Cholesterol is a kind of fat-like substance produced by our body. Some foods also contain cholesterol as an ingredient. There are two types of cholesterol and those are High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL) and Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL). These are also known as bad cholesterol and good cholesterol respectively. It is necessary to know what bad cholesterol is and what are its effects on the human body.
What is Bad Cholesterol?
Most people think that cholesterol is bad for health. However, the fact is that cholesterol is not bad at all. It is a kind of essential fat that our body cells need. Then, what is bad cholesterol?
Generally, our body develops some cholesterol from the food we take and it is our liver that develops the rest of the cholesterol. Cholesterol is the kind of fat that cannot be dissolved in the blood. So, blood carries cholesterol wherever it goes. LDL is called bad cholesterol because the blood carries the cholesterol to the arteries and it becomes a part of plaque which can get deposited on the inner side of arteries and can clog the arteries.
LDL is called bad cholesterol since it builds up the cholesterol level in the arteries whereas HDL is called good cholesterol since it carries the cholesterol from various parts of the body to the liver which ultimately removes the cholesterol from the body.
What are the Effects of Bad Cholesterol on the Human Body?
When discussing what is bad cholesterol it is equally important to know the effects of bad cholesterol on the human body.
LDL can cause dangerous accumulation of cholesterol on the walls of the arteries. Due to this deposit over time, the arterial passage narrows and the flow of blood gets reduced. This reduction in blood flow in the arteries can cause serious health complications such as the following:
Coronary Heart Disease: One of the main effects of bad cholesterol in the human body is the increased risk of Coronary Heart Disease (CHD). When the blood vessel narrows down due to the accumulation of low-density lipoprotein, the blood cannot flow to the heart properly and that results in angina i.e., chest pain. When the blood vessel gets blocked completely due to plaque, the blood is not able to flow to the heart and this may cause a heart attack leading to the death of the person. Studies suggest that bad cholesterol increases the risk of cardiovascular events, depending on the other risk factors.1
Stroke as an Effect of Bad Cholesterol: When the blood vessel responsible for carrying the oxygen and other essential nutrients from various parts of the body to the brain gets blocked due to plaque stroke occurs to the person.
Peripheral Arterial Disease: Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is a disease in which the fatty deposit gets build up in the walls of the artery. This affects the flow of blood circulation especially to the arteries supplying the legs and feet. Apart from that, it can also affect the arteries of the kidneys.
Type 2 Diabetes: The level of triglycerides increases in people having Type 2 diabetes due to bad cholesterol. This too is one of the major effects of bad cholesterol on the human body. Type 2 diabetes can upset the balance that exists between good cholesterol and bad cholesterol. The particles of bad cholesterol get stuck to the arteries, which can damage the wall of the blood vessels more easily. The sugarcoated bad cholesterol that remains in the blood may also lead to the formation of plaque.
High Blood Pressure as an Effect of Bad Cholesterol in the Human Body: It is said that high blood pressure and high cholesterol are linked to each other. Due to bad cholesterol, the arteries become hardened and the blood vessel becomes narrowed. As a result of this, the heart finds it difficult to pump out the blood and the blood pressure normally becomes high.
Thus, bad cholesterol has a very harmful effect on our health and it is very essential to lower the bad cholesterol in our body. Now that you are aware of what bad cholesterol is and its effects on the human body, you can plan a healthy diet and lifestyle routine for yourself. It is important to consume foods that are low in saturated fats, cholesterol, and carbs. It is also essential to take more fibers and plant sterols in the diet. Apart from that, regular exercise can also help to lower the amount of bad cholesterol. Moreover, it is important to avoid smoking and alcohol as well to reduce bad cholesterol which can bring serious consequences to our health.