If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with high cholesterol it’s important to understand what cholesterol is and why it’s important to keep it under control.
cholesterol is a fat-like substance made by your liver and also comes from the food you intake that is then packaged into particles called lipoproteins. Your body needs cholesterol to make hormones, Vitamin D, and a substance that helps you digest food called bile. In this article, we will discuss two types of lipoproteins that carry cholesterol – low-density lipoprotein or LDL cholesterol (also known as bad cholesterol) and high-density lipoprotein or HDL cholesterol (also known as good cholesterol).
LDL travels through your bloodstream delivering cholesterol to the cells that need it. If your body has too much LDL it can build up in the walls of your arteries. LDL and other substances in your artery wall form a fatty deposit called plaque. Overtime plaque can narrow the artery and reduce blood flow. LDL carries cholesterol into plaque. This is why LDL is called the bad cholesterol.
A common place this plaque can build up is in your coronary arteries which are the blood vessels that feed your heart. This plaque buildup causes coronary artery disease and increases your risk of a heart attack. Plaque buildup in other arteries such as the carotid arteries in your neck can reduce blood flow to your brain and increase the risk of a stroke.
Your liver also makes high-density lipoprotein or HDL (also known as the good cholesterol). HDL helps remove excess cholesterol from your cells, tissues
HDL returns the excess cholesterol to your liver which then removes it from your body
That’s all you need to know about LDL and HDL cholesterol. If you still have questions about cholesterol or any medications you have been prescribed to help manage your high cholesterol, please speak with your health care provider. It is important to take your medications as directed by your provider and report any side-effects you experience