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What you need to know about Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that’s found in all cells of the body. It plays an important role in the production of hormones, vitamin D and other substances that help digest food. Despite its obvious importance, too much cholesterol can be a major risk factor for cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack and stroke.

What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is mainly found in the outer layer of all cells, also known as the cell membrane. It is important for the production of certain vitamins and hormones and for the digestion of fat in food. Your body can produce enough cholesterol, so it does not need to be obtained from food sources. However, cholesterol can also come from food, mainly from animal sources like egg yolks, meats, and dairy products.

Good and bad cholesterol

Cholesterol is separated into two categories:

    • HDL (high-density lipoprotein) — often referred to as “good” cholesterol


    • LDL (low-density lipoprotein) — often referred to as “bad” cholesterol


HDL cholesterol helps to remove LDL cholesterol from the body. While LDL cholesterol can accumulate in the arteries forming plaque and blockages, HDL cholesterol helps to prevent this from happening.

Who is at risk of high cholesterol?

Having high cholesterol increases your risk of cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack and stroke, so it’s important to know your cholesterol levels and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

High cholesterol can be caused by several factors including age, sex, diet, family history, and health conditions. People who are over 45, are male, and have a family history of high cholesterol are more at risk. Eating a diet high in fat and cholesterol can also cause cholesterol levels to increase.

How to lower cholesterol levels

High cholesterol can be managed with lifestyle modification and medication. Making changes to your diet, getting regular exercise, and maintaining a healthy weight can help to lower cholesterol levels naturally.

There are also medications, such as statins, which are designed to lower cholesterol. These medications work by reducing how much cholesterol is produced in the liver or by increasing the removal of cholesterol from the body.


Cholesterol is an important substance that is necessary for good health, but too much cholesterol can cause serious health problems. Getting your cholesterol levels tested and making lifestyle changes to maintain healthy cholesterol levels are important for reducing your risk for heart attack and stroke. So, understanding cholesterol and taking the necessary steps to ensure your cholesterol levels remain in the healthy range is essential for your long-term health and well-being.

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