In this article we’ll discuss why cholesterol is important for us? Elevated cholesterol levels are a major health problem. Due to the abundance of ads for cholesterol-free products, the substance is perceived as something harmful. However, the biological role of cholesterol is very important. It is involved in many biochemical processes of the body, so it is important for a health-conscious person to know what cholesterol is, why it is needed, how to maintain it in normal values.
For the first time, the substance was discovered in the 18th century by the scientist Pouletier in the study of gallstones formed in the body during cholelithiasis (GSD). Half a century later, another scientist Michel gave the substance the name cholesterol, which literally means “fat bile”.
Today the term “cholesterol” is on everyone’s lips, because mortality from cardiovascular accidents occupies a leading position in the world, and high cholesterol plays a major role in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis, heart attacks and strokes.
Benefits of Cholesterol
The positive role of cholesterol in the human body is very great. Cholesterol is involved in the life of various systems of the human body:
- Helps to digest food;
- increases the amount of estradiol in the female body, which helps maintain reproductive function at a high level;
- Increases the amount of vitamin D;
- Strengthens cell membranes and maintains the water level in cells;
- Participates in the synthesis of fatty acids in the liver; positively affects the production of the hormone of happiness serotonin;
- Part of the spinal cord;
- In the brain has a positive effect on cognitive functions, that is, on the process of perception, memorization and processing of information.
Disadvantages of High Cholesterol (Remember High!)
Cholesterol itself can be neither harmful nor beneficial. But it is important to know that it is transported through the body along with special proteins, forming lipoproteins. The latter can have high or low density, while high density lipoproteins are conventionally considered good, and low – on the contrary, bad. The lower the density of the lipoprotein, the greater its volume.
Therefore, with an increase in low density lipoproteins, vascular blockage occurs, or atherosclerosis develops. One of the most important roles of cholesterol is the building function. If the vascular walls are damaged, cholesterol is delivered to the damaged site to fill them with itself. But together with low density lipoproteins, it represents bulky compounds that most people are familiar with by the name “atherosclerotic plaques.”
Also, excess cholesterol has a bad effect on the elasticity of the vascular walls. They become more fragile, and hemorrhage can occur when blood pressure rises sharply. At the same time, it cannot be said that its reduced amount in the blood prevents the development of a heart attack or stroke: if cholesterol does not fill the damage to the vascular walls, the same hemorrhage will result.
It is not always possible to prevent hypercholesterolemia, since diet and lifestyle do not significantly affect the level of this substance. However, a healthy lifestyle helps to maintain the work of all body systems, so the risk that pathology will develop, against the background of which cholesterol will rise, will be lower.
The list of recommendations against increasing cholesterol includes:
- Balanced diet;
- Maintaining weight within the normal body mass index;
- Refusal of hypodynamia; treatment of any chronic pathologies in the body;
- Regular preventive examinations with a doctor with a laboratory blood test.
Cholesterol is very useful for the body, but if you do not monitor its level, then from an irreplaceable substance in human biochemistry, it will turn into an enemy that can significantly reduce the quality of life.
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