Understanding the Impact of Cholesterol

Good health starts at the cellular level. Your body needs cholesterol, a fat-like substance found in each cell. Your body’s liver makes cholesterol and the remainder of it sources from foods you may consume. While cholesterol helps keep your body healthy, having too high cholesterol can be detrimental to your body. The two different forms of cholesterol (low density and high density) travel in bundles of blood called lipoproteins.

  • The first form is low-density lipoprotein, which builds up in the walls of your arteries in waxy formations called plaques. This hardens and narrows the passageways.
  • The second form is high-density lipoprotein, which takes excess cholesterol back to the liver.

The danger of having a high cholesterol is atherosclerosis, in terms basically means the accumulation of cholesterol on the walls of your arteries. The accumulation, over time, can hinder blood flow through your arteries and can cause complications such as:

  • Chest pain- due to the lack of oxygen-rich blood supply needed
  • Brain blockage- blocked arteries to the brain can increase your risk of a stroke
  • Mental impairment- has been linked to dementia
  • Reduced blood flow- this stiffens the arteries
  • Stomach pains- can form gallstones along with abdominal pain
  • Leg numbness- hardening from arteries can cause numbness

It is important to note that high cholesterol is often asymptomatic and can go undetected for years. A simple blood test is the best way to diagnose high cholesterol. Of course, with most disease, there are some risk factors for developing high blood pressure including a family history of high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, or high blood pressure. If you have risk factors, it is important to talk to your primary care provider and develop a screening plan that is unique to you. This month Portneuf Medical Center is offering Coronary Risk Profile Lab Tests for $16. Screenings can help detect diseases before symptoms occur. Testing includes results for in total cholesterol, LDL, HDL, triglyceride and VLDL. For more information, please visit https://bit.ly/2BDC6V6 References: https://www.healthline.com/health/cholesterol/effects-on-body#1