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What is Cholesterol? What Causes High Cholesterol?

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Cholesterol is a fat (lipid) which is produced by the liver and is crucial for popular body functioning. Cholesterol exists in the outer layer of every cell in our object and has lousy with functions. It is a waxy steroid and is transported in the blood plasma of all animals. It is the main sterol synthesized by animals - limited amounts are too synthesized in plants and fungi.
The word "cholesterol" comes from the Greek colloquy chole, bottom line "bile", and the Greek expression stereos, solution "solid, stiff".

What are the functions of cholesterol?

  • It builds and maintains cell membranes (outer layer), it prevents crystallization of hydrocarbons in the membrane

  • It is essential for determining which molecules can pass into the cell and which cannot (cell membrane permeability)

  • It is involved in the production of men hormones (androgens and estrogens)

  • It is crucial for the production of hormones released by the adrenal glands (cortisol, corticosterone, aldosterone, and others)

  • It aids in the industry of bile

  • It converts sunshine to vitamin D

  • It is substantial for the metabolism of fat soluble vitamins, including vitamins A, D, E, and K

  • It insulates nerve fibers

There are three main types of lipoproteins

Cholesterol is carried in the blood by molecules called lipoproteins. A lipoprotein is any complex or compound containing both lipid (fat) and protein. The three leading types are:
  • LDL (low density lipoprotein) - crowd often cite to it as bad cholesterol. LDL carries cholesterol from the liver to cells. If further even is carried, also yet for the cells to use, there can be a harmful buildup of LDL. This lipoprotein can exaggeration the risk of arterial disease if levels rise too high. Most human blood contains encircling 70% LDL - this may vary, depending on the person.

  • HDL (high density lipoprotein) - folk oftentimes remit to it as good cholesterol. Experts say HDL prevents arterial disease. HDL does the inverse of LDL - HDL takes the cholesterol out from the cells and back to the liver. In the liver it is either broken down or expelled from the oppose as waste.

  • Triglycerides - these are the chemical forms in which most fat exists in the body, as well as in food. They are contemporaneous in blood plasma. Triglycerides, in gathering with cholesterol, die the plasma lipids (blood fat). Triglycerides in plasma engender either from fats in our food, or are fabricated in the item from other compel sources, such as carbohydrates. Calories we consume on the other hand are not used promptly by our tissues are converted into triglycerides and stored in fat cells. When your body needs impulse and there is no food as an force source, triglycerides testament be released from fat cells and used as power - hormones state this process.

What are standard cholesterol levels?

The extent of cholesterol in human blood can vary from 3.6 mmol/liter to 7.8 mmol/liter. The Federal Health Supply (NHS), UK, says that any reading over 6 mmol/liter is high, and will significantly stand the risk of arterial disease. The UK Branch of Health recommends a target cholesterol consistent of under 5 mmo/liter. Unfortunately, two-thirds of all UK adults have a total cholesterol alike of at least five (average men 5.5, average women 5.6).
Below is a document of cholesterol levels and how most doctors would categorize them in mg/dl (milligrams/deciliter) and 5mmol/liter (millimoles/liter).
  • Desirable - Less than 200 mg/dL
  • Bordeline high rise - 200 to 239 mg/dL
  • High - 240 mg/dL and above

  • Optimum level: less than 5mmol/liter
  • Mildly aerial cholesterol level: between 5 to 6.4mmol/liter
  • Moderately flying cholesterol level: between 6.5 to 7.8mmol/liter
  • Very gigantic cholesterol level: above 7.8mmol/liter

Dangers of grand cholesterol levels

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High cholesterol levels can cause:
  • Atherosclerosis - narrowing of the arteries.

  • Higher coronary heart disease risk - an abnormality of the arteries that servicing blood and o2 to the heart.

  • Heart attack - occurs when the service of blood and oxygen to an earth of heart muscle is blocked, usually by a clot in a coronary artery. This causes your heart muscle to die.

  • Angina - chest pain or discomfort that occurs when your heart muscle does not get sufficiently blood.

  • Other cardiovascular conditions - diseases of the feelings and blood vessels.

  • Stroke and mini-stroke - occurs when a blood clot blocks an artery or vein, interrupting the flow to an universe of the brain. Can also occur when a blood vessel breaks. Brain cells begin to die.
Whether both blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels are high, the risk of developing coronary heart disease rises significantly.

Symptoms of big cholesterol (hypercholesterolaemia)

Symptoms of high cholesterol do not exist alone in a pathway a patient or physician can name by touch or sight. Symptoms of high cholesterol are revealed if you enjoy the symptoms of atherosclerosis, a public consequence of having eminent cholesterol levels. These can include:
  • Narrowed coronary arteries in the emotions (angina)

  • Leg pain when exercising - this is through the arteries that overhaul the legs hold narrowed.

  • Blood clots and ruptured blood vessels - these can cause a stroke or TIA (mini-stroke).

  • Ruptured plaques - this can head to coronary thrombosis (a clot forming in one of the arteries that delivers blood to the heart). If this causes indicative damage to heart muscle it could cause passion failure.

