Cholesterol: What you need to know? Cholesterol is a type of lipid. It is synthesized by all animal cells and is an essential structural component of animal cell membranes.
High cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. A high LDL (bad) cholesterol or low HDL (good) cholesterol along with other substances, such as fat and calcium, build-ups within the artery walls, which can lead to complications including heart attack and stroke.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that in 2015–2016, 12% of American adults aged 20 years or older had high cholesterol.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), increased cholesterol levels are responsible for 2.6 million deaths each year.
Low-density lipoprotein (LDL), also called the "bad" cholesterol, carries cholesterol from the liver to cells. High levels of LDL cholesterol in the bloodstream increase the health problems like a heart attack or stroke.
High-density lipoprotein (HDL), often referred to as “good” cholesterol, transports cholesterol back to the liver. Its healthy level may protect against heart attack and stroke.
“The only ‘symptoms’ cholesterol can be associated with would be the late symptoms, when the excessive cholesterol accumulation is responsible for heart and blood vessel damage and blockage. This causes chest pain (angina), heart attack, or even sudden death,” – Dr. Robert Greenfield said.
“There are also factors that you cannot modify and which can contribute to high cholesterol, like your age and your genetics,” Greenfield continued.