Cholesterol 101: What You Need to Know
To the layman, cholesterol is something that must be avoided at all cost. Doctors warn people if their cholesterol levels are high. Statins and other lifestyle changes are recommended to help lower one’s cholesterol levels.
Amidst all the acronyms such as HDL and LDL and 250mg/Dl, it’s understandable if most people are confused. This article will shed light on some of the most commonly used terms for describing cholesterol. More importantly, we’ll look at whether heart disease is linked to your cholesterol level or is it a tenuous link at best.
Before proceeding, it’s important to note that the liver produces most cholesterol in your body. Yes, you read that right. Dietary cholesterol makes up only about 20 percent of the cholesterol in your body. Your body produces the rest.
Your body also needs cholesterol to function optimally. It uses cholesterol to make bile, which is then used to aid in digestion. Your body also needs it to build tissues, and your sex hormones are produced with the aid of cholesterol. So, it is a valuable component of cell membranes.
HDL stands for high-density lipoprotein. It is the good cholesterol in your body, and you’re supposed to have a high amount of it in your body. The idea is that HDL will help to lower the bad cholesterol in your body.
Studies have shown that genetics plays a huge part in determining if your good cholesterol levels are high. While your diet and other factors may play a role, your genes usually dictate how much good cholesterol your body has.
There are different types of HDL, such as HDL-2 which are larger and protect your body. It prevents inflammation and reduces plaque, which clogs arteries. There is also HDL-3 which helps your body too.
You’ve probably already guessed that LDL stands for low-density lipoprotein and you’re right. This is the bad cholesterol that everyone fears. Doctors often recommend that you have less than 100mg/dL to reduce your risk of heart disease.
The theory is that when the LDL is damaged due to oxidation, it causes plaque to form in the arteries. When your arteries get clogged, blood flow is impeded, and heart attacks may occur.
• Does Cholesterol Cause Heart Disease?
While most doctors will tell you that cholesterol leads to heart disease, many doctors believe that this is false. In fact, they’ve linked heart disease to sugar and inflammation.
When your diet is high in sugar, your body will get inflamed. Millions of adults all over the world suffer from inflammation due to a poor diet that’s high in processed foods. Sugar creeps into most processed foods, and that probably explains the large numbers of people suffering from inflammation.
Inflammation opens the door to many other serious health problems. The first goal of recovering and being healthy is to reduce your inflammation, and the best way to do that will be to avoid sugar and unhealthy processed foods.
By targeting the sugar and processed foods, you’ll find that your cholesterol levels decrease too. More importantly, you’ll be lowering your risk of heart disease.