Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Cholesterol - What is It?

Cholesterol is often referred categorized as either being good cholesterol or bad cholesterol. 

However, have you ever taken the time to find out why cholesterol is described this way and what the actual difference is between the two types?

Cholesterol - What is It?

Cholesterol is an important component in our body that is found in the blood stream and cells. The body needs cholesterol in order to properly function because it contributes to a wide variety of hormones and helps the body to produce cell membranes.

High-density lipoprotein (HDL) or good cholesterol is carried in the blood stream. HDL cholesterol is considered good because it protects our heart from strokes and other cardiovascular diseases.

The optimal level of good cholesterol is about 40mg/dL.

On the other hand, bad cholesterol, also known as low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is considered bad because if present in excessive quantities has a tendency to clog in the arteries which increases the chances of heat attacks or other heart related diseases. The optimal level of bad cholesterol is 200mg/dL or less. Higher amounts tend to increase the chance of heart problems.

Controlling Bad Cholesterol

There are a plethora of cholesterol drugs available and many natural remedies as well. However, it is strongly suggested that you approach any treatment using drugs with caution because many of the cholesterol drugs have serious side effects. Make sure your doctor thoroughly explains the potential side effects before you agree to start on a regiment that involves the taking of any drug.

You see, cholesterol is produced in the liver and one very important point to remember about statin drugs (i.e. drugs used to control cholesterol) is that they in essence, poison the liver so that it produces less cholesterol, which is why all advertisements that promote statin drugs mention that a liver test is required before getting started on statin drugs.

Hopefully, you have normal levels of both good and bad cholesterol and if you do you will clearly want to maintain that proper balance. Steps you can follow to keep your cholesterol in balance is the same as it is for overall optimal health: exercise and proper diet. Health eating includes consuming foods that are low in saturated and trans fat.

Get in the habit of reading food labels as they are required to provide the above mentioned data by law and therefore it''s much easier for you to choose food that is healthy and food that can lead to poor health and improper cholesterol levels.

Although the following food (i.e. egg yolks, poultry, meat, shellfish, butter and cheese) contains what has been determined as high levels of cholesterol it doesn’t mean that you need to totally avoid them. Simply eat them in moderation and you should be fine.

Take the time to learn a few of the basics about what constitutes both good cholesterol and bad cholesterol levels, monitor your food intake, get a reasonable amount of exercise (i.e. walking is great) and you’ll be well on your way to overall health and optimum cholesterol levels.

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