Friday, 16 December 2011

CHOLESTEROL




Cholesterol is a waxy steroid of fat that is produced in the liver or intestines. It is used to produce hormones and cell membranes and is transported in the blood plasma of all mammals. It is an important component for the manufacture of bile acids, vit. D and steroid hormones. Cholesterol is the principal sterol synthesized by animals; however, small quantities can be synthesized in other eukaryotes such as plants and fungi. It is almost completely absent among prokaryotes, i.e. bacteria. Although cholesterol is important and necessary for mammals, high levels of cholesterol in the blood have been linked to damage to arteries and are potentially linked to diseases such as those associated with the cardiovascular system (heart disease).




Normal levels -  according to some books its between 150-240 mg/dl but the actual criteria for total cholesterol is given below -


 Total Cholesterol (mg/dl)
<200 
 Desirable level
200-239 
 Borderline
>=240 
 High risk


We have heard about the side effects of  cholesterol in the body, but the fact is that our body needs a typical amount of it, in order to maintain a lot of functions maintained by it. Some of them are listed below :-
  • It provides stability to the cell membranes to enable them to selectively regulate vital substances needed for our survival to enter and exit the cell.
  • Maintains the structure of the vessels.
  • Low cholesterol levels suppress the immune system, making you susceptible to disease and illness.
  • It produces hormones which assist with healing the body from injuries and infections.
  • Act as an insulator around the nerves and protects your nervous system from diseases.
  • Helps in synthesis of vit. D.
  • It's influential on your memory capacity.
  • Serotonin receptors in the brain needs cholesterol to function properly.
  • It’s important for steroid hormone production.
  • Strengthens intestinal walls.
  • Insulin hormone is made from cholesterol.
  • Lower than normal limits  may accelerate signs of aging.
  • People with kidney dysfunction are at an increased to risk to succumb if they have low cholesterol levels.


Therefore, cholesterol is needed for the proper functioning of the body. Attempts to reduce cholesterol from its normal limit is dangerous for health.

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