1 - You can't live without cholesterol. Cholesterol is fundamental
for life and occurs naturally in your body. It is not an illness.
forms a basic part of all our cells. We all need it to help digest food
and to produce hormones and vitamin D. The fact is, cholesterol is
essential to human health.
When it comes to diet, it is excess fat and not dietary cholesterol
has the greatest impact on your blood cholesterol levels.
2 - The cholesterol in your blood is called blood cholesterol. Most
of it comes from your body, not foods. About 80% of the cholesterol in
your blood is there because your body produced it in your liver. Only
20% of your blood cholesterol is influenced by what you eat.
3 - HDL "good" cholesterol in your blood is actually healthy
you. HDL cholesterol is made in your body, by your body. You can't
eat it! In order to travel through your blood, cholesterol joins with
to form a lipoprotein. High-density lipoprotein (HDL) is so-called
cholesterol because it takes cholesterol back to the liver where it is
removed from the body.
lipoprotein (LDL) or "bad" cholesterol is also made by your body. It is
not good for you because it can result in fatty deposits which clog up
your arteries so that your blood cannot flow properly.
If your doctor orders a cholesterol test, try to find out ratio of HDL
"good" cholesterol to LDL "bad" cholesterol. The higher the ratio of
to LDL, the better.
4 - Your family history is the single most important risk factor
blood cholesterol levels. Many factors influence your blood
levels. A high blood cholesterol level is a heart health concern, but
are also other important heart disease factors. If you think you have
or more of the risk factors below, consult your doctor to see if a
test is needed.
Factor: FAMILY HISTORY
health history of your parents and grandparents is the main factor in
your blood cholesterol levels. A history of high blood cholesterol in
family means that you may be more at risk for heart disease. If high
cholesterol runs in your family, let your doctor know.
blood cholesterol levels may also be caused by diseases such as
as well as thyroid, kidney or liver disease.
Factor: AGE & GENDER
risk of heart disease increases as you grow older, with men more at
than pre-menopausal women. However, heart disease and stroke are not
men's diseases - they are the number one cause of premature death in
blood cholesterol levels are a heart health concern, particularly if
smoke. Smoking tends to decrease your HDL "good" cholesterol levels and
increases the rate at which fatty deposits form on artery walls.
Factor: LACK OF EXERCISE
active lifestyle helps your heart, lungs and blood vessels work better
and can help you maintain a healthy weight. Regular physical activity
increase your HDL "good" cholesterol levels.
Factor: EXCESS BODY WEIGHT
a healthy weight can help you control your blood cholesterol and
high blood pressure. Reducing excess body weight cuts the strain put on
your heart and may increase your HDL "good" cholesterol levels.
Factor: HIGH FAT DIET
blood cholesterol levels can be caused by diets which are high in fat,
particularly saturated fat. An eating pattern that is lower in fat and
higher in fibre can help you control your cholesterol levels and reduce
your heart disease risks.