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What Is Normal Cholesterol " The Good, Bad And The Ugly

Jun 4, 2008
This article will discuss what is cholesterol. There is much said about this substance in the press or in advertisements along the lines of must get it lower. However there is more to cholesterol than simply eat this type of food to get it lower. This article will cover the good cholesterol, the bad cholesterol and the ugly consequences should you not heed the warning signs that your level is too high.

Cholesterol is necessary for our bodies to function normally. We need a certain amount in the body for a variety of reasons. The most common use of cholesterol is to keep the cell walls strong. It is also used to convert sunlight to vitamin D when skin comes into contact with the sun.

It is often described as a white, waxy substance which you could compare to ear wax. For most people, between 70 and 75 percent of the cholesterol in their blood is manufactured by their liver. The rest is taken from the food that they eat.

So cholesterol is vital to the body's overall health but too much is detrimental to it. The current thoughts on an ideal cholesterol level are that anything over 200mg per deciliter of blood is not good for the body.

What is Bad Cholesterol

Cholesterol is transported throughout the body via the bloodstream. However it is not soluble in water (or blood) so it needs something in the bloodstream that can carry it.

This transport goes by the name of lipoprotein. Cholesterol that is created in the liver is transported round the body by the low density lipoproteins (LDL or bad cholesterol). It is bad because it transports cholesterol to the rest of the body where it can cause problems. One way of lowering cholesterol levels is to reduce the amount of Low density loporoteins that are in the body.

What is Good Cholesterol.

Good cholesterol is known as good because it does exactly the opposite of bad cholesterol. It is known as a high density lipoprotein or HDL Cholesterol. It acts as a transport taking cholesterol from the rest of the body back to the liver. This is ultimately removed from the body thus reducing the total amount of cholesterol. Having more good cholesterol is good fro the body.

The Ugly Consequences If Cholesterol Is High

With too much bad cholesterol circulating in the bloodstream, the excess amount of cholesterol in the system can be transported throughout the body. This often results in cholesterol being deposited in parts of the body where it cannot be used. One common area where this occurs is on the inner walls of the arteries. This is referred to as plaque.

The build up of plaque on the inner walls of the arteries will reduce the diameter of the arteries. This has consequences for the heart as it has to work harder to push blood throughout the body. It can also have adverse affects on the extremities of the body as they do not get enough blood to stay healthy. As the walls of the arteries thicken the person is said to have a condition known as atherosclerosis.

The thicker the plaque gets the more at risk you are to life threatening conditions. For example. If plaque breaks free from the walls and causes a blockage then a blood clot could occur leading to a stroke. Having atherosclerosis for any length of time will put excess strain on the heart and could lead to heart disease or heart attacks.
About the Author
Find out how to reduce cholesterol with foods that lower cholesterol at lowcholesteroldieting.com.
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