Jun 28, 2014
Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) The bad Cholesterol.
Cholesterol comes in various forms. They are not all bad news and some in fact are essential for the manufacture of various vitamins and hormones including testosterone. Chief among cholesterols are the so-called high and low-density lipoproteins. Of these two the low-density lipoprotein is the baddy.
The low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is bad news because it is that which is laid down on the lining of your arteries as a plaque. This condition is known as arteriosclerosis and it can give rise to clot formation which in turn gives rise to heart attack and stroke. Arterial disease of this kind is a major source of morbidity and mortality as we get older. It has a strong familial connection and is accelerated by cigarette smoking.
High-density lipoproteins (HDL) on the other hand are considered “good” because they have the capacity to carry LDL away from the arterial lining to the liver where it is rendered harmless. HDL can be thought of as a scavenger keeping your arteries healthy.
Diet and Cholesterol.
With each passing decade experts seem to change their minds about what we should or should not eat in order to have a long and healthy life. Twenty years ago for example we were being told that the consumption of more than three eggs a week was positively hazardous. Today we are reliably informed that eggs are good for us. The same is true of butter. This natural product enjoyed for hundred of years by our ancestors is now again enjoying some respectability and increased sales.
Epidemiological studies will inform us that excess is bad. People who consume great quantise of fatty and fried food, as they do in N. Ireland and Scotland, do not enjoy the same life expectancy as their continental cohorts consuming red wine, olives and tomatoes. As in all things it may just be a question of some moderation and common sense.
Blood testing for Cholesterol.
It is important I think to realise that the treatment of supposedly high cholesterol is a multinational business worth many billions of dollars annually. Some healthy scepticism therefore may be appropriate particularly as there is no evidence that this massive expenditure does anything at all to increase mankind’s life span or happiness on this earth. This is uniquely so when spent on people with no personal or family history of heart disease.
If you however do have a strong family history of heart disease or you have had a heart attack or you have other risk factors like raised blood pressure, gross obesity or diabetes; then you will need to have your cholesterol checked from time to time and you will need to reduce your fat intake and probably also take cholesterol lowering drugs such as the Statins.
How we can help you.
If you have had recent cholesterol check and you are wondering if the results warrant your taking medication to lower it then we can advise you about this and help you decide. We would be happy to hear from you.