Fats vary in functions. It can be a source of energy and provide necessary roles for cellular functioning. However, it can also increase the risk of cardiovascular ailments wherein the affected parts are the heart and blood vessels. Fats that cause these threats include saturated fats, trans fatty acids, and cholesterol.
Types of Fat
Saturated fats are primarily of animal origin. They are usually solid at room temperature. Trans fatty acids increases low density lipoprotein (LDL) and decreases high density lipoprotein (HDL), thus raising the chance to develop heart disease. Likewise, cholesterol is a fat soluble compound manufactured by the liver. It is primarily found in animals and other dietary sources. Increase in its levels is found to be associated with coronary heart diseases.
The quantity of fats in the body is measured by a laboratory test called lipid profile. This test will gauge the levels of triglycerides, very low density lipoprotein (VLDL), low density lipoprotein (LDL), and high density lipoprotein. Triglycerides show most of the dietary fat, and they are stored as adipose tissue in the body. VLDL reflects the transport of triglycerides from the liver to the body tissues. Its normal serum level ranges from 51 – 197 mg/dL. HDLs, sometimes referred to as good cholesterol, are proteins found in the plasma that carry fats in the blood towards the tissues or liver for excretion. Lastly, the “bad cholesterol” is the LDL, which is also a plasma protein. Its components include triglycerides, and it functions to carry cholesterol to the cells. The normal level ranges from 35 – 70 mg/dL. Any increase in its level precipitates the risk for cardiac diseases. In addition, LDL carries cholesterol to arterial wall of the blood vessels. Increased cholesterol deposits in blood vessels can form a plaque, which then results to narrowing of its lumen. It impedes the normal blood flow and may cause an increase in heart’s pumping to allow passage of blood. Blood pressure rises as a result of increasing pressure applied by the blood against the walls of blood vessels. Incidents of heart disease may then occur.
It is important to maintain cholesterol level within normal limits. Proper selection of foods can be a big help. One should limit intake of unhealthy fats – trans fats like snack and fried foods, as well as bakery goods, saturated fats from animal sources, and cholesterol such as eggs, seafood, and meats.