Cholesterol is an important lipid found in the cell membrane.
What is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is an organic compound, fat-like insoluble waxy substance which is found in all the cells of our body and is circulated through the blood cells with the help of Lipoproteins. In the human body, cholesterol is synthesized in the liver.
Cholesterol is derived from the Ancient Greek word – “chole” that refers to bile, “stereos” refer to solid and “ol” for alcohol. It is also known as cholesterin or cholesteryl alcohol.
There are two main types of cholesterol, which are classified based on the different types of lipoproteins.
- Low-density lipoproteins (LDL) are also called bad cholesterol.
- High-density lipoproteins (HDL) are also called good cholesterol.
Cholesterol is a common type of steroid found both in animals and humans. The total cholesterol level in the blood is measured in milligrams (mg) of cholesterol per deciliter (DL) of blood. An average level of cholesterol ranges from 200-300 mg/DL.
There are many other interesting facts about cholesterol, which have been discussed below point-wise.
Interesting Facts about Cholesterol
Cholesterol is not an essential nutrient but it is an important and essential part of our cell membranes, which are present in all our living cells, as they are naturally produced by our body.
Read more: Nutrients
For optimum health, the level of LDL cholesterol should be closer to 80 mg/dL and between 50 to 60 mg/dL for those patients suffering from heart disease.
Liver and intestines are the two main organs, which play a significant role in controlling the LDL levels in our blood cells.
Genetic factors are the most common cause of high levels of LDL. Around 70 to 80 percent of the cholesterol in our body cells is due to the genes and the rest is due to our diet.
The best ways to reduce the LDL cholesterol levels is by having a balanced diet, regular exercise, maintaining a healthy BMI and avoiding the use of tobacco and alcohol.
Read more: Balanced diet
Cholesterol plays an important role in creating cells, hormones, in the production of Vitamin D and bile acids, which play a vital role in the human digestive system.
There are many factors behind the increase in the levels of cholesterol. The influencing factors include age and sex of an individual, weight and body mass index (BMI), genetic factors, lifestyles and certain diseases like diabetes, hypothyroidism, pancreatitis and health disorders.
One of the best ways to lower the LDL cholesterol is by including fibre-rich food products including avocados, eggplant, green tea, apples, beans, oats, olive oil, garlic and a lot more.
LDL cholesterol is considered bad cholesterol, as it is related to an increased risk of coronary heart disease, stroke and peripheral artery disease.
Rise in the levels of blood cholesterol is a serious condition that can increase the risk of coronary heart disease and it is mainly caused by increased blood cholesterol levels, particularly the LDL (Low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol.
The main source of cholesterol is animal-based food. Both LDL and HDL are found in all animal-based foods, such as milk, milk products, eggs, etc.
Cholesterol is insoluble in blood as blood is a water-based fluid and cholesterol is an oil-based fluid.
All types of cells, tissues and other body fluids contain some amount of cholesterol and plasma membrane is the only cell organelle, which consists of more than 80 to 90 per cent of cellular cholesterol stored in it.
Too much of LDL cholesterol circulating in the blood can slowly form plaque, which blocks the blood flow and forms a clot. The formation of a clot in the blood vessels near the heart can cause a heart attack.
According to dieticians and nutritionists, we should always maintain the optimal level of LDL cholesterol to have proper blood flow and prevent other risk factors related to the heart and to other organs of our body.
The rise in the level of LDL cholesterol enters the bloodstream, coagulates into lumps and slowly forms plaque, which blocks blood flow and forms a clot, which results in stroke and other circulatory system disorders.
About eighty per cent of the total body cholesterol is oxidized by the liver and another twenty per cent of cholesterol is secreted from the digestive tract.
HDL – high-density lipoprotein is considered as good cholesterol and it protects against heart attack and stroke. The level of HDL cholesterol ranges from 40 and more.
Also Read: Heart attack symptoms
The total cholesterol level in the blood is measured in milligrams (mg) of cholesterol per deciliter (DL) of blood.
An average level of cholesterol ranges from 200-300 mg/DL. The level of HDL or good cholesterol ranges between 30 to 40 or more and the level of LDL or bad cholesterol should be lesser than 100.
Also Refer: Heart health