Lipids are necessary in maintaining proper health, but too many lipids may increase your risk for developing certain detrimental health conditions. Consider this overview on lipids to learn more.
What are Lipids?
Lipids are naturally-occurring molecules in the body; they include fats, sterols, waxes, monoglycerides, diglycerides, and fat-soluble vitamins, such as Vitamins A, D, K, and E. These molecules provide a number of biological functions, such as maintaining the structural components of cell membranes, signaling and regulating internal-cell communication, and helping store and provide energy. Lipids are also found in food in the form of cholesterol, triacylglycerols, and phospholipids.
Risks of Excess Lipids
While lipids are necessary in order to complete a number of life-sustaining biological processes, an excess of lipids can lead to a number of negative health consequences. For example, high blood cholesterol is one of the main risk factors for cardiovascular disease in addition to smoking and high blood pressure. High cholesterol can also form artery-blocking plaque, which can lead to coronary heart disease and heart attacks. The risks presented by high cholesterol are further compounded by leading a sedentary lifestyle. Foods that contain high levels of cholesterol include eggs, fried foods, high-fat dairy products, certain types of shellfish, red meats, and livers. Some individuals may also be at risk for high cholesterol due to a genetic predisposition.
One of the best ways to identify your risk for excess lipids is to undergo a blood lipid profile screening. Studies show that a total cholesterol level over 249 mg/dl nearly doubles one’s risk for cardiovascular disease over those with a total blood cholesterol level less than 200 mg/dl.
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