Serum Cholesterol Levels

Serum cholesterol refers to the level of cholesterol, which is found in blood stream. This substance occurs as a soft and waxy material within the blood and body cells. Not all cholesterol is bad as there is the so-called ‘good cholesterol’ and the ‘bad cholesterol’. Cholesterol helps in cell membranes, physiological processes, and synthesis of hormones and steroids. There are different forms of cholesterol found in cells and blood and the measure of the serum or blood cholesterol encompasses all these various types of the substance. In essence, some of the cholesterol types are beneficial and others are not.

Function of serum cholesterol

The body collects serum cholesterol from the food people eat and it is stored in the liver. It is estimated that about 70 to 90 percent of the serum cholesterol that is found in blood is derived from the liver, which is the storage organ for this chemical substance in body. Cholesterol substance in the key molecule in the formation of hormones and steroids in body.

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The total measurement of the amount of cholesterol in body is referred to as the serum cholesterol and it is done by simple blood test. It is assumed that the desirable or normal cholesterol level in body is about 200mg per deciliter of blood. Serum cholesterol helps in physiological processes such as the maintenance of nerve system.

Types of serum cholesterol

Cholesterol is transported in blood through a medium called lipoprotein. A lipoprotein is a carrier or transport molecule, which constricts of proteins and lipids. The center of the lipoprotein is made up of the lipids or fats and the outer surface consists of phospholipids, cholesterol, and apoproteins. The lipoprotein forms the basis for the transportation of the cholesterol in body.

There are ideally two forms of cholesterol and they are low-density lipoproteins and high-density lipoprotein. The low-density lipoprotein- LDL is regarded as the ‘bad cholesterol’. This low-density lipoprotein collects the cholesterols and other lipids and moves them from the liver to the cells for cell functions. However, the problem is that the LDL cholesterols is scattered and deposited on walls of arteries as the substance travels in blood vessels.

The body responds to such deposit of cholesterol by sending white blood cells to clean up the lodged cholesterol. What happens is that a bump builds up and forms plaque that is made up of the cholesterol, debris, and dead cells. If the surface of the plaque raptures, it can easily lead to formation of blood clots something that increases the risk of heart attack. Therefore, the level of low-density lipoproteins in body should be reduced significantly.

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High-density lipoproteins or HDLs are the good cholesterol. The HDL carried cholesterol in the opposite direction. That is, from the cells and arteries to the liver. LDL carried the cholesterol from liver to the cells and arteries. There is reduced formation of plaque with the HDL. This is why higher levels of HDL are recommended. The HDL helps in removing cholesterol that may cause plaques, blockage, and arterial problems and takes it back to the liver. Therefore, higher levels of HDL minimize the risks of heart attack. The HDL and LDL move in opposite directions.

How to measure serum cholesterol levels

A cholesterol test is known as lipid profile or lipid panel and during the test, a person is asked to fast for about 12 hours. During this time of fasting, one may be allowed to drink water. A blood sample is taken and is examined under microscope. When the reading shows that you have serum cholesterol of below 200 milligrams per deciliter of blood or (200mg/dl), it means that you have a low risk of suffering coronary heart disease.

The 200mg/dl is the optimal serum cholesterol reading where a person is considered to have low risks of heart disease. When the reading is between 200 and 239mg/dl, this is regarded as borderline or medium risks level. In this range of serum cholesterol, the balance of the HDLs and LDLs has to be measured. A person may be recommended to change from lifestyles, which cause increased bad cholesterol.

Moreover, if the reading is 240mg/dl and above, it means that the person has twice the chances of suffering coronary heart disease when compared to those individuals with reading below 200mg/dl. In this case, the doctors considers you for treatment and changes in lifestyle to prevent heart diseases.

 Causes and symptoms of increased serum cholesterol

There are different causes of increased serum cholesterol in body and one is taking animal derived foods, which are noted to have high cholesterol. Some of these foods include cheese, mayonnaise, ice cream, milk cream, and red meat. Diseases such as diabetes mellitus are also linked with increased serum cholesterol.

Some inherited disorders, which cause the cholesterol not to be metabolized sufficiently, may also increase the cholesterol level in blood. Another condition is obesity. Usually there are no visible symptoms for an increase in serum cholesterol in body. Therefore, medical diagnosis is needed to detected elevated levels of serum cholesterol. It is recommended that you have regular check up of the level of serum cholesterol to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

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