Cholesterol is a lipidic, waxy alcohol found in the cell membranes and transported in the blood plasma of all animals.
A white crystalline substance, C27H45OH, found in animal tissues and various foods, that is normally synthesized by the liver and is important as a constituent of cell membranes and a precursor to steroid hormones. Its level in the bloodstream can influence the pathogenesis of certain conditions, such as the development of atherosclerotic plaque and coronary artery disease.
Having high cholesterol is a health no no. Overtime that view has changed some. It's the balance between the good and bad that's important. Then very recently inflammation has become an important factor. From USA Today:
A landmark study offers the strongest evidence yet that simmering, painless inflammation deep within the body is the single most powerful trigger of heart attacks, worse even than high cholesterol.
Armed with all this fun knowledge I went off and had my cholesterol checked last week. Here are the number I got back.
My total cholesterol is 228 (the last test 229) which is considered to be borderline high. That is until you take into account how the number break down. The LDL which is the bad stuff is at 142 (last test 154). The HDL which is the good stuff 70 (last time 61). HDL above 60 greatly reduces your risk of heart disease. I also had an inflammation test. The average is between 1-3 mine was .91.
My doctor said just keep doing what I was doing. Almost of all this comes from working out. Next year my goal is to really and truly get my diet into line. I think the numbers will change even more dramatically. For some more perspective on all of this in the middle of 2007 my LDL was 145 (not much change from now) and my HDL was 45 (a huge change from a year and a half ago).