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Keep your cholesterol under control

Keep your cholesterol under control

Published: 26 February, 2020 - Updated: 6 April, 2021 | 1'

You have probably heard of cholesterol. However, you may not know very well what it is, what it consists of or how to keep it under control.

What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a fatty acid which is produced in the liver and is found in all the cells of the body. 

Cholesterol has a ''bad name'', but in fact it is quite necessary to carry out some vital functions of our body. Cholesterol is needed to produce hormones, vitamin D and substances that help us to digest food. 

In addition to being produced in a natural way, cholesterol is found in some foods of animal origin such as red meat, egg yolks or cheese.

Good and bad cholesterol

When we talk about cholesterol, it is important to differentiate between so-called low-density lipoproteins (LDL), popularly known as bad cholesterol, and high-density lipoproteins (HDL) or good cholesterol. The cholesterol test, which you will probably have taken at your health centre or at a health check-up for work, measures the amount of each kind of cholesterol.

Why is "bad cholesterol" so harmful?

LDL cholesterol is bad because when it is combined with other substances present in the blood it can lead to a fatty plaque that can be accumulated on the walls of the blood vessels, causing difficulties in the blood circulation which can lead to a variety of cardiovascular diseases.

Why does "bad cholesterol" rise?

There are several factors that explain why your levels of bad cholesterol may increase. The most important are unhealthy eating habits, with foods that are too fatty, a lack of physical activity or smoking. Weight, aging and family history may also affect your LDL cholesterol level.

Is it possible to prevent 'bad cholesterol'?

In many cases, the good new is that it is possible to control your cholesterol. A healthy diet, weight control and regular moderate exercise are the three best basic ways to keep your cholesterol at optimal levels. Sometimes dietary cholesterol supplements may also help.