Cholesterol refers to organic compounds, lipids that enter the body with food, as well as synthesized liver. One of the types of natural fatty alcohols, cholesterol is needed to ensure the normal life of a person.
Excess cholesterol in the blood – the primary link in the process of atherosclerotic, or cholesterol, plaques in the blood vessels. Normally, the level of total cholesterol found in the blood as an element of lipoprotein is in the range of 3.6-5.2 mmol / l, and with age due to physiological processes the upper limit of the norm increases depending on the age and the sex of the patient. With more indicators exceeding the upper limit, the risk of atherosclerosis increases, significantly increasing when the index reaches 6.2 mmol / l and more.
Circulating in the blood, cholesterol, with its excess, has the property of sticking together and accumulating in the arteries. Clumps or plaques obstruct the movement of blood, creating obstacles to blood flow and narrowing the lumen of the vessels, which causes oxygen starvation and insufficient blood supply to tissues and organs. With the disintegration of some of the plaques contribute to the formation of a thrombus, which provokes thromboembolism, heart attacks, strokes and can lead to death.
However, also, as an excess, the lack of cholesterol is dangerous. This compound, for example, is one of the important advantages of breastfeeding: cholesterol is important for the development of the brain of infants, affects the production of essential hormones, bone-muscle, immune, reproductive systems, and in substitute compounds, its content is significantly inferior to mother’s milk. Other important functions of cholesterol include:
ensuring the strength and elasticity of cell membranes;
the necessary component of the synthesis of cortisone, vitamin D, the regulation of the balance of phosphorus and calcium in the body;
participation in the functioning of the nervous and immune system;
protection of blood cells (erythrocytes) from the effects of various types of hemolytic poisons;
the necessary component for the production of hormones of the reproductive system, etc.
A lowered level of “good” cholesterol leads to sexual and reproductive disorders, inability to conceive, loss of libido, and also to depressive states with a high probability of suicidal outcome, digestive disorders, development of osteoporosis, diabetes, hemorrhagic stroke. Because of the danger of lowering the level of total cholesterol in the blood when taking statins, experts recommend changing the diet, lifestyle and trying to lower the level of cholesterol without medications. To do this, you need to know the techniques that help reduce cholesterol without drugs, and what foods reduce cholesterol in the blood, and which, on the contrary, increase.