High Cholesterol: Some Important Facts

Cholesterol is a lipid present in blood. Cholesterol is essential for body to build new cells to produce various important hormones. However, excess or high cholesterol (known as hypercholesterolemia) can be harmful for your health, as high cholesterol is important risk factor for heart disease.

When blood cholesterol level is high it may lead to deposition of fats which may ultimately narrow down the lumen of blood vessel that enough blood may not be able to pass through it. When this situation occurs in heart it lead to serious heart problems such as heart attack, due to lack of adequate blood supply in heart and when it occurs in brain, it may lead to stroke lack of adequate blood supply to the brain.

What are the symptoms of high cholesterol hypercholesterolemia?

There are no symptoms of high cholesterol in blood. This is the thing to be worried about. The person with high cholesterol may not be aware of the condition, unless blood testing is done for cholesterol. Hence, regular health check up is mandatory to rule out high cholesterol in blood. It is recommended by experts that first blood cholesterol checking should be done at the age of 20 years and there after every five years. If you are a high risk individual for cholesterol, blood testing should be done every year.

What are the various types of cholesterol you should know about?

Cholesterol is carried in blood attached to protein and the combination of protein with cholesterol is called lipoproteins. There are mainly three types of cholesterol or lipoproteins in our blood, namely LDL (low density lipoprotein), VLDL (very low density lipoprotein) and HDL (high density lipoprotein).

Low density lipoprotein or LDL: this is the “bad cholesterol” which accumulates in the walls of the artery and narrows the lumen and reduces blood flow.

Very low density lipoprotein or VLDL: this type carries triglycerides (a type of fat) which makes the lipoprotein larger in size and make deposition in vessel wall easier and also make the lumen of artery narrow much faster. If you have high VLDL, you may need to take medications to lower triglycerides, along with cholesterol lowering drugs.

High density lipoprotein or HDL: this is the “good cholesterol”. This is good because it picks up excess cholesterol from blood and carries it to liver for metabolism.

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