What is cholesterol
Cholesterol is the main building material in the body. It is needed for the formation of cells, nervous tissue, hormones, vitamins. Two-thirds of cholesterol is formed directly in the body (mainly in the liver), one-third comes from food – this is ideal. In reality, two extremes are quite common: either people get too much cholesterol while eating (fatty food is delicious!), Or they forbid themselves cholesterol altogether and eat exclusively low-fat foods.
Cholesterol is a water-insoluble substance that is transported in the blood in the form of special transport particles – lipoproteins. Low-density lipoproteins (LDL) settle on the walls of blood vessels, contributing to the development of atherosclerotic plaques. Therefore, LDL is called bad, or atherogenic.
High-density lipoproteins (HDL) take cholesterol from the walls of blood vessels, send it back to the liver, where it burns. Therefore, among the people, HDL is called good, or anti-atherogenic.
It would seem that everything is simple: there should be more good cholesterol, less bad cholesterol, and you can feel safe (at least from the side of the cardiovascular system).
It is conventionally accepted that bad cholesterol is found in animal fats, and good cholesterol is found in vegetable fats. Therefore, over the past 2-3 decades, the recommendations of nutritionists for people at risk of developing cardiovascular diseases have been quite specific: reduce animal fat to a minimum.
It is usually not enough to check “total blood cholesterol”. It is advisable to take an analysis of its fractions: LDL and HDL – and consult a doctor, because the norms of total and bad cholesterol differ depending on cardiovascular risk. It is very important to know the ratio between total cholesterol and good cholesterol (atherogenicity index), which should be less than four. It determines the rate of construction or destruction of atherosclerotic plaque.
This orderly system existed unshakably until August of this year.