Valisure intern Karine Bruce-Doe is a senior at New York University. 

Understanding your cholesterol levels is important because high cholesterol levels can adversely impact cardiovascular health and lead to an increased risk for heart attacks, heart disease, and stroke.

High cholesterol, also known as hypercholesterolemia, is a medical condition in which one has high levels of low-density lipoprotein or total cholesterol in their blood.  Cholesterol is a fat-like material that is insoluble in water and can be found in human and animal cells.

Total cholesterol is a measure of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and triglycerides (Tr). 

In other words:

High-Density Lipoprotein + Low Density Lipoprotein + Triglycerides = Total Cholesterol

High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL)

HDL or “good cholesterol” transports cholesterol away from the heart and to the liver. The liver removes cholesterol from the arteries and excretes it from the body. 

Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL)

LDL or “bad cholesterol” is known for transporting cholesterol towards the heart which can increase the risk of cholesterol buildup in arteries around the heart.

Triglycerides

If Triglyceride levels in the body are too high, the chances of suffering from a stroke or heart disease increase.

The Centers for Disease Control hosts a wealth of content on cholesterol.  Here is an animated image of cholesterol in the body.

Animation of the impact of high cholesterol on the body.
Animation of the impact of high cholesterol on the body.

 

 

 

 

More information on hypercholesterolemia

Approximately 3 million cases of high cholesterol are reported every year in the United States. Diagnoses are made through blood tests. Although the levels of “good cholesterol” are not accounted for in diagnosing the illness, it is still advisable to keep it in a healthy range as it aids in lowering “bad cholesterol” levels. Please follow up with your physician to discuss your cholesterol and normal levels for total cholesterol. 

The Centers for Disease Control hosts a wealth of content on cholesterol. 

More information on High Cholesterol: