Cholesterol is an organic molecule found in body tissues. It is a sterol, a type of lipid molecule and is biosynthesised. Cholesterol is abundantly gotten from animal foods. The body also produces some amount of healthy cholesterol. Even if you don’t eat any animal foods; you will still have cholesterol in your body because your liver manufactures cholesterol which is needed for several key body functions which include the making of vitamin D, hormones, and substances that aids food digestion. Health organisations have established a set range for total, bad LDL and good HDL cholesterol as well as triglycerides.
The two common types of blood cholesterol are HDL and LDL. HDL and LDL are carriers of cholesterol called lipoproteins. HDL is good because it transports cholesterol away from arteries and takes it back to the liver, where it can be taken away from the body. LDL is considered the bad type because it has the opposite effect of HDL. Too much LDL can lead to a build-up, which narrows and clogs arteries, and builds inflammation which may lead to heart attack and/or stroke. Your body needs some cholesterol to work properly. But if you have too much in your blood, it can stick to the walls of your arteries and narrow or even block them.
It is important to understand the levels where cholesterol in the body is healthy or unhealthy. The LDL cholesterol level should be less than 100 mg/dL. 100-129mg/dL levels are accepted for people without health issues but dangerous for people with heart diseases of heart disease risk factor. HDL cholesterol below 40 mg/dL for men, and below 50 mg/dL for women is considered Poor, 50-59 mg/dL is better and 60 mg/dL and above is the best. Total cholesterol below 200mg/dL is desirable, 200-239 is at the borderline high while 240 mg/dL and above is considered high. Triglycerides cholesterol below 150mg/dL is normal, 150 -199 mg/dL is at the borderline while 200 and above is high.
It is very important to understand and keep a check on our cholesterol level. If your cholesterol is high, take the necessary steps to be healthier which includes eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, and not smoking.