What is Cholesterol? – Basic explanation


What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a chemical compound with a combination of lipid (fat) and steroids. About 75-80% of cholesterol in the body is produced by the liver. The other 20-25 % comes from the foods of animal origin like meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy products.

Cholesterol is required to form the cell membranes. It also helps the liver to produce bile acids which necessary for digestion of fats and the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (Vitamin A, D, E, and K). Besides that, cholesterol is used to manufacture vitamin D and steroids hormones such as sex hormones.

LDL (Low-Density Lipoprotein) cholesterol is the “bad” cholesterol. An increased LDL cholesterol level leading to plaque formation in the heart or brain arteries and this condition is known as atherosclerosis. The clog of the arteries will cause the heart attack or stroke.

HDL (High-Density Lipoprotein) cholesterol is called the “good” cholesterol which helps to remove LDL cholesterol from sticking on the artery walls.
Triglycerides are another type of fat found in the blood circulation and fat tissue. The foods you take will change to triglycerides and stored for energy use for later time.

Lipid profile screening
The lipid profile typically will include total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, total cholesterol/HDL ratio and triglycerides. This test may help to evaluate the risk of having heart attack or stroke due to hardening of the arteries or narrowing of blood vessels.

Every healthy adult aged more than 20 with no other risk factors for heart disease is recommended to be tested their lipid levels once every five years. If for those with other risk factors of heart disease, the regular test for lipid profile is needed.

Leave a Reply