Cholesterol is a soft fatty substance that is produced by the liver and also obtained from food substances such as dairy products, eggs yolk, meat and poultry. Cholesterol is a vital substance in the body for the normal functioning of various cells and tissues. However, when cholesterol is produced in the body in high amounts, it can get accumulated in the blood vessels, harden and disrupt their function by narrowing the blood vessels and arteries.
In general, the cholesterol in the body is transported from and to the liver by certain proteins. Cholesterol can be divided into 2 main types namely low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and high-density lipoproteins (HDL). The LDL is termed as ‘bad cholesterol’. LDL carry cholesterol from the liver to the cells. Whereas, the HDL is termed as the ‘good cholesterol’ as they return the extra cholesterol to the liver for breakdown. In other words, LDL settles in the body and causes a number of disorders and diseases. Whereas, HDL is easy to break down and thus nit harmful for the body.
There are different theories about what is the correct and ideal level of cholesterol. However, there is a general agreement amongst the medical fraternity that the optimum level of cholesterol is age of the person plus 100. For example, for a person of 50 years of age, the optimum cholesterol level is 150. However a level of 200 to 240 cholesterol is a border line case.
Any reading above this level will surely lead to problems of excess deposit of in veins which may result in a heart attack sometime in the future. This is due to the fact that when there are deposits in veins, the passage for oxygen rich blood shrinks. This results in lesser blood supply to heart. Thus the heart has to over work which causes stroke or heart enlargement.
Researchers have found that quite a large number of children suffer from problem of imbalance in level of cholesterol in blood. The imbalance can be due to high level of cholesterol or improper HDL/ LDL ration. Another problem associated with this is high level of triglycerides this is fat in blood which is equally harmful for heart. The level of cholesterol can be checked by a simple blood test conducted after 10 to 12 hours of fasting. Those persons who are overweight or having family history of heart attack must get themselves checked up regularly and at least once a year.
Though medicines are available which helps to reduce cholesterol level and improve LDL/HDL ratio but in borderline cases it is better that the person suffering from this problem exercise strict diet control, eggs, red meat and dairy products should be eliminated. A good doctor will advise to burn the fat with exercise. Long walk is helpful to reduce cholesterol by change of lifestyle.