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Health Information For Teens
Cholesterol (kuh-LES-tuh-rawl) is a fatty substance found in blood.
The liver makes cholesterol for your body. We also get cholesterol from some foods — especially animal products like meat, eggs, butter, cheese, and milk. Many of the foods that have cholesterol are also high in saturated and trans fats. Those two kinds of fat can increase LDL cholesterol.
Foods from plants, like fruit, vegetables, and grains don’t have any cholesterol.
Cholesterol is in every cell of your body. Your body needs cholesterol to make hormones and help your brain, skin, and other organs work the way they should. But too much cholesterol in the blood can clog the arteries that carry blood around your body.
Cholesterol that builds up in a person’s blood vessels over many years could lead to:
Cholesterol can start to build up in childhood and teen years. Doctors can find out what your cholesterol level is by ordering a blood test.
Cholesterol in the blood doesn’t move through the body on its own. It combines with proteins to travel through the bloodstream. Cholesterol and protein traveling together are called lipoproteins.
The two main types of cholesterol are:
LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, or “bad cholesterol.” This type of cholesterol can combine with proteins and other substances in the blood to make plaque. Cholesterol plaques can buildup and cause blood vessels to become stiffer, narrower, or blocked.
HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, or “good cholesterol,” doesn’t clog arteries. HDL cholesterol removes cholesterol from the blood vessels and carries it back to the liver, where it is broken down and removed from the body.
Here’s an easy way to remember which is which: LDL starts with “L” for “lousy.” HDL starts with “H” for “healthy.”
High levels of LDL cholesterol and low levels of HDL cholesterol increase a person’s risk of having heart disease.
If a blood test shows you have high cholesterol, talk to your doctor. He or she can give you advice on what you can do to lower your cholesterol — like eating less fried food and choosing low-fat or fat-free milk, cheese, and yogurt, and exercising more.
Here are 5 things you can do:
People with high cholesterol might need to take medicine to if these lifestyle changes don’t lower their cholesterol.
Visit our nutrition and fitness center for teens to get information and advice on food, exercise, and sports.
Finding it hard to fit in fitness? Try these simple exercises for teens.
A couple of pounds of extra body fat are not a health risk for most people. But when people are severely overweight, it can cause health problems.
The heart and circulatory system (also called the cardiovascular system) make up the network that delivers blood to the body’s tissues.
Lots of people are unhappy with their present weight, but aren’t sure how to change it – or even if they need to. Get the facts on weight loss here.
From all you hear, you’d think fat and calories are really bad for you, but we all need a certain amount of them in our diets. Find out the truth about fat and calories.
You don’t need to be a dietitian to figure out how to make healthy food choices. Before grabbing a shopping cart and heading for the aisles, read this article to make grocery shopping a snap.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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