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What is Cholesterol?

What is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a waxy substance that comes from two sources: your body and food.

What is Cholesterol

• A natural fatty substance that is made by the liver and also found in foods such as meat, dairy and eggs.
• It plays a vital role in the formation of cells and production of vitamin D, hormones and bile for digestion
• There are 3 different cholesterol units of measurement across Europe

Total cholesterol

5 mmol/L =200 mg/dl = 2 g/L healthy adult
4 mmol/L = 155 mg/dl = 1.5 g/L high risk

Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL)

LDL 115 mg/dl or 3 mmol/L or 1.2 g/L (healthy adults)
LDL 80 mg/dl or 2 mmol/L or 0.8 g/L (those at high risk

High Density

Lipoprotein (HDL) 1 mmol/L = 40 mg/dl = 0.4 g/L

High Levels of Bad (LDL) Cholesterol Grows Plaques Good Cholesterol (HDL) Can Remove Cholesterol

Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL)

Also called bad cholesterol is mostly made in the liver and is carried to cells of the body. As levels build up in the blood these particles can build up in the walls of the blood vessels starting the process to build up a plaque and narrow the blood vessels in the heart

High Density Lipoprotein (HDL)

Also called good cholesterol removes excess cholesterol from the body by carrying it to the liver and sending it out of the body through the gastrointestinal tract

Heart Disease & Cholesterol

• Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death in Europe and is responsible for 4 million deaths, which represents 47% of all deaths in Europe
• 2.6 million of those dying from a heart attack have a high blood cholesterol level

Cholesterol: the WHO numbers

• 133.3 million people in the five biggest European countries (Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the UK) have high blood cholesterol
• 10% reduction of blood cholesterol levels results in 50% reduction in heart disease in men of 40 years old in the next 5 years and a 20% risk reduction in those who are 70 years old
• High cholesterol is not only an issue for older or overweight people. Smoking, drinking alcohol, a
sedentary lifestyle, or an unhealthy diet can also a part*

* Source: World Health Organization. Global status report on non-communicable diseases 2014.

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