When it comes to heart health, your cholesterol can be viewed as a primary building block in a good, solid foundation. Of course, there are other important factors—like the bricks, beams, and mortar of a home—your diet, if you smoke, your weight management, genetics and other lifestyle choices all contribute to your heart’s healthy working order.
Of course, the body requires a certain amount of cholesterol to work properly, but bodies that host an excess of this fatty substance can develop blockages in the blood vessel walls, which increase the risk for a stroke or heart attack. Here are a few need-to-know facts about your cholesterol…
1. What the Heck is Cholesterol?
Our bodies produce the fatty substance known as cholesterol for hormone production (i.e., estrogen and testosterone) and cellular growth. However, we also get excess cholesterol from many of the foods we eat (i.e., eggs, cheese, meat and poultry).
Our livers store and secret the cholesterol levels in our bodies, delivered via the bloodstream. After a meal, the cholesterol from foods is absorbed by the small intestine, metabolized by the liver, and either stored or secreted. However, the CDC explains that when our cholesterol levels are too high, deposits (or plaque) can form in the arteries, causing narrowing and blockages, which can lead to heart disease.