What IS High Cholesterol?
As we all know, high cholesterol, or hypercholesterolemia, can become a major health issue for many people. But, what exactly IS it that is causing all the high cholesterol related issues such as atherosclerosis?
It’s all due to the waxy alcohol substance, cholesterol, which is indeed a much needed element in the normal day-to-day functioning of our cells and body for cell membrane fluidity in addition to the production of sex hormones and the like.
High Cholesterol Causes
When too much of this is in the mammalian bloodstream, the substance can build up along blood vessel walls which ultimately can block proper blood flow to the brain and heart. This type of blockage due to high cholesterol levels in the blood can cause things such as heart attacks and strokes.
So where does this cholesterol come from – Cholesterol comes from two different sources.
First, our bodies produce just about enough cholesterol needed for normal functioning via the liver. Cholesterol produced by the liver is also called endogenous cholesterol. The second place cholesterol can come from is from external sources such as foods we eat. This type is called exogenous cholesterol.It is very important to know how much cholesterol is in the foods we eat as, again, the liver produces about enough cholesterol for the body’s needs. This is not to say that high cholesterol cannot come from the liver itself as it very well may.
Saturated Fats and Cholesterol
People with high cholesterol may actually have high cholesterol naturally due to genetics where more endogenous cholesterol is produced by the individual’s liver versus that of many others without high cholesterol production in the liver.
As far as foods go, it is very important to avoid foods high in saturated fats such as many dessert items, fried foods, red meats and more.
There are many high cholesterol medications on the market today in order to combat high cholesterol levels and it is important to speak to a medical professional in regards to high cholesterol issues whether it is endogenous cholesterol or exogenous issues.
In addition to medications available for high cholesterol, it is always important to get regular exercise as well as keeping a healthy diet while avoiding processed foods high in trans fats and more.
The American Heart Association ( http://www.americanheart.org ) recommends getting tested for high cholesterol every 5 years if you are over 20 years of age where a sample of blood is taken for lipoprotein analysis concentration on measuring the bad LDL, good HDL cholesterols as well as triglycerides in the blood.