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Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Cholesterol is a type of lipid (fat) that is essential for all animal life--in the right amounts. It performs three essential functions: 1) Helps make the outer coating of cells, 2) Makes up the bile acids that work to digest food in the intestine, and 3) Allows the body to make Vitamin D and hormones, such as testosterone in men and estrogen in women.

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Today's Random Fact:

In most people, 60-70 percent of their cholesterol is carried in LDL particles, which are considered "bad" cholesterol. LDL particles are not all "bad," however, because they act as ferries, taking cholesterol to parts of the body that need it. LDL cholesterol becomes "bad" if there is too much in the bodyin which case, it starts depositing cholesterol into the blood stream.

High-density lipoproteins (HDLs) are typically labeled "good" cholesterol because they have more protein than fat and, instead of ferrying cholesterol around the body as LDL does, HDL sucks up as much excess cholesterol as it can and takes it back to the liver.

Bonus Fact:

High cholesterol itself typically does not have any symptoms, so many people are unaware they are at risk for heart attacks, strokes, and other heart diseases.

Major risk factors that increase high LDL levels include cigarette smoking, high blood pressure, low HDL cholesterol (below 40 mg/dL), family history of early heart disease, obesity, and age (men: 45 years or older, women: 55 years or older).

Research shows that stress increases "bad" cholesterol levels. In contrast, the better a person copes with the stress, the higher his "good" cholesterol levels are.

Studies show that breast-fed babies have lower levels of cholesterol as adults. Additionally, breast milk is rich in healthy cholesterol and fats, which help prevent adult heart and central nervous system diseases.

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