholesterol test measures only the LDL level.  This test can be done anytime.  There is no need to go without eating.  A simple cholesterol test processes HDL/LDL levels.  This test can also be performed anytime. This may be done even if the person has just eaten.

Video of Cholesterol

What are the symptoms of High Cholesterol?

High cholesterol is a silent killer.  Unless the person has regular blood drawings to monitor HDL/LDL levels, there is no way to know if the ratio is out of whack.  More than likely the person will have a heart attack first.  Strokes are caused by the plaque building up in the arteries that supply the limbs along with the brain of oxygen.  The best way to avoid health issues concerning cholesterol is to have regular checkups in addition to a healthy diet.

Treatment Possibilities

A change in diet is a respectable start to helping reduce your cholesterol.  Here are some great ideas to start with.  Seafood at a minimum of twice a week is preferred.  Any dark green leaf vegetable helps reduce the cholesterol in the blood.  Evaporated or condensed milk with no fat or low fat, is an option for cooking.  Meat that is not red also helps cut down the cholesterol points.  Just because you need to change your diet because of cholesterol, doesn’t mean you have to give up desserts.  Fresh fruit, fat free microwave popcorn, sherbet, plus sorbets are all worthy choices.  Surprisingly, strawberries do a great job in lowering destructive cholesterol.  Strawberries are great by themselves, but have you ever thought of adding them to a salad?  Be creative; see what ideas you can come up with for this amazing fruit. You can purchase strawberries fresh from the grocer, or even dehydrated.  Dehydrated strawberries are great as a topping in smoothies.  They also make a great snack.  A great idea is to purchase a dehydrator which allows you to dry them out yourself.  This is the least expensive way in the long run then purchasing strawberries already dried.  Strawberries also have other great health advantages.  They are low in calories which is an excellent source of fiber.  Changing habits in the way you live, also help correct cholesterol problems.  An example of changing life habits are increasing exercise, stop smoking, in combination with of course meal planning.  There are a number of sites to help get started with these changes.  Every little bit will help in other health problems.

There are a few misunderstandings about cholesterol.  Just because your beneficial cholesterol is in the best range, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be careful.  There are a lot of factors to keep in mind.  If you have other health problems, this will increase your chances of having heart issues.  Some of these medical problems include family history, diabetes, high blood pressure, as well as any previous heart problems.  There is also a misconception that only our elders have a problem controlling cholesterol levels.  As a matter of fact, testing should actually begin by age twenty.  Where there is family history of this problem is a clue to start monitoring it as early as early teenagers.  Your ethnic background may also put you at risk.  A persons’ ethnic makeup can affect how the body processes cholesterol.  It has not been specifically identified why this happens.

If a person cannot control the cholesterol levels by diet, there is another option.  There are several medications on the market to help regulate the cholesterol levels.  The prescription medicines are preferably the last choice if cholesterol numbers are still too high.  These medicines are used to grab the cholesterol your body cannot use.  These drugs are called Statins.  This type of medication has other benefits too.  One of which is to take away inflammation from your body.  This is helpful news for people that suffer from asthma plus C.O.P.D (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder). Another benefit of taking this type of medicine is that readings show they could possibly help the immune system.  Also it may help slow down the progress of Alzheimer’s.   It has also been discovered that Statins help reduce the risk of Cataracts.  This is when a cloudy substance covers the eye which can affect vision.  Another advantage is it reduces blood pressure.

There is one medication that helps stop the cholesterol from being consumed by the body.  It’s called an absorption inhibitor.  This medicine actually keeps the cholesterol from getting into the circulation.  Not much is really known about this drug.

Some choices to consider are over the counter remedies.  For example, Omega-3, fiber enhancements, garlic, also products made with soy, whole grains, including fish oil in order to help bring down cholesterol.  This is an indication to do a combination of medication and a change of diet if cholesterol levels are out of control.  Also making changes to physical well-being with exercise is beneficial. Not everyone is able to do extensive exercises.  A short walk, bicycle riding, and swimming are worthy places to start with an exercise program.  Swimming is the best choice for no impact and great heart exercise. People that smoke, are diabetic, and have had prior heart attacks, all increase the risk of having a heart attack, another heart attack, or even a stroke.

There are differences between medicine that is prescribed and those bought of grocery store shelves.  The main difference is that the supplements are approved by the Food, Drug Administration.  If there are several complaints about a product, it will be pulled off the shelf.  It is the company that makes these products, responsibility to make sure the labels contain the correct information, have not been exposed to contaminants, which are made in a sanitary facility.  Prescription medicines have to meet higher standards.  It is the company’s responsibly to prove that it is safe, what it accomplishes, plus any side effects that are related to the pill.  The other major difference between over the counter remedies as well as prescription expense.  In most scenarios the over the counter supplement is greatly cheaper.  This is a factor for most people.  The drawback is that the supplement may not be a high enough dose to achieve the desired levels of HDL/LDL.


It is very important that a person with a family history of heart disease, stroke maintain healthy diets, exercise, are necessary way of life changes.  The changes to your life include weight loss including quitting smoking.  Cholesterol problems can also be hereditary.  Your inherited characteristics may keep cells from eliminating LDL cholesterol from your blood capably or cause your liver to create too much cholesterol.  In some cases it is necessary to add a medication to help control levels of HDL/LDL.  Everyone should keep their physician informed of any family history of heart disease.  Before changing your diet, taking over the counter remedies, including starting an exercise routine, it is best to talk to your doctor to make sure you are not physically causing harm to yourself.  Some products may have negative effects with other medicines.  This would be completely counterproductive. Trust in your doctors’ advice.  He or she is there to help you not hurt you.

We will be expanding on this important topic in future articles. While I recommend you to register to download an e-book: “Adult Prevention Guide” for better health, a FREE

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We welcome your comments at the end of the article.
The Team Manager Web Diseases


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