If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with high cholesterol, it’s important to understand what cholesterol is and why it’s important to keep it under control.
Cholesterol is a fat-like substance made by your liver and also comes from foods you intake that is then packaged into particles called lipoproteins.
Your body needs cholesterol to make hormones, vitamin D, and a substance that helps you digest food called bile.
This video discusses two types of lipoproteins that carry cholesterol:
low-density lipoprotein, or LDL cholesterol, also known as “bad” cholesterol,
and high-density lipoprotein, or HDL cholesterol, also known as “good” cholesterol.
LDL travels through your bloodstream, delivering cholesterol to the cells that need it.
If your body has too much LDL, it can build up in the walls of your arteries.
LDL and other substances in your artery wall form a fatty deposit called plaque.
Over time, plaque can narrow the artery and reduce blood flow.
LDL carries cholesterol into the plaque, this is why LDL is called the “bad” cholesterol.
A common place this plaque can build up is in your coronary arteries, which are the blood vessels that feed your heart.
This plaque build-up causes coronary artery disease and increases your risk of a heart attack.
Plaque build up in other arteries, such as the carotid arteries in your neck, can reduce blood flow to your brain and increase the risk of a stroke.
Your liver also makes high-density lipoprotein, or HDL, also known as the “good” cholesterol.
HDL helps remove excess cholesterol from your cells, tissues….
… and from plaque in your blood vessels. This is why HDL is called the “good” cholesterol.
HDL returns the excess cholesterol to your liver, which removes it from your body.
If after viewing this information, you have questions about cholesterol,
or any medications you have been prescribed to help manage your high cholesterol, speak with your healthcare provider.
It is important to take your medications as directed by your provider, and report any side effects you experience.