Cholesterol is found in all of your body’s cells and is best described as a soft, waxy type substance. It is essential to your body and your body requires it to function properly.
The reason for this is because your body uses this cholesterol to hold cells together and also make the hormones, vitamin D along with other substances to aid you in the digestion of foods.
Be warned however as if you get too muc cholesterol in your blood it can cause problems such as high cholesterol, hypercholesterolemia and hyperlipidemia
So where do we get our cholesterol from you may ask ?
Well it comes from two different places, one is from the foods you eat and the other is what your body actually makes in the liver.
The foods that we eat that contain it are all animal based products as cholesterol is only made by animals. So for example any meat, fish, butter, cheese etc.
It is worth noting that all other foods which are not animal based or derived from animals such as fruit, vegetables, grains etc. are all completly cholesterol free.
The way in which the body transports cholesterol around your cells is to travel through your bloodstream. Now, because it is a fat it will seperate from the blood much in the same way that water will seperate from oil. In order to keep this from happening , the bodys proteins will form a shell around it wich in turn makes it a cholesterol complex. It is this cholesterol complex which then gets released into the bloodstream travelling to wherever it needs to go.
The protein responsible for this complex is known as a lipoprotein and there are two types of these, one being good and the other being potentially bad.
Here’s a summary of the two different types;
This lipoprotein can be bad. Known as low-density lipoprotein, should you have a lot of these LDL’s left over after the process of transportion of the complex from the liver to neccessary tissues then it can be bad for you. The reason for this is because these extra LDL’s that have been left over will let go of the extra cholesterol when travelling through your blood which will cause a build up causing hardening of the blood vessels (atherosclerosis)
Now this is the good lipoprotein and is known as High Density Lipoprotein.
Why are they so good ? Well they will pick up the extra cholesterol from the LDL’s and will bring it to your liver where it gets repackaged for later use or simply expelled from your body.
So it’s good to have high levels of HDL withing your system along with low levels of LDL.
If you wanted to have your cholesterol tested then the only way to do so is to have a blood test. Recent guidelines state that you should have a test every five years with a person with heart disease would be more at risk and should the test should be more frequent.