Cholesterol is a waxy substance, which is found in the blood and in cells. Most of the cholesterol is made by the liver and the rest is made from the food we eat. Cholesterol is passed to the blood in the form of lipoproteins.
Cholesterol Is of Two Types:
- Low-density lipoprotein: It is known as bad cholesterol. It can build up in the arteries and can form plaques.
- High-density lipoprotein: It is known as a good cholesterol. It passes excess cholesterol out of the arteries to the liver, where it is removed from the body.
Cholesterol is required by the body to produce vitamin D, hormones and digestive fluids. It also helps in the proper functioning of body organs. However, excess levels of low-density lipoproteins can be harmful. They can damage the arteries, cause heart disease, and raise the risk of stroke.
Therefore, it is highly important to get your cholesterol checked regularly, so that the risk of many health problems can be minimized. You can make changes in your lifestyle and take the prescribed medicines to control your cholesterol.
Following are impacts of high cholesterol on different organ systems:
- Cardiovascular systems: The high levels of low-density lipoprotein can result in deposits in the arteries. It clogs them and makes them less flexible. The hardening of the arteries is called atherosclerosis. With time, the plaque deposition leads to heart
- Endocrine system: Hormone-producing glands of body use cholesterol to synthesize hormones such as estrogen, and cortisol. These hormones have an effect on the cholesterol levels of the body. The decreased formation of thyroid hormone results in elevated levels of low-density lipoprotein. Excess thyroid hormone causes the opposite effect. Deficiency of growth hormone can increase the levels of low-density
- Nervous system: Cholesterol is a vital part of the human brain. It is important for the development and protection of nerve cells. However, excess cholesterol can cause damaging effects. It can cause strokes, which leads to memory loss, loss of movement, difficulty in swallowing and speech and various other functions.
- Digestive system: Cholesterol is crucial for the formation of bile (substance, which helps the body to break down foods and absorb nutrients from the intestines). However, an excess of cholesterol in the bile forms crystals and then stones in the gallbladder leading to gallstones.