How Your Cholesterol Levels Impact Overall Health

To many people, cholesterol is just another number. Most don’t really stop to consider what the number means for their health.

Today, we are outlining some of the ways that cholesterol affects your health overall.

Cholesterol & Your Health

Heart Health

When your LDL cholesterol levels are too high, some of the LDL gets absorbed into arterial walls. There, it can be an irritant that causes bodily inflammation. As a result, white blood cells enter artery walls and begin taking in fat particles as attempted damage control.

This makes fatty deposits build up in blood vessels, causing them to stiffen and narrow. This can prevent oxygen flow to your limbs and brain. And since the arteries covering your heart are most prone to clogging, when your cholesterol levels are high, you’re at greater risk for heart problems ranging from chest pain to heart attack.

Stroke Risk

Per the National Stroke Association, high cholesterol can raise stoke risk. This is partially because it increases heart disease risk, and this is a stroke risk factor. As plaque builds up in the arteries, blood flow to the brain is inhibited, upping stroke risk.

Two key lipoproteins, high- (HDL) and low-density lipoproteins (LDL) directly impact cholesterol levels. LDL are typically called “bad” cholesterol, as they carry cholesterol into the blood and tissues and then the body stores it. This cholesterol causes plaque to build up and clog arteries, which then makes the arteries narrow and become blocked. This can cause a stroke.

HDL actually carries cholesterol from tissues to the liver, which filters cholesterol from the body. Higher HDL levels offer protection against stroke.

Cholesterol & Cognition

Did you know that cholesterol is actually key to brain function? It contributes to synaptic plasticity, signaling, memory, and learning function. Although the brain is only 2-3% of your body weight, 25% of your body’s cholesterol is actually in the brain. One study published in Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews found that elderly individuals with higher levels of cholesterol actually had the best memory, while lower cholesterol increased risk of depression and death.

Another study found that cholesterol levels may correlate with an individual’s likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s. Amyloid plaques are substances that are formed in the brain due to buildup of the beat-amyloid protein. Researchers from the University of California found that high LDL cholesterol levels and low HDL levels were linked with higher amyloid volumes, which in turn contributes to Alzheimer’s.

 

Know Your Cholesterol

Clearly, it’s important to be aware of your cholesterol levels so that you can improve them and thus improve your overall health. ARCpoint Labs nationwide enable you to get your cholesterol levels tested without insurance, a doctor’s orders, or an appointment! Just find your nearest location today to get tested.

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