What Is Cholesterol? It Is a Question That Concerns Every one of Us

It may be a good idea to be concerned whether or not one is consuming foods that contain more cholesterol than is healthy. So, it begs the question as to what cholesterol is. Cholesterol is a waxy substance that the liver produces and is found in some foods and is required in the making of vitamin D as well as some hormones. It also helps build cell walls, and creates bile salts that are helpful in digesting fats. What cholesterol is a subject that affects every person and it may come as a bit of a surprise to know that the body produces enough cholesterol and is quite commonly found in many foods. What cholesterol is concerns everyone. So, if the levels of cholesterol are higher than required, it can lead to serious health conditions such as heart diseases. There are a number of contributory factors that cause high cholesterol, but the good news is that it is still possible to control them. To seriously understand what cholesterol is requires understanding that lipids are fats that are found everywhere in the body, and cholesterol is a form of lipid whose source is food obtained from animal sources.

Excess of Cholesterol Levels Can Cause Serious Health Conditions

Eggs, meats, as well as whole-fat dairy products like milk, cheese and ice cream are heavily loaded with cholesterol. However, vegetables, fruits and grains do not contain any cholesterol. There are also about a thousand milligrams of cholesterol produced by the liver daily, and a normal person will consume approximately one hundred and fifty to two hundred and fifty milligrams in the foods they eat. Studying what cholesterol is tells us that cholesterol cannot travel alone through the bloodstream and needs to combine with certain proteins to do so. The proteins are like trucks that pick up the cholesterol and transport them to different parts of the body and together the protein and cholesterol form a lipoprotein of which there are two important types - high density lipoproteins (HDL) and low density lipoproteins (LDL).

The harmful effects of low density lipoproteins include dogging the blood vessels and keeping the blood from flowing through the body in a manner that it should. On the other hand, the high density lipoprotein is about a third or a fourth of total cholesterol and it carries cholesterol back to the liver where it is processed and expelled from the body.

What concerns us most is what high cholesterol is because an excess of cholesterol will endanger a person's health, and it is the excess of low density lipoproteins that will deposit cholesterol on the arteries' walls to form a hard substance that is known as plaque, which over time, makes the arteries narrower and thus decreases the flow of blood to result in atherosclerosis. Thus understanding what cholesterol is will help in taking measures to keep it from reaching levels that are too high and which will put a person's life in danger.