Educational Articles

Cholesterol

Cholesterol 

Cholesterol is an important substance that is used to form cell membranes and produce various hormones. It is a vital and necessary component of human body.

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Among foods that we eat, fatty and greasy food, in particular, have a high concentration of cholesterol. Once ingested, cholesterol is processed in the liver and distributed through out the body. If the concentration of cholesterol is high, it is distributed not only to various components of the human body, but deposited and built up in the blood vessel. When this process becomes chronic and extended, the blood vessel becomes narrowed, impeding the flow of blood. This is similar to what happens to the water pipe when it becomes rusted, as the flow of water is reduced due to the narrowing of the pipe. This process is aggravated in patients with high blood pressure, diabetes, or those who smoke. When this process occurs in the heart, angina or heart attack may develop. If narrowing occurs in the blood vessel supplying the brain, a stroke may result. When the artery supplying the kidney is affected, the kidney function may become compromised. 

There are 4 types of cholesterol that are routinely monitored. The normal total cholesterol level is 200mg/dl or less. The bad cholesterol, or LDL, is thought to be the main culprit in the narrowing of the blood vessel. The accepted level of LDL is less than 140mg/dl. The good cholesterol, or HDL, is thought to protect the blood vessel, and should be greater than 40mg/dl. 

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There are many reasons for the elevation of cholesterol, including obesity, lack of exercise, and inherited conditions. However, the most frequent cause is probably due to the foods that we eat. Among foods that we consume, those that are high in cholesterol include beef, bacon, and liver. Eggs, butter, regular milk, cheese, and ice cream also have high cholesterol content. Fast food such as pizza, hamburger, and french fries are known to have a high concentration of cholesterol. In addition, shrimp and clams have a very high level of cholesterol.  On the other hand, fish and chicken are low in cholesterol content. Fruits, vegetable, and vegetable oil are low in cholesterol content as well. 

To prevent the potential complication including heart condition and stroke, due to a high cholesterol level in the blood stream, it is very important to avoid foods that are high in cholesterol. In addition, it is advisable to maintain proper weight, exercise regularly, and avoid smoking. If the total cholesterol remains elevated despite these measures, then, medical treatment with a class of medications called statin are often indicated.                                                                           .                                                                                       

 

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