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Cholesterol - Overview, Functions & Factors

cholesterol functions factors

Cholesterol is a wax-like substance found in every cell of the body. Liver naturally produces about 80% of the body's cholesterol and it is also consumed from the food we eat like poultry, eggs, meat, fish and dairy products.

Cholesterol is regulated in liver. After we eat, cholesterol from the diet is absorbed from the small intestine, metabolized and stored in the liver. As in when the body requires cholesterol, it gets secreted by the liver.

Due to excessive intake of fat rich diet, cholesterol begins to build up as ‘plaque’ (deposits) along the inside walls of arteries, making them narrow and sometimes leading to complete obstruction.

Functions of Cholesterol

It has four main functions

  • Contributes in the structure of cell walls
  • Makes digestive bile acids in the intestine
  • Facilitates body to produce vitamin D
  • Enable the body to make few hormones

Factors Affecting Cholesterol

Not only diet but several other factors can affect blood cholesterol levels. Such as,

Diet - Saturated fat in the food you eat increases cholesterol levels

Weight - Being overweight also increases blood cholesterol.

Exercise - Regular exercise lowers LDL and raise HDL

Age - With age, cholesterol levels rise

Diabetes - Poorly managed diabetes increases blood cholesterol levels

Heredity -High blood cholesterol can run in families

Other factors - Some medications & medical conditions can cause high cholesterol

To live healthy & happy, one must keep a check on the body’s functioning by going for regular health checkups. This helps in assessing risk factors and diagnosing diseases at an early stage, which will result in effective treatment and better management of the condition.

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