Your Arteries and Cholesterol

The job of your arteries is to pump blood. The Dorsal Aorta or the main artery branches out into many smaller arteries. Each body system has arteries which are responsible for providing the oxygen rich blood that keeps us alive.

Too much cholesterol in the blood – especially bad cholesterol – prevents arteries from working their best. High levels of bad cholesterol may even prevent arteries from functioning at all, since cholesterol can actually lead to blockages in your arteries. For this reason, it is critical then that we keep arteries free of bad cholesterol for optimal health.

Arteries are constructed of a tough exterior and a soft, smooth interior. Each artery has three specific layers:

    • The outer layer

Understanding the Causes of High Cholesterol

Besides diet, other causes of high cholesterol are lifestyle, gender and the heritage of the individual.

For some, even maintaining cholesterol at the right levels and being fit and thin will still not prevent the development of high levels of bad cholesterol. Due to heart risk factors besides diet, some people require a very aggressive approach which includes cholesterol lowing medication. We will address this issue as we progress in “30 days to lowering cholesterol.”

Lifestyle issues and high cholesterol:

•When we opt for convenience in eating over nutrition, we are setting ourselves up for problems. Eating fast foods and convenience foods results in eating too many fats and salts, which can raise our bad cholesterol levels.

Understanding the Types of Cholesterol

While most people talk about “cholesterol levels” there is in fact more than one type of cholesterol. In fact, there are several different body functions and several different substances that make up our understanding of “cholesterol.”

As with some fats, cholesterol cannot be dissolved in the blood. Instead, molecules called lipoproteins carry cholesterol to and from cells. Molecules are made from an outer layer of protein and an inner core of both cholesterol and triglycerides, which is another form of fat.

Lipoproteins equip the cholesterol to move around the body. The two main types of lipoproteins are:

1) High Density Lipoproteins (HDL.)

• HDL transports cholesterol from cells back to the liver.

Understanding Cholesterol

In order to understand why it is important to lower cholesterol, it is necessary to first understand what cholesterol is. Cholesterol is a fatlike waxy substance and is produced by the liver. Although cholesterol has purposes and is important to overall health and body function, too much cholesterol in the body has damaging effects.

Cholesterol forms every cell within the body. When the cholesterol level is appropriate, it plays a life-giving role in many functions of the body. When cholesterol is at a good level it works to build and repair cells, produces hormones such as estrogen and testosterone, and produces bile acids which are proven to aid in the digestion of fat.

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