Cholesterol is a type of waxy steroid of that our body produces in intestines and liver. It is often blamed as the cause for cardiovascular illnesses, but it is actually essential in the synthesis of cell membranes and hormones. Cholesterol is also needed to build plasma membrane on mammals to maintain adequate membrane fluidity and permeability. Here are three types of cholesterol that are found in our body:
- LDL (Low Density Lipoproteins): LDL is the actual bad cholesterol and a large proportion of serum cholesterol in our body is usually LDL. Deposits of LDL in arteries walls could cause plaque, which may make our arteries narrower and less flexible. This condition is typically known as atherosclerosis. Although liver produces a large amount of LDL, it also has the task to remove it from the blood. Healthy liver has active receptors that bind LDL actively and remove it from blood. A study carried out on people with high cholesterol level showed that the use of drug statin could reduce their risk of herat attacj by up to 40 percent. However, it much better way to prevent LDL-related illnesses us by reducing the amount of fat-rich foods.
- HDL (high density lipoproteins): HDL is often called as good cholesterol and it can actually prevent atherosclerosis by removing LDL from our arterial walls. Since the risk of cardiovascular disease correlates with the HDL level, we should check it from time to time. Both diet and hereditary factors have major effects on our HDL and LDL levels. Families who regularly eat HDL-rich diet tend to have lower risk of cardiovascular disease. However, it is much easier and better to lower the LDL level than raising HDL. Studies showed that we could reduce the risk of cardiovascular illness by up to 4 percent by increasing the level of HDL cholesterol 1mg/dL. There are many lifestyle changes that we can do increase our HDL levels. Cessation of smoking, maintaining ideal body weight and regular exercise could help to keep HDL levels appropriate. For high risk individuals, doctors may prescribe lower doses of statins, estrogen or gemfibrozil. Fenofibrate is a more effective drug and it can also be used to reduce serum triglycerides.
- Triglycerides: Triglycerides is also known as VLDL or very low density lipoproteins. Unfortunately, it is two against one and triglycerides is also bad cholesterol that can promote atherosclerosis. Liver also produces triglycerides and the cholesterol can be obtained through fat-rich food. It is still considered a controversy whether high level of VLDL could actually contribute to coronary heart diseases. Triglycerides are often associated with various clinical problems, such as hypothyroidism, liver problems, chronic kidney disease, diabetes, obesity and hypertension. Hyper-triglycerides could be caused by various non-genetic factors, such us kidney disease prolonged use of estrogen-related birth control drugs, kidney disease, diabetes mellitus, excessive alcohol consumption and obesity. Triglycerides level could return to normal if we perform healthy adjustments to our lifestyle, this may include regular exercise, maintaining ideal body weight and others.