|FATS AND CHOLESTEROL
are aware that high levels of cholesterol in their blood increase their
risk of heart disease. However, many of us are not sure what cholesterol
is or what it does. Or how to control cholesterol levels.
Cholesterol is not a fat but it is closely related
to fats. It is a chemical that is an essential component in the
structure of cells and is also involved in the formation of important
hormones. If your diet contained no cholesterol, your liver would still
produce all the cholesterol you need.
High levels of cholesterol can contribute to
narrowed by deposits of a fatty tissue called atheroma, which are made
up largely of cholesterol. Narrowing of the heart's coronary arteries by
patches of atheroma causes angina. When you exercise and the artery has
become narrowed enough to deprive the heart muscle of needed blood. This
also increases the risk of an artery becoming blocked by a blood clot.
In most instances, the more cholesterol there is in your blood, the
higher your risk of heart disease. high cholesterol levels in your blood
stream generally lead to more cholesterol being deposited in patches of
atheroma. As a rule, greater the risk of severe athercsclerosis.
The amount of cholesterol you have in your
bloodstream depends on several factors, including your genes, your diet
and your lifestyle.
The genetic factor is very important. Some families
have an inherited tendency to high cholesterol levels and members of
these families may have heart attacks at an early age. One cause of this
tendency is a genetic disorder called hyperlipoproteinemia, but there
are a number of other genetic conditions that are associated with high
Whatever your background, the
amount of fat you eat affects your cholesterol level. However there are
good fats and bad fats, just as there are good cholesterols (HDL
cholesterol0 and bad cholesterols (LDL cholesterol). Fats that raise the
cholesterol level most dramatically are called saturated. They are found
in meat and high-fat dairy products and are easily recognized because
they are always solid at room temperature. unsaturated fats are found in
plant oils, which are liquid at room temperature and are less likely to
elevate your cholesterol level. Too much unsaturated fat in your diet
also has disadvantages, however. The overall fat content of your diet
should be low (no more than 30 percent of your daily intake of calories0
and it should consist largely of unsaturated fats. There are some simple
guidelines that will help you choose a diet that keeps your cholesterol
level low, thereby reducing your risk of heart disease.