Nutrition

Cholesterol

Guilty! Designated public enemy number one of our arteries, cholesterol has a bad press. And the anti-cholesterol offensive is general, public authorities that increase the number of information messages to agri-food manufacturers who sell margarines and yogurt supposed to lower cholesterol ...

This article highlights and resumes the latest official recommendations of the main French and European health agencies, without entering the controversy launched by some doctors whose positions remain highly criticized.

Cholesterol is a necessary part of life, but its excess presence in the blood can lead to serious cardiovascular disease. Everyone should know their cholesterol levels and see if they are too high.

In reality, things are a little more subtle, because everything depends mainly on 2 fractions of cholesterol:

  • LDL-cholesterol (called bad cholesterol) and
  • HDL-cholesterol (the good cholesterol). Read further why they are so named ...

The so-called total cholesterol is roughly equivalent to LDL and HDL-cholesterol.

When we talk about cholesterol, we also think about drugs that do not always have good press, especially statins. Further, we take stock of these anti-cholesterol-lowering drugs.

But before considering taking medication, dietary rules are important if you want to reduce blood cholesterol levels too high.

A vital element ...

Cholesterol is a fat, a lipid, necessary for the proper functioning of our body. It is one of the components of our cells (in particular it goes into the composition of cell membranes), and it is also involved in the synthesis of certain hormones. It is also our body, mainly the liver, that produces nearly two thirds of our cholesterol. The last third comes from the diet.

... but dangerous in excess

When it is present in too large a quantity in the body, cholesterol - the main culprit is the increase of LDL cholesterol - is at the origin of the formation of atheroma plaques (atherosclerosis). These fat plates accumulate on the walls of the arteries that become clogged up little by little.

Depending on the arteries affected, different diseases may appear:

  • angina or myocardial infarction for coronaries,
  • stroke for the arteries of the brain,
  • arteritis obliterans of the lower limbs (AOMI) for the arteries of the legs ...


How do you know if you have too much cholesterol?

To find out if there is too much cholesterol, only one way: the blood test (to be done after 12 hours of fasting). Indeed, usually no symptoms can be seen in excess of cholesterol (hypercholesterolemia). Except, for example: a xanthelasma which is manifested by yellowish spots slightly elevated on the eyelids, and which can come from an excess of cholesterol.

The result of the blood test will indicate if the cholesterol level is too high. And among the numbers to really consider the most important is certainly the LDL-cholesterol level. In reality, this figure is to be evaluated according to age and cardiovascular risk factors (smoking, sex, diabetes, sedentary lifestyle, family history of cardiovascular disease ...).

You want to react, to give your testimony or to ask a question? Appointment in our FORUMS Cholesterol or A doctor answers you !

Read also :

> Take a cholesterol medication
> The anti-cholesterol diet

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