What is Cholesterol and What Cholesterol Level Means

{SCA} Cholesterol is a chemical compound that is naturally produced by the body and is a combination of lipid (fat) and steroid.

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that occurs naturally in all parts of the body. Your body needs some cholesterol to work properly. But if you have too much in your blood, it can stick to the walls of your arteries. This is called plaque. Plaque can narrow your arteries or even block them.

When you have high cholesterol, you may develop fatty deposits in your blood vessels. Eventually, these deposits make it difficult for enough blood to flow through your arteries. Your heart may not get as much oxygen-rich blood as it needs, which increases the risk of a heart attack. Decreased blood flow to your brain can cause a stroke.

Too much cholesterol in the body can lead to serious problems like heart disease. Many factors can contribute to high cholesterol, but the good news is there are things you can do to control them.

The extra cholesterol in your blood may be stored in your arteries (blood vessels that carry blood from your heart to the rest of your body). Buildup of cholesterol in your arteries is known as plaque. It will cause your arteries to narrow and harden (called atherosclerosis). Large deposits of cholesterol can completely block an artery. Cholesterol plaques can also split open, leading to formation of a blood clot that blocks the flow of blood.

Cholesterol is recycled. It is excreted by the liver via the bile into the digestive tract. Typically about 50% of the excreted cholesterol is reabsorbed by the small bowel back into the bloodstream. Phytosterols can compete cholsterol reabsorption in intestinal tract back into the intestinal lumen for elimination.

Female milk for baby also contains significant quantities of cholesterol. Cholesterol is not present in plant-based food sources unless it has been added during the food’s preparation. Plant products such as flax seeds and peanuts contain cholesterol-like compounds called phytosterols, which are suggested to help lower serum  cholesterol levels.

Cholesterol Level Chart – You Should Know

Level mg/dL    : Level mmol/L :Interpretation
< 200               : < 5.0           : Desirable level corresponding to lower risk for heart disease
200–240         : 5.2–6.2      : Borderline high risk
> 240               : > 6.2           : High risk