What is Cholesterol?
To which class of biological molecules does cholesterol belong?
What is the difference between HDL and LDL?
What are the medical concerns as well as benefits of high and low levels of LDL and HDL?
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Nurses ought to have a detailed understanding of various issues facing the health of mankind. In this case, the issue of cardiovascular diseases is a concern that warrants attention from medical professionals. Closely related to this type of diseases is the concept cholesterol, which must be well understood.
Cholesterol is mainly produced by the liver, it’s a waxy substance also found in various foods, particularly red meat, high fat cheese, butter as well as eggs. Usually, cholesterol molecules are small and predominantly found in the blood and other body tissues. It is worth mentioning that cholesterol belong a group of lipids termed as isoprenoids. According to de Souza et al., (2015), isoprenoids are naturally occurring and is as a result of chemical condensation of isoprene. In terms of composition, isoprenoids constitute a number of biological molecules as follows steroid hormones, bile acid, lipid-soluble vitamins, phytol, plant hormones as well as polyisoprene. In terms its chemical structure, cholesterol is an organic compound I the steroid family with a molecular formula C27H46O. When considered in its pure state, cholesterol is a crystalline substance that is white having neither smell nor taste.
Cholesterol is a necessary in supporting life. Ideally, it forms the cell membrane, synthesizing steroid hormones, bile acids and vitamin D. It’s the role of the liver to synthesize cholesterol releasing it into the blood for circulation. The regulation of cholesterol is accomplished by a special, compensatory system where if the diet consumed has higher cholesterol content, the liver reduces its synthesis (Evans, 2012).
With regards to transportation of cholesterol is blood insoluble and for that matter, it is linked to lipoproteins to facilitate its transportation. There are two types of lipoproteins, which include high-density lipoprotein and low-density lipoprotein. The high-density lipoprotein is also termed as good cholesterol. Ideally, HDL transports the unutilized cholesterol from the cells back to the liver, where it is converted to bile and then excreted from the body (World Health Organization, 2015).
On the other hand, Low-density lipoprotein known as ‘bad’ cholesterol, transports cholesterol from the liver to the body cells as well as tissues. Ultimately, resulting in separating cholesterol from the lipoprotein for utilization by the cells (de Souza et al., 2015).
Apart from the benefits associated with cholesterol, which include building the structure of cell membranes, producing of such as oestrogen, testosterone and adrenal hormones supporting efficient metabolism among others, cholesterol is associated with other health problems. There are risk factors associated with Low-density lipoprotein. LDL means that the excess cholesterol is not taken back to the liver. It is therefore left in the blood veins forming atherosclerotic deposits. In most cases, these deposits usually fatty in nature become thicker and calcified. This eventually results in reducing the size of the blood vessels obstructing the normal flow of blood (World Health Organization, 2015). It has been shown that individuals with higher levels of cholesterol levels are prone to suffer from cardiovascular and brain related infections. This in most cases leads to heart attacks and strokes, leaving affected individuals’ dead or suffer terminal disability. However, it has been established that a healthy HDL cholesterol level may protect against heart attack and stroke. This can be attained by reducing the risk factors associated with LDL, such as engaging in physical exercise regularly, eating a healthy diet low in cholesterol and high in fiber rich in plant steroid. Cutting down on the amount of saturated fat by avoiding food such as cakes and biscuits, fatty meat, butter and full-fat dairy products, food having coconut or palm way goes an extra mile in ensuring one is healthy, reducing the risks associated with LDL (de Souza et al., (2015).
de Souza J., et al., (2015). Intake of saturated and trans-unsaturated fatty acids and risk of all-cause mortality, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes: systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies. British Medical Association. 351: h3978.
Evans, D. (2012). Cholesterol and saturated fat prevent heart disease – evidence from 101 scientific papers. New York: Grosvenor House Publishing Limited.
World health Organization (2015). Avoiding heart attacks and strokes: Don’t be a victim-protect yourself. Paris: WHO Publications.
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