Many people have a negative outlook when it comes to cholesterol, but what they don’t know is that cholesterol itself isn’t bad. Cholesterol, a waxy substance produced by the liver, is needed to make vitamin D and some hormones, build cell walls, and create bile salts that help you digest fat.
There are two types of cholesterol, the “good” and the “bad.” It’s essential to know the difference between the two and to know the levels of each type in your blood. If you have too much of one and not enough of the other than you may be at risk for coronary heart disease, a heart attack or stroke.
We produce cholesterol naturally while also consuming it through the food we eat. Your liver and other cells in your body make about 75 percent of blood cholesterol. While the other 25 percent comes from the foods you eat only being found in animal products.
It is smart to get a cholesterol screening every so often because it measures your level of HDL and LDL.
HDL is the “good” cholesterol which helps keep the LDL (bad) cholesterol from getting lodged into your artery walls. That doesn’t sound like a good time if you ask me. A healthy level of HDL may protect you against heart attack and stroke, while low levels of HDL (less than 50 mg/dL for women) have been shown to increase the risk of heart disease.
LDL cholesterol is the “bad” cholesterol. When you have too much of LDL circulating through your blood, it can end up clogging your arteries leading to a possible heart attack or stroke. LDL is also produced naturally in our bodies so some people may inherit traits from their families that may lead them to produce more.
It is always important to talk with your doctor to get more information so you have all the facts for a healthy heart.