The sheer amount of of information about the relationship between cholesterol and risk of heart disease can be overwhelming and sometimes confusing. Here is a basic look at some of the key points you should know. Cholesterol Is Important. Cholesterol is a waxy substance in your blood that performs essential functions in your body. It helps make the outer coating of cells, makes up the bile acids that work to digest food, and allows the body to make Vitamin D and certain hormones. It is so important that the body actually makes its own cholesterol. When there is too much cholesterol in your blood, it builds up in the walls of your arteries. Over time, this buildup narrows the arteries and restricts blood flow to the heart.
Listed under the calories and fat content on many nutrition labels, cholesterol often gets included in conversations about how healthy a food is. Your liver produces cholesterol naturally to make hormones, vitamin D, and new cells, but it still is sometimes associated with poor health if it is too high. However, studies have even shown that cholesterol from food does not increase the risk of heart disease. So why does cholesterol get such a bad reputation? The confusion likely comes from the difference between dietary cholesterol obtained from the food you eat and blood cholesterol the amount in your bloodstream. Your body adjusts its cholesterol production based on the amount you receive from your diet. Inside your body, lipoproteins move the cholesterol through your blood to different areas. Medical professionals recommend that you order blood tests to analyze your lipoprotein levels every five years once you’re over the age of These numbers are the key to your overall health as it relates to cholesterol. In fact, they’re a lot more important than how many eggs you’re eating in one day. There are multiple types of lipoproteins that will show up on these tests. Low-density lipoprotein LDL : This is referred to as the “bad” cholesterol in your bloodwork results.
Back to Heart and lungs. The conventional view is that having high LDL cholesterol levels increases your risk of dying of cardiovascular diseases, such as heart disease. Researchers chose 30 studies in total to analyse. Twelve found no link between LDL and mortality, but 16 actually found that lower LDL was linked with higher mortality risk — the opposite to what was expected. Only nine studies looked at cardiovascular mortality link specifically — seven found no link and two found the opposite link to what was expected. However, there are many important limitations to this review. This includes the possibility that the search methods may have missed relevant studies, not looking at levels of other blood fats e. People found to have high LDL cholesterol at the study’s start may have subsequently been started on statins, which could have prevented deaths. Funding was provided by the Western Vascular Institute. Four of the study authors have previously written book s criticising “the cholesterol hypothesis”. This is described as a group of scientists who “oppose…that animal fat and high cholesterol play a role [in heart disease]”.
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