Cholesterol And Triglycerides
Not unlike triglycerides, cholesterol itself is also a lipid which serves important functions like hormone and cell membrane construction. Although the liver is primarily responsible for cholesterol production, the intestine is known to produce a portion of the total as well. Cholesterol is necessary for the production of vitamin D, steroid hormones and the acids found in the bile. It can therefore be observed that cholesterol is an absolutely vital component for human beings (and animals) to survive. However, the first thing that comes to mind on hearing the term cholesterol is heart disease as it is indeed associated with serious cardiac diseases like atherosclerosis. This lipoprotein often accumulates within the arteries in the form of thick plaque, thus causing the arterial walls to become narrow. What happens is that at one point of time, the blood vessels become so clogged with this plaque that a heart attack becomes imminent due to a sudden blood clot. Nonetheless, one must be aware that atherosclerosis is caused only by Low Density Lipoproteins or LDL cholesterols, otherwise known as “bad cholesterol”. The High Density Lipoproteins or HDL cholesterols are on the contrary, beneficial to the heart. A high HDL level would lower LDL levels naturally since HDL removes LDL from arteries and everywhere else, thus improving blood circulation to and from the heart. This is why it is known as “good cholesterol” and high levels of HDL cholesterol is interpreted as sign of a healthy heart.
Now, the main relationship between cholesterol and triglycerides is the fact that triglycerides are used to make HDL and LDL cholesterol molecules. Triglyceride, protein and cholesterol are processed by the liver and the intestine to produce various types of lipoproteins (HDL, LDL, VLDL etc) which are collectively known as cholesterol. It has been medically established that people who usually live on a diet that is rich in triglycerides, have a high level of blood cholesterol for obvious reasons. It is for this reason that patients are advised by medical practitioners to avoid diets rich in saturated fat especially. Too much blood triglycerides itself is harmful for one’s heart as well as reason for a host of other medical issues like diabetes, fatty lever, pancreatitis, liver disease and kidney disease to name a few. In addition to its unique harmful effects, elevated triglycerides are associated with elevated LDL cholesterol levels as well. Unfortunately, high triglyceride is also associated with relatively low HDL counts and thus the combination of high LDL cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood stream is a sign of impending life threatening diseases. In order to keep one’s LDL cholesterol levels below the danger mark, one must at first keep a check on his/her triglyceride levels. It is generally agreeable to keep the LDL levels below 100 mg/dL, but even lower than 70 mg/dL is better, especially for heart patients. In case of HDL however, the more the better and therefore anything below 50 mg/dL is not good for one’s health. To control the harmful cholesterol levels, the blood triglycerides should not cross the 150 mg/dL mark, but it is ideal if it is kept below 100 mg/dL.