What is Cholesterol?

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Cholesterol is a fatty substance naturally present in all cells of the human body necessary for normal body function. Most of the cholesterol is produced in the liver, also obtained even through some foods.

Cholesterol is found in our body as part of cell membranes, lipoproteins, steroid hormones and bile acids.

The main disorder that causes cholesterol in the body when in excess is for the production of fatty deposits in arteries vital, causing atherosclerosis, stroke and peripheral vascular disease. Cholesterol is an important constituent of gallstones.

The animal-derived foods are rich in cholesterol especially eggs, dairy and meats. The body absorbs about half the cholesterol content in the diet. Plant sterols are poorly absorbed by the body.

The liver is the main producer organ cholesterol (10 % total), still other important organs such as the intestine production, adrenal cortex, testes and ovaries. Cholesterol synthesis is regulated mainly by the intake of dietary cholesterol.

Cholesterol “good and cholesterol “bad”

Lipoproteins are sustanncias by which fats like cholesterol, cholesterol esters, triglycerides and phospholipids are transported through the blood.

  • The cholesterol associated with low density lipoproteins LDL-cholesterol called, and it is known as “bad cholesterol”, since it is the major lipoprotein that carries cholesterol from the liver to the rest of the body.
  • When associated with HDL lipoprotein cholesterol it is called HDL-cholesterol, and it is known as “good cholesterol” since its main function is to collect the cholesterol from tissues, and carry it to the liver.

The steps you can take to improve your cholesterol and help prevent heart disease and heart attack include:

  • Give up smoking. This is the most important change you can do to reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke.
  • Eating foods that are naturally low in fat, among them, whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
  • Use covered, sauces and low-fat dressings.
  • Avoid foods that are high in saturated fat.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Lose weight if overweight.

In our Heart Center will help you work hand in hand with our medical specialists to set goals for cholesterol.

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