There are two types of blood lipids in the body: cholesterol and triglycerides. Cholesterol is a small molecule of fatty substance that is found in all cells of the human body, including blood serum. Cholesterol is an essential component in our body. It is a basic substance for the formation of cells, and for the production of Fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamins A, D, E, and K. It is also necessary for the production of hormones and bile acids for the purpose of food digestion.
The cholesterol in the human body comes from an internal source (liver production 70%) and an external source (food 30%).
Cholesterol is very essential for the healthy functioning of body organs such as the liver, brain, nerves, intestines as well as other organs. However, high level of cholesterol is considered a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases, heart attacks and strokes. Cholesterol is not soluble in water, therefore, it is carried by lipoprotein through the blood stream.
There are 3 types of Lipoproteins:
- HDL (high-density lipoprotein = Cholesterol). Carries cholesterol from body tissue to the producer (liver) where it is disassembled and excreted outside the body or recycled again.
- LDL (low-density lipoprotein = Cholesterol). Carries cholesterol from the liver to all body tissue.
- VLDL (very low-density lipoprotein). It is consider a greater risk factor than LDL for heart diseases and stroke.
High level of LDL (bad cholesterol) in blood serum can lead to sedimentation and a build-up of a cholesterol layers thus causing Arteriosclerosis. Arteriosclerosis is narrowing and blockage of small arteries.
Causes for Hypercholesterolemia
- Unhealthy diet high in cholesterol, saturated fat as well as refined carbohydrates.
- Excessive consumption of alcohol.
- Lack of physical activity.
- Stress and tension.
- Certain illnesses such as diabetes, renal failure, hypothyroidism, the obstruction of bile ducts.
Often there are no obvious symptoms for Hypercholesterolemia and usually the first symptom is a heart attack or a stroke. However symptoms such as dizziness, confusion, disturbances in blood flow or difficulty in breathing after an easy effort is requires a having a blood test.
Advanced hypercholesterolemia may cause symptoms such as:
- Fatty liver.
- Chest pain.
- Back pain (as a result of fat accumulation in the pancreas).
- The accumulation of fat on the skin or the eyelids and yellow spots on the skin and around the eyes.