What is cholesterol?

What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a waxy substance in our blood stream known as a lipid. It is made in the liver but we also get it from certain foods such as red meat, butter and eggs. Cholesterol has a vital job of making vitamin D, hormones and bile for digestion. However, too much cholesterol can increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Cholesterol can’t dissolve in the blood and must be transported in the blood by carriers called lipoproteins. The two types of lipoproteins that carry cholesterol are HDL (High density lipoprotein) and LDL (Low density lipoprotein) which often are referred to as ‘good’ and ‘bad’ cholesterol..

Lipids

Apart from cholesterol, there is another lipid in our blood called triglycerides. As opposed to cholesterol, triglycerides  derives only from extra calories that we eat and is not produced in the body. Too much circulating triglycerides can increase the risk of heart disease.

Contributing factors to high levels of triglycerides include an unhealthy lifestyle, obesity and in some cases also diabetes.