What is Cholesterol?

Taking care of your veins shouldn’t just be focused on your legs and varicose veins. You also need to take care of the rest of your blood system, which will make taking care of varicose veins easier. Lots of things you do to counteract varicose veins are great for other problems too. One problem that is a silent, sometimes deadly problem is unhealthy cholesterol. This article will look at what cholesterol is and what levels are unhealthy.

First off, cholesterol itself is not bad. In fact, it’s a vital part of a healthy life. Cholesterol is created by your liver and some other cells because it is necessary for cell membranes to create hormones, vitamin D, and bile acids that help digest fats. The thing is, your body produces all the cholesterol it needs on it’s own. So when you eat foods with cholesterol in them (mostly foods from animals, like meat, eggs, and dairy products) you have an excess amount of cholesterol.

You body manages cholesterol with two kinds of lipoprotiens. (Lipo means fat, and that’s the cholesterol, and the proteins act like trucks to move it around the body.) HDL cholesterol, or High-Density-Lipoprotiens, are the “good” cholesterol. This package takes the excess cholesterol back to the liver where it can be removed. LDL, or Low-Density-Lipoprotiens, are the “bad” cholesterol. This package is more likely to get caught in the artery walls, where if allowed to stay, it helps create plaque. Plaque blocks arteries, increasing the risk of stroke or heart attack.

For most people,  doctors recommend that when the tests results for cholesterol come back, the total should be under 200. From 200-239, people are borderline high, and at 240, people have high cholesterol. The other part to the test is that, ideally, people will have their HDL count be higher than their LDL count. If you are over 20, getting your cholesterol levels tested every 5 years or so is a good idea. The older you are, the higher the risk of high cholesterol.

If you do have high cholesterol, there are a few ways to fix it. First, back off on the foods that contain cholesterol, and go for more fruit, veggies, grains, and fish. Second, get about 30 minutes of moderate to intense exercise every day. Exercise helps lower levels of LDL while increasing levels of HDL. If lifestyle changes don’t help decrease your cholesterol levels to an acceptable range, your doctor might prescribe drugs designed to lower cholesterol or increase HDL. Paying attention to your cholesterol is important. If you don’t, your body might be surprised with a stroke or heart attack one day. Be aware and be healthy!