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Definition of «Cholesterol»

Cholesterol: The most common type of steroid in the body, cholesterol has gotten something of a bad name. However, cholesterol is a critically important molecule.

It is essential to the formation of:

  • Bile acids (which aid in the digestion of fats)
  • Vitamin D
  • Progesterone
  • Estrogens (estradiol, estrone, estriol)
  • Androgens (androsterone, testosterone)
  • Mineralocorticoid hormones (aldosterone, corticosterone) and
  • Glucocorticoid hormones (cortisol).

Cholesterol is also necessary to the normal permeability and function of cell membranes, the membranes that surround cells.

Cholesterol is carried in the bloodstream as lipoproteins. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol is the "bad" cholesterol because elevated LDL levels are associated with an increased risk of coronary artery (heart) disease. Conversely, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol is the "good" cholesterol since high HDL levels are associated with less coronary disease.

After the age of 20, cholesterol testing is recommended every 5 years.

A diet high in saturated fats tends to increase the blood cholesterol levels while diets high in unsaturated fats tend to do the opposite, to lower blood cholesterol levels.

Although some cholesterol is obtained from the diet, most cholesterol is made in the liver and other tissues. The treatment of elevated cholesterol therefore involves not only diet but also weight loss and regular exercise (and, occasionally, medications).

For More Information «Cholesterol»

  • Cholesterol Management Center - WebMD

    High cholesterol affects 42 million Americans, and 63 million more have borderline high cholesterol. Here you'll find in-depth cholesterol information including ...

  • Cholesterol information: high cholesterol, lowering ...

    Learn about cholesterol and how to lower LDL cholesterol. Read in-depth cholesterol information on a low cholesterol diet, normal ratio (levels), treatment for high ...

  • cholesterol: Definition from Answers.com

    n. A white crystalline substance, C 27 H 45 OH, found in animal tissues and various foods, that is normally synthesized by the liver and is important as a constituent ...

  • Cholesterol: At a Glance

    Overview of the cholesterol blood test, used to screen for risk of developing heart disease

  • Cholesterol: MedlinePlus

    Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that occurs naturally in all parts of the body. Your body needs some cholesterol to work properly. But if you have too much ...

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