Cholesterol Levels: What Does Low and High Cholesterol Mean?
Almost all people are familiar with the concept of “cholesterol”. The term, which recently was purely medical, began to be used everywhere. They made, advertising their products, assure the buyer: “It is good because it does not have cholesterol.” Nutritionists develop entire programs that provide cholesterol withdrawal and healing.
However, is everything known about this component? What is the norm of cholesterol? And is it always necessary to lower its level?
Cholesterol: what is it and why is it needed?
Many people are sure that cholesterol is a harmful component that a person receives with food. Therefore, you need to fight it by any means. This statement is only partially correct. Cholesterol is not always harmful.
Moreover, without it, the human body is not able to function properly. So what does cholesterol mean to humans?
By the term “cholesterol” is meant an organic compound that provides the flow of fat metabolism and belongs to the category of lipids. The human body is able to independently synthesize this substance. It occurs in the liver and intestines. Almost 80% of all cholesterol is produced by the body on its own and only 20% is derived from food.
The role of cholesterol
Organic matter provides the natural course of many processes without which a person will not be able to live normally.
Not All Cholesterol Is Digested
Doctors indicate the following functions that cholesterol performs:
participates in the formation of cell membranes that protect the cell from external influences;
serves as an essential component of myelin sheaths (a protective layer of nerve fibers);
gives strength to membranes;
promotes the conversion of ultraviolet to vitamin D;
regulates the permeability of the membrane, due to which nutrients can enter the cell;
provides the process of bile formation;
participates in the flow of fat-soluble vitamins;
protects red blood cells (blood cells) from hemolytic toxins (streptococcus poisons, staphylococci, etc.);
promotes the synthesis of hormones (genital and adrenal cortex);
provides the production of fatty acids in the liver, which break down and process fats from food;
improves the functioning of serotonin receptors, which are responsible for a good mood.
Thus, cholesterol is necessary for the formation and proper functioning of cells. It ensures the performance of bones and muscles, supports the functionality of nerve fibers. Organic matter contributes to the synthesis of hormones, participates in metabolism, helps to absorb vitamins E, A, K.
Having destroyed some myths about the dangers of cholesterol, it must be said that a substance is useful to the body only when its level varies within the normal range. Minor deviations are allowed. They are associated with individual characteristics.
To determine the level of cholesterol in the body, you need to contact a therapist. A specialist will prescribe a blood test. In order for the study to show accurate results, the patient on the eve of the procedure needs to abandon physical activity, not drink alcohol and donate blood on an empty stomach.
The norm of cholesterol by age
The following indicators (in mmol / l) are considered normal cholesterol, depending on age:
children under 5 years old – 2.9-5.25;
primary schoolchildren of 5-10 years old – 3.13-5.3;
schoolchildren of 10-15 years old – 3.08-5.23;
young people 15-40 years old – 3.37-6.58 (for women under 5.96);
mature people 40-60 years old – 4.09-7.38;
people over 60 years old – 4.09-7.85.
Significant deviations from the norm indicate the development of problems with the functioning of internal organs.
Some patients have elevated cholesterol levels. This is a very unpleasant situation, which can lead to the development of various diseases. When cholesterol rises, the vascular walls lose their flexibility. Atherosclerotic plaques begin to form inside the arteries. The latter lead to a narrowing of the duct. Blood circulation is disturbed.
Limbs may fail due to high cholesterol
Under such conditions, internal organs cannot receive enough nutrients and oxygen. Hypoxia develops. This condition is especially dangerous for the brain and heart muscle.
A high level is fraught with the following consequences:
coronary artery disease;
atrophy of the muscle tissue of the legs;
severe pain in the lower extremities;
What are the causes of high cholesterol
The following reasons can lead to an increase in the concentration of organic matter:
Improper nutrition. This is one of the main sources of the problem. The abuse of fatty foods, smoked meats, junk food lead to sad consequences. At the same time, nutritionists argue that cholesterol, which is part of meat, eggs, does not cause such harm as sausages and lard.
Bad habits. Smoking and alcohol abuse significantly worsen the condition of blood vessels and contribute to an increase in cholesterol concentration.
Lack of exercise.