  • Xanthomas - thick gutless patches on the skin, exceptionally sorrounding the eyes. They are, in fact, deposits of cholesterol. This is commonly seen among cats who have inherited colossal cholesterol susceptibility (familial or inherited hypercholesterolaemia).

What causes high cholesterol?

Lifestyle causes
  • Nutrition - although some foods cover cholesterol, such as eggs, kidneys, eggs and some seafoods, dietary cholesterol does not have still of an impact in human blood cholesterol levels. However, saturated fats do! Foods great in saturated fats constitute cerise meat, some pies, sausages, hard cheese, lard, pastry, cakes, most biscuits, and cream (there are various more).

  • Sedentary lifestyle - folks who effect not exercise and spend most of their day sitting/lying down have significantly higher levels of LDL (bad cholesterol) and lower levels of HDL (good cholesterol).

  • Bodyweight - people who are overweight/obese are all the more more potential to have higher LDL levels and lower HDL levels, compared to humans who are of normal weight.

  • Smoking - this can keep positively a appreciable denouement on LDL levels.

  • Alcohol - people who consume besides much alcohol regularly, generally admit much higher levels of LDL and much lower levels of HDL, compared to people who abstain or those who drink in moderation.
Treatable medical conditions
These medical conditions are noted to cause LDL levels to rise. They are all conditions which can be controlled medically (with the help of your doctor, they do not need to be contributory factors):
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • High levels of triglycerides
  • Kidney diseases
  • Liver diseases
  • Under-active thyroid gland
Risk factors which cannot be treated
These are confessed as fixed risk factors:
  • Your genes 1 - people with rapid family members who have had either a coronary affection disease or a stroke, have a greater risk of formidable blood cholesterol levels. The link has been identified if your father/brother was under 55, and/or your mother/sister was under 65 when they had coronary heart disease or a stroke.

  • Your genes 2 - provided you have/had a brother, sister, or author with hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol) or hyperlipidemia (high blood lipids), your chances of having hovering cholesterol levels are greater.

  • Your sex - men have a worthier chance of having high blood cholesterol levels than women.

  • Your age - as you predispose older your chances of developing atherosclerosis increase.

  • Early menopause - women whose menopause occurs early are enhanced susceptible to higher cholesterol levels, compared to other women.

  • Certain ethnic groups - general public from the Indian sub-continent (Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka) are besides susceptible to having higher cholesterol levels, compared to other people.

How is giant cholesterol diagnosed?

Cholesterol levels may be measured by means of a simple blood test. It is leading not to eat anything for at least 12 hours before the blood example is taken. The blood customary can be obtained with a syringe, or honorable by pricking the patient's finger.
The blood sample will be tested for LDL and HDL levels, as hale as blood triglyceride levels. The units are degree in mg/dl (milligrams/deciliter) or 5mmol/liter (millimoles/liter).
People who accept risk factors should cogitate having their cholesterol levels checked.

What are the treatments for alpine cholesterol?

Most people, largely those whose only risk item has been lifestyle, can generally entertain their cholesterol and triglyceride levels back to normal by:
  • Doing plenty of operate (check with your doctor)
  • Eating parcel of fruits, vegetables, integral grains, oats, first-class quality fats
  • Avoiding foods with saturated fats
  • Getting plenty of sleep (8 hours everyone night)
  • Bringing your bodyweight back to normal
  • Avoiding alcohol
  • Stopping smoking
Many experts allege that tribe who are at high risk of developing cardiovascular disease will not lower their risk just by altering their diet. Nevertheless, a healthy diet will carry multitudinous health benefits.
Cholesterol-controlling medications
If your cholesterol levels are still elevated after doing everything mentioned above, your doctor may prescribe a cholesterol-lowering drug. They may include the following:
  • Statins (HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors) - these block an enzyme in your liver that produces cholesterol. The aim here is to reduce your cholesterol levels to under 4 mmol/liter and under 2 mmol/liter for your LDL. Statins are good for the treatment and prevention of atherosclerosis. Side item can include constipation, headaches, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. Atorvastatin, fluvastatin, lovastatin, pravastatin, rosuvastatin and simvastatin are examples of statins.

  • Aspirin - this should not be liable to patients under 16 senility of age.

  • Drugs to lower triglyceride levels - these are fibric acid derivatives and cover gemfibrozil, fenofibrate and clofibrate.

  • Niacin - this is a B vitamin that exists in diversified foods. You can only get very high doses with a doctor's prescription. Niacin brings down both LDL and HDL levels. Side baggage might accommodate itching, headaches, feverish flashes (UK: flushes), and tingling (mostly also gentle if they do occur).

  • Anti hypertensive drugs - if you have altitudinous blood energy your doctor may prescribe Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, Angiotensin || receptor blockers (ARBs), Diuretics, Beta-blockers, Calcium channel blockers.
In some cases cholesterol absorption inhibitors (ezetimibe) and bile-acid sequestrants may be prescribed. They get augmented side factor and require considerable patient education to carry through compliance (to arrange certain drugs are taken according to instruction).
See all contemporary info on Cholesterol.
See all recent announcement on Statins.
Written by Christian Nordqvist
Advanced article date: 05 Jun 2004
Article updated: 28 May 2009
View narcotic advice on Fenofibrate.
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