High cholesterol is important to understand – what that is and why it is important to keep it under control. Cholesterol a fat like substance is made by your liver. It also comes from some foods you intake and this is then packaged into particles called lipoproteins.
Your body needs cholesterol to make hormones, vitamin D and a substance that helps you digest food, called bile. There are two types o f protein that carry this fatty substance. Low-density lipoprotein or LDL or “bad” cholesterol and high-density lipoprotein or HDL or “good” cholesterol.
LDL travels through your blood stream delivering cholesterol to the cells that need it. If your body has too much LDL, it can build up in the walls of your arteries. LDL and other substances in your artery wall form a fatty deposit called plaque. Overtime, fat can narrow the artery and reduce blood flow. It is LDL which carries cholesterol into the plaque, which is why it is bad.
A common place this plaque can build up is in your coronary arteries which are the blood vessels that feed your heart. This plaque build up causes coronary artery disease and increases your risk of a heart attack.
Plaque build up in other arteries such as the carotid arteries in your neck can reduce blood flow to your brain and can increase the risk of a stroke.
Your liver also makes high density lipoprotein or HDL also known as the “good” cholesterol. HDL helps to remove excess cholesterol from your cells, tissues and the plaque in your blood vessels. This is why HDL is “good”. HDL returns the excess cholesterol to your liver which removes it from your body.
If you have general questions or questions about your medication, speak to your doctor. It is important to take your medications as directed and report any side effects you experience.
Cholesterol and Diabetes
When you have diabetes, having too much glucose also called sugar in your blood, can make it harder for blood to flow around your body. Having high cholesterol or “blood fats”, can make things even worse.
Let’s take a look at how high blood sugars and high cholesterol can cause problems with diabetes. You’ve got blood vessels all over your body and your blood is made up of a lot of individual blood cells. They carry blood to your vital organs like your heart, your kidneys and your brain.
When there is too much sugar in the blood, your blood cells start to get sticky and stick to the inside wall of your blood vessels. The walls of your blood vessels also get sticky and this can cause other things in your blood to stick to the walls as well, like cholesterol, which is a type of fat in the blood and when this fatty material meets the sticky lining caused by high blood sugars, it can start to build up and form a clump. This clump acts like a speed bump for the cells and can stop them flowing through the blood vessel properly.
So, high cholesterol combined with high sugars results in more problems for your blood flow. This means your blood can’t flow to the places it is needed, like your heart and this can lead to problems like heart disease.
You can only reduce your risk of serious complications by taking action to keep your blood sugars and cholesterol at your target level.