Cholesterol is an elementary component of the cell membrane and fulfills important protective functions. The fat-like substance has other functions. This produces bile acid in the liver, which is important for fat digestion. It is also involved in hormone production and the production of vitamin D. In order to transport cholesterol to the required places in the body, these dock onto proteins. A distinction is made between low density lipoprotein (LDL) and high density lipoprotein (HDL). LDL supplies the cells with the necessary fats. If there is too much LDL in the body, fat molecules can accumulate on the walls of the vessels and thus obstruct the blood flow. The HDL picks up excess cholesterol from the cells and takes it to the liver, where it can be broken down.
Cholesterol levels that are too high in the blood are associated with numerous diseases. The higher the LDL and the lower the HDL, the greater the risk of arterial calcification, the so-called arteriosclerosis. Initial circulatory disorders can develop into peripheral arterial disease (PAD) or coronary artery disease (CAD) with occlusion of one or more coronary arteries, so that an insufficient blood supply to the heart muscle is no longer guaranteed. In the worst case, there is a risk of a heart attack or stroke, which can be fatal without emergency medical help or lead to severe impairments and further health effects. (vb)
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