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Cholesterol & Types Of Cholesterol

Updated on October 22, 2011

Cholesterol is a steroid lipid and is an essential element of the human body. It is a waxy substance produced in the liver. It is the most common steroid of the human body and its presence is very essential for the body.

It carries out the production of many important membranes specifically cell membranes and helps in the production of bile which is a liquid produced by liver which helps in the digestion of fats and other substances in the food.

The liver although is the major source of cholesterol in body, it can also be obtained from outside sources such as certain foods which contain a high level of cholesterol. Certain foods also contain the substances that are required by the liver for the production of cholesterol. 

Fast food is the main source of bad cholesterol
Fast food is the main source of bad cholesterol

The excess consumption of such food leads to a high level of cholesterol in the blood which is very dangerous to health.

The liver produces only a limited amount of cholesterol as the excess of cholesterol in the body leads to the formation of thick plaque in the arteries, blocking the blood flow and causing serious damage.

The state of high cholesterol content in body is called hypercholesterolemia and can lead to serious problems such as coronary heart disease CHD or atherosclerosis which is an extremely dangerous condition in which the plaque ruptures and completely blocks the arteries.

Nuts contain, high content of fats.
Nuts contain, high content of fats.
People with obesity have to keep a watch on their cholesterol levels
People with obesity have to keep a watch on their cholesterol levels
A high level of cholesterol can lead to heart attack.
A high level of cholesterol can lead to heart attack.

Cholesterol is basically a lipid fat which is put under the category of steroid lipids. It is carried in the blood stream via lipoproteins which are the combination of cholesterol and protein.

In human body there four major types of cholesterol in the form of lipoproteins are found:

  • Low Density Lipoproteins LDL
  • High density Lipoproteins HDL
  • Triglycerides
  • Very low density Lipoproteins VLDL

Low Density Lipoproteins

The low density lipoprotein cholesterol, as the name suggests, has a lower density of proteins and a higher content of cholesterol lipid.

This type of cholesterol is also called the “awful cholesterol” as its presence in excess leads to an increase in the formation of plaque in the arteries.

The LDL should be present in a low quantity in the blood and most patients suffering from heart diseases have a high LDL content in their blood.

High LDL level may be caused due to consumption of unhealthy and fattening foods.

An excess consumption of cheap oils and fats bought from markets are the major cause for the surplus production of LDL in the body.

LDL also hinders the properties of HDL (the good cholesterol which is explained below).

High Density Lipoproteins HDL

The high density lipoprotein or HDL is also called the “good cholesterol”. It has a high content of protein and its excess presence in the body is very essential. Greater the level of HDL in blood, the healthier the person will be.

HDL not only helps in the production of membranes it also inhibits the action of LDL if it’s present in the blood. It overwhelms the properties of LDL and does not allow it to form plaque and eats away the already present plaque in the arteries.

Maintaining a high HDL level in blood, however, is not very easy as for it one has to quit every kind of unhealthy food, eat only specific kinds of food and exercise a lot.

Triglycerides

Triglycerides in other words are the fats which are obtained from outside sources. Triglycerides are another class of lipids altogether, but the triglycerides that are mentioned here under the category of cholesterol are those which are carried throughout the blood via the LDL.

These triglycerides are immediately taken up by the fat cells of the body. It is important to mention here that it is not necessary that every fat person has a high cholesterol level and every person having a high LDL level has a high fat content.

It is when both are present in equal quantities we say the person has a high content of LDL carrying triglycerides.

Egg yolk contains, high level of cholesterol
Egg yolk contains, high level of cholesterol

Very Low Density Lipoproteins VLDL

Very low density lipoproteins are the worst kind of cholesterol.

They are majorly composed of fats and lipids and have very little or almost no protein at all.

If they are present in excess in a person then the person is likely to suffer from extremely dangerous and fatal heart conditions.

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    • profile image

      Sophia Angelique 

      7 years ago

      FYI, the body cannot make cholesterol from foods containing cholesterol. 80% of the cholesterol is made in the liver. And 20% comes from fatty food - not from cholesterol in foods.

    • hassam profile imageAUTHOR

      hassam 

      7 years ago from Pakistan

      This is some thing you better keep in mind! :)

    • BlissfulWriter profile image

      BlissfulWriter 

      7 years ago

      I usually have a hard time remember which is the good and which is the bad cholesterol. Now I try to remember that HDL (good cholesterol) we want that number to be "high". And LDL (bad cholestrol) we want that number to be "low".

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