15 doctors weighed in:

What is cholesterol?

15 doctors weighed in
Dr. Sahba Ferdowsi
General Practice
5 doctors agree

In brief: Cholesterol control

Holesterol comes from two sources: your body and food.
Your liver and other cells in your body make about 75 percent of blood cholesterol. The other 25 percent comes from the foods you eat. Cholesterol is only found in animal products. A cholesterol screening measures your level of HDL and ldl. Hdl is the "good" cholesterol which helps keep the LDL (bad) cholesterol from getting lodged into your artery walls. A healthy level of HDL may also protect against heart attack and stroke, while low levels of HDL (less than 40 mg/dl for men and less than 50 mg/dl for women) have been shown to increase the risk of heart disease. If you need to increase your HDL to your reach your goals, studies show that regular physical activity can help your body produce more hdls. Reducing trans fats and eating a balanced, nutritious diet is another way to increase hdl. If these measures are not enough to increase your HDL to goal, your healthcare practitioner may prescribe a medication specifically to increase your hdls. Ldl cholesterol is the "bad" cholesterol. When too much of it circulates in the blood, it can clog arteries, increasing your risk of heart attack and stroke. Ldl cholesterol is produced naturally by the body, but many people inherit genes from their mother, father or even grandparents that cause them to make too much. Eating saturated fat, trans fats and dietary cholesterol also increases how much you have. If high blood cholesterol runs in your family, lifestyle modifications may not be enough to help lower your LDL blood cholesterol. Everyone is different, so work with your doctor to find a treatment plan that's best for you. Most importantly, having a good doest and exercise will lead to having higher hdl's.

In brief: Cholesterol control

Holesterol comes from two sources: your body and food.
Your liver and other cells in your body make about 75 percent of blood cholesterol. The other 25 percent comes from the foods you eat. Cholesterol is only found in animal products. A cholesterol screening measures your level of HDL and ldl. Hdl is the "good" cholesterol which helps keep the LDL (bad) cholesterol from getting lodged into your artery walls. A healthy level of HDL may also protect against heart attack and stroke, while low levels of HDL (less than 40 mg/dl for men and less than 50 mg/dl for women) have been shown to increase the risk of heart disease. If you need to increase your HDL to your reach your goals, studies show that regular physical activity can help your body produce more hdls. Reducing trans fats and eating a balanced, nutritious diet is another way to increase hdl. If these measures are not enough to increase your HDL to goal, your healthcare practitioner may prescribe a medication specifically to increase your hdls. Ldl cholesterol is the "bad" cholesterol. When too much of it circulates in the blood, it can clog arteries, increasing your risk of heart attack and stroke. Ldl cholesterol is produced naturally by the body, but many people inherit genes from their mother, father or even grandparents that cause them to make too much. Eating saturated fat, trans fats and dietary cholesterol also increases how much you have. If high blood cholesterol runs in your family, lifestyle modifications may not be enough to help lower your LDL blood cholesterol. Everyone is different, so work with your doctor to find a treatment plan that's best for you. Most importantly, having a good doest and exercise will lead to having higher hdl's.
Dr. Sahba Ferdowsi
Dr. Sahba Ferdowsi
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1 comment
Dr. Milton Alvis, jr
This answer is incorrect and misleading in several specifics. E.g. LDL & HDL are Not Cholesterol but complex protein particles which transport thousands of different fat molecules per each single particle. Study: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lipoprotein, answer below, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Low-density_lipoprotein & http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-density_lipoprotein for understanding.
Dr. Irv Loh
Internal Medicine - Cardiology
5 doctors agree

In brief: Normal body fat

Cholesterol is a waxy, fatty chemical with bad press.
It is a normal component of your cell membranes and a critical building block of many hormones that include the sex hormones and blood pressure hormones. The problem is that some types of cholesterol (e.g., ldl-c) when modified in blood vessels can trigger the atherosclerotic process that can block arteries to organs, that then malfunction.

In brief: Normal body fat

Cholesterol is a waxy, fatty chemical with bad press.
It is a normal component of your cell membranes and a critical building block of many hormones that include the sex hormones and blood pressure hormones. The problem is that some types of cholesterol (e.g., ldl-c) when modified in blood vessels can trigger the atherosclerotic process that can block arteries to organs, that then malfunction.
Dr. Irv Loh
Dr. Irv Loh
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Dr. Maureen Mays
Clinical Lipidology
2 doctors agree

In brief: A type of fat

Cholesterol is a large molecule that is made in the liver, packaged and sent out to the rest of the body in the blood.
The "packages" are called ldl's and hdl's. Cholesterol is the building block for most of our cells, for hormones, and for other important body functions. Too much, or poorly packaged cholesterol, however can get stuck in the arteries and cause heart attacks &/or strokes.

In brief: A type of fat

Cholesterol is a large molecule that is made in the liver, packaged and sent out to the rest of the body in the blood.
The "packages" are called ldl's and hdl's. Cholesterol is the building block for most of our cells, for hormones, and for other important body functions. Too much, or poorly packaged cholesterol, however can get stuck in the arteries and cause heart attacks &/or strokes.
Dr. Maureen Mays
Dr. Maureen Mays
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Dr. Milton Alvis, jr
Preventive Medicine
1 doctor agrees

In brief: A SpecificHealthyFat

Cholesterol is a fat manufactured by every animal&human cell, part of cell membranes, enables cells to change shape, animals to move.
Little absorbed from food, digested. Mostly only free chol. from liver excretion re-absorbed. No such thing as bad or good Chol. Correct issue is lipoproteins. Chol. Promoted for ?$ but commonly misleading/discordant with LDL concentrations & LDL-C is not measured.

In brief: A SpecificHealthyFat

Cholesterol is a fat manufactured by every animal&human cell, part of cell membranes, enables cells to change shape, animals to move.
Little absorbed from food, digested. Mostly only free chol. from liver excretion re-absorbed. No such thing as bad or good Chol. Correct issue is lipoproteins. Chol. Promoted for ?$ but commonly misleading/discordant with LDL concentrations & LDL-C is not measured.
Dr. Milton Alvis, jr
Dr. Milton Alvis, jr
Thank
1 comment
Dr. Milton Alvis, jr
The longstanding misleading focus on cholesterol as a surrogate indicator for LDL particle concentrations has lead to increased unhealthy foods, obesity, Diabetes Mellitus, increased LDL + reduced large HDL & increased progression of arterial disease with all its many catastrophic complications. A single LDL particle carries ~3,000 to ~6,000 fat molecules & how many are cholesterol varies widely.
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