Cholesterol is a common type of steroid found both in animals and humans. All types of cells, tissues and other body fluids contain some cholesterol, either in a free form or as a storage form. The total cholesterol level in the blood is measured in milligrams (mg) of cholesterol per deciliter (DL) of blood. An average level of cholesterol ranges from 200-300 mg/DL.
Cholesterol is a waxy, fatlike substance found in all cells of our body. It plays an important role in digestion, formation of the cell membranes, producing hormones and also useful in synthesizing vitamin – D. Healthy whole grains, fat-free and low-fat dairy products, egg whites, fresh fruits, vegetables, are all great sources of soluble fibers.
Types of cholesterol
According to the rate of lipoproteins, cholesterol is divided into two types:
- HDL cholesterol
HDL – high density lipoprotein- It is considered as the good cholesterol, as a high level of HDL protects against heart attack and stroke. It brings back cholesterol to the liver. The level of HDL cholesterol ranges from 40 and more.
- LDL cholesterol
LDL – low-density lipoprotein- It is considered as the bad cholesterol. Too much of LDL cholesterol circulating in the blood can slowly form plaque, which blocks blood flow and forms a clot. The formation of clots in the blood vessels near the heart can cause a heart attack. The level of LDL cholesterol should be lesser than 100.
Interesting Facts about Cholesterol
- About eighty percent of cholesterol is oxidized by the liver and another twenty percent of cholesterol is secreted from the digestive tract.
- Factors influencing cholesterol levels are age, weight, gender, genetics, certain diseases, and lifestyles.
- Even children can have high cholesterol and this is because the deposition of plaque in their arteries, which begins in their childhood and progresses into adulthood.
- Cholesterol is found in all animal-based foods, such as milk, milk products, eggs, etc.
- Cholesterol is insoluble in blood as blood is a water-based fluid and cholesterol is an oil-based fluid. As the cholesterol enters the bloodstream, it coagulates into lumps as they are not unusable. This is further converted into lipoproteins – a very tiny particle of proteins.
These were some interesting facts about cholesterol.
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