Home Editor's Pick Afraid of cholesterol? It’s also our friend, says top doctor

Afraid of cholesterol? It’s also our friend, says top doctor

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Cholesterol, a necessary molecule used to maintain the structure of cells in the body, is avoided by many people because they consider it dangerous and unhealthy.

But the substance is only dangerous in high doses, according to Elisabeth Steinhagen-Thiessen, a top endocrinology doctor.

It is recommended that healthy people consume “no more than 300 milligrams of cholesterol a day.” Problems arise when someone takes in between 600 to 800 milligrams.

eggs-cholestrol

Foods high in fat, like butter, meat, eggs and sausages, have large amounts of cholesterol; an egg can have up to 250 milligrams. (File photo credit: “Kai Remmers / dpa”.)

Foods high in fat, like butter, meat, eggs and sausages, have large amounts of cholesterol; an egg can have up to 250 milligrams.

Too much cholesterol can lead to deposits building up along the walls of the arteries, a process known as atherosclerosis. This build-up narrows the arteries and can slow down the flow of blood to the heart, increasing a person’s risk of a heart attack or stroke.

When loads become too high, doctors will often suggest statins, a medication that can lower cholesterol, in addition to exercise and a diet low in saturated fats, says the doctor, who is professor of endocrinology at the Charite university hospital in Berlin.

-dpa

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