Diagnosed with high cholesterol
So, you’ve been diagnosed with high cholesterol. What does that mean, and why does it matter?
Cholesterol is a substance found naturally within the body. It is produced by your liver and is an essential component of cell creation in the body. So how could something that the body needs be such a problem?
Along with creating our own cholesterol, humans also intake extra cholesterol from our diet. Examples of high cholesterol foods are animal products such as red meat, poultry, and dairy products that are high in fat content. Because of this, diet plays a major role in managing high cholesterol.
Ok, so how is having high cholesterol a bad thing?
Extra cholesterol that is not used by the body for cell production circulates freely in our bloodstream. There are two different types of cholesterol: LDL (low-density lipoprotein) and HDL (high-density lipoprotein). LDL is considered “bad” cholesterol, while HDL is considered “good.”
LDL cholesterol is known for sticking to and creating blockages in our circulatory system (a condition called atherosclerosis, meaning the narrowing of arteries). Narrow arteries cause an increase in blood pressure, and buildups/plaques of LDL can break off to cause blockages that can be the cause of a heart attack or stroke. Having high levels of LDL is considered bad and dangerous for your health.
HDL, on the other hand, is known for reducing the amount of LDL cholesterol floating in our circulatory system. HDL collects and returns the LDL to the liver, where it is broken down and removed. In this way, having high HDL cholesterol is not considered dangerous, and having a regular or elevated level of HDL is linked to a reduced risk of stroke.
Finding out what your LDL and HDL cholesterol levels are regularly is a great first step to monitoring and maintaining healthy cholesterol levels.
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