Why is our bad cholesterol bad?
Remind me what cholesterol is again?
Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in the tissues of plants and animals. It’s been likened to soft candle wax.
Our liver makes cholesterol and we also consume it in our diet. Cholesterol has important uses in the human body, such as helping to make vitamin D.
When there’s too much cholesterol in our blood from our diet, it ends up in our blood vessels. This can cause our arteries to become clogged, which is known as atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis can result in heart attacks and strokes.
To read about the getting tested for cholesterol, cholesterol levels and how to lower cholesterol check out this blog.
What is our bad cholesterol?
Our bad cholesterol is called low density lipoprotein, or LDL. LDL is a small molecule that carries cholesterol around the body. The reason LDL is bad for us is because it brings cholesterol to the arteries. And because it is such a small molecule, it gets into the lining of the blood vessels. Over time, this can lead to a buildup of plaque, which can lead to heart attacks and strokes.
What level should our bad cholesterol be?
Our LDL should be less than 3 mmol/L. You can read more about cholesterol levels here!
What raises our bad cholesterol?
Certain foods such as heavily processed foods and excessive saturated fats in your diet can raise your LDL. You can read more about the types of foods that will raise your cholesterol in this blog here.
How to lower cholesterol on a budget
Menopause and Cholesterol
What is the menopause?
The menopause or perimenopause is the time when sex hormones start to decrease in women.
Why is it related to cholesterol?
Our sex hormones start to decrease, specifically oestrogen. Because oestrogen is involved in the regulation of cholesterol, as levels of oestrogen drop, our cholesterol can start to rise as we lose this cardioprotective effect.
How to stay healthy during the menopause
Have a read of Dr. Clióna Murphy’s Lifestyle measures that will help raise your good cholesterol and decrease your bad cholesterol here!