Taking care of your heart is incredibly important and keeping it in tip-top shape while also understanding the role played by your cholesterol, is a whole paramount.
Cholesterol is a waxy, fatlike substance that is found in your blood. Even though some may think otherwise, cholesterol is not inherently as “bad” as you might think, as it is essential to your body, which needs it to build cells and make vitamins, as well as other hormones1. Cholesterol can be obtained from two sources: Your liver and your diet.
There are two main types of cholesterol:
“High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, known as ‘good’ cholesterol absorbs cholesterol in the blood carries it back to the liver2”. HDL acts as a scavenger in the bloodstream, picking up excess cholesterol from cells and tissues and transporting it to the liver for elimination. This process helps prevent the buildup of plaque in the arteries. High levels of HDL are associated with a lower risk of heart disease and stroke. It is believed that HDL helps reduce inflammation and improves blood vessel function.
“Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol known as ‘bad’ cholesterol, makes up most of your body’s cholesterol”2. LDL carries cholesterol from the liver to the cells throughout the body. However, too much LDL in the bloodstream can lead to the buildup of plaque in the arteries. Plaque, also known as fatty deposits, can cause the inside of the arteries to narrow over time, increasing the risk of atherosclerosis2. LDL cholesterol particles can become oxidized, triggering an inflammatory response in the arterial walls, further contributing to atherosclerosis.
High cholesterol can increase your risk of health issues and if left untreated, it can lead to a higher risk or complications with:
Therefore, maintaining a healthy balance between HDL and LDL cholesterol is crucial for the overall cardiovascular health. Adopting a heart-healthy diet, practicing regular physical activities, managing stress levels, or even quitting smoking can help managing your cholesterol level.
Don’t wait until it’s too late; getting your cholesterol checked regularly is an important action to stay in control of your cholesterol health.