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Cholesterol ~ [Issue 0200-1]  Wellness Weekly
 Feb 02, 2000 10:14 PST 

Cholesterol is essential for the manufacture of strong cell membranes
and hormones. The body manufactures about 1000 mg of cholesterol
daily. Too much cholesterol can cause fatty plaques on arterial walls
which narrows the artery. This condition is known as atherosclerosis.
The build-up of fat on the vessel walls can occlude (reduce the
inside diameter of the artery) or form "peaks" and in some cases
totally block the flow of blood to organs like the heart. When
atherosclerosis occurs in heart vessels, also known as coronary heart
disease, chest pain and heart attacks can result. The method of
cholesterol transport in the blood separates cholesterol into "good"
and "bad" types.

The harmful type of cholesterol is known as low-density lipoproteins
(or LDL). Lipoprotein is a combination of fat (lipo) and protein.
LDLs are the most common type of cholesterol in your bloodstream and
are known as bad cholesterol because excessive amounts of this
lipoprotein stick to vessel walls forming plaques. High density
lipoproteins (or HDL) are known as good cholesterol because high
levels of HDLs are associated with a reduced risk of heart disease.
HDLs loosen LDLs from vessel walls and transport cholesterol out of
the arteries.

Persons who have abnormally high levels of cholesterol - especially
low-density cholesterol -on a congenital basis can reduce their risk
of heart attack by lowering their blood cholesterol. This is done by
following a diet low in cholesterol and saturated fats, getting
sufficient exercise, and using certain drugs. In 1987, lovastatin,
one of a class of drugs that inhibit cholesterol synthesis, was
approved for sale in the United States. Many similar drugs are now
available. Scientific evidence suggests that quality aerobic exercise
can increase levels of HDLs and that diets rich in soluble fiber like
that found in Colodyne (http://www.aomega.com/ahs/c0188a.htm) and
SlenderLean (http://www.aomega.com/ahs/s1207a.htm) can help to
maintain healthy blood cholesterol levels.

It is interesting to note that cholesterol and its derivatives are
secreted through the oil glands of the skin to act as a lubricant and
protective covering for the hair and skin. Lanolin, a grease
extracted from raw sheep wool and composed largely of cholesterol
esters, has a variety of commercial uses in lubricants, leather
preservatives, ointments, and cosmetics.

The following organizations can provide you with additional
information regarding cholesterol:

1. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute at
http://rover.nhlbi.nih.gov/chd/ provides information about
cholesterol for people with coronary heart disease, including an
explanation of coronary heart disease and a guide to lowering
cholesterol levels.

2. HeartPoint, a commercial site located at
http://www.heartpoint.com/cholesterolmain.html offers a variety of
information about cholesterol and its effects on health.

3. So You Have High Blood Cholesterol? The National Institutes of
Health’s National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute at
http://www.nih.gov/health/syh-hbc/index.htm provides information for
people who have high blood cholesterol, including tips on how to
lower cholesterol levels, a glossary, and a cholesterol-tracking chart.
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