Term: Cholesterol

Description:
Cholesterol is soft, waxy, fat-like, lipidic that is found in the bloodstream and in your cells. This waxy steroid is found in the cell membrane and is produced by the liver. It is also found in food, mostly from food from animals like for example, dairy products, eggs and meat. Many people think that Cholesterol is bad and in excess it is, but we need cholesterol to survive. It is used to produce cell membranes, hormones, certain vitamins and bile that helps digest fat. But when too much cholesterol is found in your bloodstream, this can become a dangerous risk.

When patients have high levels of Cholesterol, they develop lots of diseases and complications. One of which is called coronary hear disease. This happens when cholesterol and fat, also called Plaque, start building in the body's arteries, narrowing the arteries and making it difficult for blood carrying nutrients and oxygen to navigate to and from the heart. This can lead to the hardening of the arteries which is called atherosclerosis which can lead to heart disease. Narrowing of the arteries are also dangerous because when not enough blood carrying oxygen, reaches the heart, the patient may feel chest pains, this is called angina. If not the heart does not get any supply of blood usually caused by a sudden closure of the arteries from a blood clot then a heart attack may occur.


Applications:

Cholesterol, not only helps your body in the prodcution of cell membranes, hormones and certain vitamins, but studying cholesterol and applying them to other studies can help doctors make new discoveries that can help people and their health in the future. Konrad Bloch and Feodor Lynen shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1964 for their discoveries concerning the mechanism and regulation of cholesterol and fatty acid metabolism.

Treatment:
Statins:
The most commonly prescribed medications for lowering cholesterol, block a substance your liver needs to make cholesterol. This includes common drugs like Crestor and Zocor.
Cholesterol absorption inhibitors:
These drugs are relatively new and inhibit the body's ability to absorb dietary cholesterol in the small intestine. Zetia is the most common type of treatment in this category.
Omega-3 fatty acid supplements:

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Web Resources:
http://www.americanheart.org/
http://www.fda.gov/

Related Terminology:
Liver
atherosclerosis
angina

Citations/References:
http://www.webmd.com/cholesterol-management/guide/cholesterol-basics
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cholesterol
http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=3046103
http://www.emedicinehealth.com/high_cholesterol/article_em.htm

Graphics:
external image cholesterol.jpgexternal image 19269.jpg

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