Cholesterol is a type of lipid which has the CPPP (cylcopentanoperhydrophenanthrene), as its basic nucleus. It is the most significant sterol and is the general component of steroid hormones. Steroid hormones include estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. These steroid hormones are very important in the development of secondary sexual characteristics.
Cholesterol has basically two general types: the bad cholesterol which is Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) and good cholesterol which is High Density Lipoprotien (HDL). The bad cholesterol, as the name implies, is the unhealthy cholesterol. Its elevation indicates that the person has a high risk toward Myocardial Infarction (MI) and Coronary Heart Diseases (CHD). While an increase in the good cholesterol, will lessen the risk.
The reason why LDL is considered the bad fat is because of its component and action. LDL enhances deposition of lipid plaques in the blood vessels while HDL decreases the accumulation of lipid in arterial walls.
The accumulation of lipids will cause the blood vessels to harden and this would result to atherosclerosis or arteriosclerosis (lipids in arterioles).Because of decreased blood pathway, blood pressure would increase which when aggravated could lead to cerebrovascular accidents (CVA) and ischemic attacks and cerebral hemorrhage.
LDL is also composed of more lipid than protein content. It is therefore less in density than HDL. Because of this property it remains more or less at the point of origin in electrophoresis. The increased lipid content makes it more detrimental to the health.
On the other hand, HDL has more protein than lipid content. This makes it the denser of the two and hence, moves the fastest and the farthest in electrophoresis.
The other types include Very Low Density Lipoprotein (VLDL), Intermediate Density Lipoprotein (IDL) and chylomicrons (the lightest) which are under lipoproteins.
LDL could be taken from foods like meat fat, dairy products, and Trans fats (mostly from fast foods). HDL can be derived from fish and vegetable oils.
Their ingestion could be a vital factor in the maintenance of the proper ratio of the two types; that is why the doctor advises you to refrain from meat fat when you have the propensity for heart attack (MI) or stroke (CVA).
Fish and vegetable oils are however, encouraged because the body needs these good cholesterol. One example of fish oil is cod liver oil and tuna oil, while vegetable oils are those from veggies like soya and many others.
It is best that we should be aware of these types of cholesterol so that we would be able to maintain good health by controlling our intake of unhealthy foods.