How Exercise Reduces Cholesterol Levels, Heart Attacks, And Strokes | Mukaila Kareem, DPT | RxEconsult

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How Exercise Improves Cholesterol Levels And Heart Disease Risk Category: Cholesterol by - October 27, 2015 | Views: 45744 | Likes: 0 | Comment: 7  

Cholesterol Transport

Cholesterol is a lipid and, therefore, does not dissolve in water. Therefore, it needs a carrier or “shield” for successful transportation in the water-soluble blood environment. This is achieved by specialized transport particles called lipoproteins. There are 6 types of lipoproteins but for the purpose of this article, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) are the specialized particles responsible for cholesterol transport that will be discussed. 

The liver is the powerhouse in cholesterol metabolism and is largely responsible for its production, storage and the only organ for its elimination. In a two-way traffic, LDL particles deliver cholesterol to all parts of the body where it is needed while HDL particles remove excess cholesterol from peripheral tissues back to the liver for excretion or recycling. The process of cholesterol removal from other tissues back to the liver is called reverse cholesterol transport.

Clinical Implications Of High Cholesterol Levels

Plasma LDL-cholesterol can rise significantly with age, diet, and as well as genetic defects. A study indicated that plasma LDL-cholesterol can increase by about 40% between 20 and 60 years of age. Adult western diets contain between 30% and 40% of fats and the substantial amount of saturated fats in these diets may contribute to increased plasma LDL-cholesterol. With high plasma LDL-cholesterol concentrations, some LDL-cholesterol will attract and bind with immune cells in the arterial wall causing plaque and narrowing of blood vessels. For this singular reason, LDL-cholesterol is notoriously called the “bad cholesterol”. In fact, the clogging of coronary arteries supplying the heart muscles causes heart attacks and has caused more death and disability than all types of cancers combined! This does not include the incidence of ischemic strokes (brain attacks) that occur from reduced blood flow to the brain primarily related to “bad cholesterol”. According to the CDC, more than 73 million adults have high LDL-cholesterol and only about 30% have it under control. Every year, about 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States.

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