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Cholesterol Facts

Organic chemical substance classified as waxy steroid of fat

  • Cholesterol is an essential structural component of mammalian cell membranes.
  • It is required to establish proper membrane permeability and fluidity.
  • It is almost completely absent among prokaryotes such as Bacteria.
  • François Poulletier de la Salle first identified cholesterol in solid form in gallstones in 1769.
  • In 1815 chemist Eugène Chevreul named the compound "cholesterine".
  • Low-density lipoproteins (LDLs) carry cholesterol to the tissues. This is "bad" cholesterol, since high LDL levels are linked to increased risk for heart disease.
  • High-density lipoproteins (HDLs) carry excess cholesterol back to the liver, which processes and excretes the cholesterol. HDLs are "good" cholesterol.
  • 71 million American adults (33.5%) have high LDL and is bad.
  • Only 1 out of every 3 adults with high LDL cholesterol has the condition under control.
  • Less than half of adults with high LDL cholesterol get treatment.
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