Probably one of the biggest cholesterol myths is that since cholesterol is found in arterial plaque, that it must be to blame for the plaque’s formation.[featured-image single_newwindow=”false” alt=”Cholesterol Myths Busted”]Image from Dollar Photo Club Created in Canva[/featured-image]
We don’t blame the firemen for the fire. Neither do we blame the police for the crime. To do so, would sort of be like blaming cholesterol for the damage we see in the arteries of heart disease victims. Let me explain….
The firemen and the police haven’t cause the problems we find them at. They’re there to address the problem. The same is likely true with cholesterol. Do we see cholesterol present in the plaque that forms in heart disease patients? Sure we do. The question before us is this: “Why is it there?”
In the first post in this series we talked about how cholesterol is a protein molecule that is necessary for the formation of healthy cell membranes. Without the presence of cholesterol, our cells cannot do their jobs, neither can new cells be formed. As such, it is required by the body in relatively high amounts when the body is repairing damaged tissue.
If you were to measure someone’s cholesterol in their normal healthy state, and then again after a serious laceration or wound had been experienced, their cholesterol would naturally rise. Why? because the body would signal the liver to increase cholesterol production in order to meet the demands of creating all the new cells needed to repair the damaged tissue.
Systemic inflammation has been shown to cause countless health issues including heart disease. Through internal and external environmental influences, the walls of our arteries can become inflamed. This damages the tissue.
The body responds appropriately by dispatching cholesterol to the site in order to repair tissue by making new cells. Cholesterol didn’t cause the problem, it is the result of the problem. The problem is arterial inflammation.
Doctors rely almost exclusively on measuring cholesterol as the sole lab test to assess heart disease risks. This is sad because there are far better markers than cholesterol available.
These include: homocysteine levels, C-reactive protein, which incidentally is an excellent measure of systemic inflammation, and triglyceride to HDL ratio.
If this is true,… and it is, then why don’t doctors test for these? Could it be because they don’t have a drug they can prescribe, or a procedure to order that does anything about them? Statins do lower cholesterol. This is why doctors are so focused on it.
So, now we’re getting down to the heart of the matter. (Yes, the pun was intended) If systemic inflammation is the problem, then how do we avoid or reduce inflammation? By practicing a healthy lifestyle. Here are a few suggestions:
I hope this information has been helpful.[Tweet “”Without the presence of cholesterol, our cells cannot do their jobs.” David Sandstrom”]
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