Cholesterol is widely misunderstood. For instance, did you know that your body not only needs cholesterol, but it also makes it? Cholesterol is a fatlike substance contained in all cells within the body. The body needs and uses cholesterol in the production of things such as hormones and vitamin D.
So if our body needs cholesterol, why does it have such a bad reputation? Now, here’s where things get tricky: the problem with cholesterol isn’t that it’s there, the problem is when it doesn’t leave. So, as you can see, while cholesterol is often a necessary thing, there is such a thing as too much of it in the body.
Still confused about cholesterol? Read on for more cholesterol myths busted and save on select cholesterol tests.
Myth #1: Cholesterol is bad.
As mentioned, cholesterol is produced and used by our bodies. It’s only harmful when it sticks around in the body, literally. It can end up overstaying its welcome by sticking to the arteries of the heart. This can lead to heart disease. Click here to save now on the Walk-In Lab Lipoprotein Cholesterol Blood Test.
Myth #2: All cholesterol is the same.
There is such a thing as “good” and “bad” cholesterol. Cholesterol is carried around the body via LDLs (lowdensity lipoproteins) and HDLs (highdensity lipoproteins). LDL cholesterol tends to be referred to as “bad” cholesterol because high levels of LDLs can cause cholesterol buildup in your arteries and that leads to heart disease.
HDL cholesterol is considered “good” cholesterol because HDLs help your body get rid of cholesterol. (NHLBI.nih.gov). According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, “The higher the level of LDL cholesterol in your blood, the GREATER your chance is of getting heart disease.The higher the level of HDL cholesterol in your blood, the LOWER your chance is of getting heart disease”. This is the reason that it is important to be aware of the levels of HDL and LDLs in your body. Tests such as the Lipid Panel Blood Test and the NMR LipoProfile test exist in order to provide very accurate and lifesaving information regarding LDL levels in the blood. Tests help doctors determine heart disease risk and assess possible treatment.
Myth #3: Dietary cholesterol affects your cholesterol levels.
Previously, it was thought that the more dietary cholesterol one consumed, the more one’s cholesterol levels would raise. Well now experts are saying that this simply isn’t true. According to a statement by the American Heart Association, cholesterol is no longer considered a “nutrient of concern for over-consumption”, meaning that the cholesterol levels in your body are not as affected by the actual cholesterol you eat.
However, diet is still considered an important factor in raising or lowering good and bad cholesterol, just not dietary cholesterol specifically. It turns out that the amount of saturated fats, trans fats, simple sugars and sodium that one consumes affects one’s cholesterol levels more than dietary cholesterol. Specifically the American Heart Association suggests that “adults who need to lower their LDL cholesterol – or ‘bad’ cholesterol – should reduce their saturated and trans fat intake.”
Myth #4: Eating eggs is bad for your cholesterol.
Remember, a mere two years ago, when eating eggs were considered just as bad as smoking? This myth directly ties into the previous one that eating cholesterol is bad for your cholesterol levels. This is false. Eggs, once thought to be a key culprit in contributing to high cholesterol, are no longer the villains we once thought they were. Again, experts are finding that other dietary culprits, such as sodium and saturated fats, actually do affect the cholesterol in our bodies more than dietary cholesterol affects it.
Myth #5: Diet is the most important risk factor for high cholesterol.
According to the American Heart Association, “diet is only one factor affecting LDL cholesterol in the blood.” Other, more significant, risk factors include: “Physical inactivity and being overweight or obese tends to increase bad cholesterol, as does aging.” They also say that high cholesterol can run in families, “Your cholesterol level can be affected by your age, gender, family health history and diet“, so heredity is also a huge risk factor for high cholesterol.
Myth #6: High cholesterol is the only risk factor for heart disease.
Cholesterol does play a big role in heart disease risk. According to the American Heart Association, “As your blood cholesterol rises, so does your risk of coronary heart disease.” However, other risk factors such as smoking, high blood pressure or diabetes can contribute to high risk, as well. They also say that “The greater the level of each risk factor, the more that factor affects your overall risk.”
If you think that high cholesterol, or any of these other risk factors, may put you at risk for heart disease, the VAP Extreme Blood Test Panel, and the information that it can provide, allows your doctor to improve the detection of heart disease risk from about 40 percent to 90 percent. The VAP Test was actually selected as one of “Five Tests Worth Paying for” by The Wall Street Journal.
Knowing more about cholesterol, how it works, and how levels of good and bad cholesterol affect your body, can help you take the right steps in assessing your risk of heart disease. It’s also important to know that some factors, such as diet, smoking, weight and exercise are controllable, while others, such as heredity or aging, are not.
But preventative measures, such as blood panel tests and talking to your doctor about your individual risks, are measures that you can take in order to help prevent the major complications of heart disease such as heart attack and stroke. The key is being aware of your individual risk because everyone is different.
Learn more about the cholesterol tests available from Walk-In Lab. We offer: