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What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is an essential part of every cell structure in the human body. It is needed for proper brain and nerve function and is the basis for the manufacture of sex hormones, bile salts and Vitamin D. Cholesterol levels are greatly influenced by diet, but they are also affected by your genetic makeup.
Why test cholesterol levels?
Although cholesterol is important and necessary for the body, high levels of cholesterol in the blood have been linked to damage to arteries and cardiovascular disease.
A high blood cholesterol level, especially elevated low-density Lipoproteins (LDL) is considered to be a contributing factor to plaque build-up in the arteries and impeded blood flow to the heart, brain, kidneys, genitals and extremities.
Coronary heart disease results when cholesterol is deposited inside the walls of the heart's coronary arteries, the main suppliers of oxygen to the heart. There it contributes to the formation of fatty, blockages called plaque. This build-up of plaque is known as arteriosclerosis, hardening of the arteries, and atherosclerosis.
Cholesterol can also be deposited in other arteries in the body, where it may contribute to the occurrence of stroke (from blocked arteries in the brain) and peripheral vascular disease (from arterial blockage in the legs).
High cholesterol levels may also be implicated in gallstones, impotence, mental impairment and high blood pressure.
Foods high in saturated fats and trans fats increase cholesterol levels in the body. Regular exercise, a high fibre, alkaline diet and nutrient supplementation may lower cholesterol levels in the body.
How is cholesterol tested?
At Nature Cures, Naturopath Kathryn Arnel offers Point of Care Diagnostic fasting and random Cholesterol testing. A small sample of blood is taken and assessed for Cholesterol levels.