Cholesterol is a fatty substance that naturally occurs in the human body. Cholesterol is a part of the cell membranes and help with proper cell function. Cholesterol in the blood stream is also normal, but too much cholesterol poses health problems. Dietary cholesterol comes from primarily from animal proteins and animal by products such as dairy.
There are two types of cholesterol. There is LDL, the good cholesterol, and the HDL, the bad cholesterol. The two types of cholesterol create the total cholesterol count in the human body. When a person has high cholesterol they are more likely to develop heart disease and other issues that cause poor health.
High cholesterol will build up in the blood stream, as the liver can only process so much cholesterol at a time and the average American diet is high in cholesterol. When the blood vessels become blocked, heart attacks occur.
The problem with high cholesterol is that most of the time symptoms do not exist. Many times the first symptom someone has of high cholesterol is a heart attack or a stroke. While there are not symptoms of high cholesterol there are risks that exist which predispose someone to the likelihood that they have high cholesterol. The risk factors of high cholesterol include a diet that includes large amounts of processed and fatty foods, large intake of dairy products, smoking, obesity and lack of exercise.
It is likely that a person has high cholesterol if they have symptoms of heart disease. Symptoms of heart disease include shortness of breath, sweating, weakness, heart palpitations and fast heart rate. Cholesterol can cause heart disease and it can make existing tendencies towards heart disease worse.
Science shows a direct link between high fat diets and an increase in the amount of LDL cholesterol levels. Diets that include large amounts of fatty animal proteins such as bacon and dairy products lead to high levels of cholesterol in most people. Lack of exercise is also a factor in developing high cholesterol. Exercise helps lower LDL levels and raises levels of HDL, plus exercise can help with weight loss and being overweight is a factor, which contributes to high cholesterol.
When it comes to other contributing factors such as family history of heart disease, it is important to know who in the family suffered from heart disease. If a patient has a family history of heart disease they are far more likely to develop the condition themselves and high cholesterol is a contributing factor to heart disease. In addition to family history, women who have gone through menopause and/or are over the age of 55 are likely to have higher LDL levels, as are men over the age of 45.