What Happens When Your Body Produces Too Much Cholesterol?


Your body produces cholesterol naturally. Many functions in your body rely on having cholesterol to work properly. Brain function, sexual hormones and digestion activity all depend, to some extent, on having enough cholesterol in your body. For years, proponents of low-fat diets have warned that eating significant amounts of saturated fat could lead to an elevated level of cholesterol in your blood, a condition linked to heart disease in some studies. However, the food you eat plays a minor role in your cholesterol levels. Your liver produces the majority of this substance that is present in your body. Hypercholesterolemia is a condition that affects roughly 1.3 million Americans. What is hypercholesterolemia? It is a state of the body in which the liver produces what is considered too much cholesterol.

The Great Cholesterol Debate

While the direct link between cholesterol and heart disease is a hotly debated topic in the medical community, the official opinion of those in authority is that it is a scientific fact. Therefore, those with hypercholesterolemia, or some would say what is pure hypercholesterolemia, will usually receive advice to take cholesterol-lowering medications. Statin drugs were invented in the 1970s but came into their own as a treatment for high cholesterol about the time the opinion of linking cholesterol to heart disease entered into vogue in the 1980s.

Some experts say that anyone with an elevated level of cholesterol should immediately start taking statin drugs. Lowering the cholesterol, they say, will lessen the person’s chance of contracting heart disease. Since heart disease is the number one killer in the country, most people are willing to follow any plan that might reduce their chances of contracting this dreaded condition.

Other experts would argue the fact that high cholesterol levels automatically indicate a greater risk for heart disease. Their perspective is that it is not the high cholesterol alone, but how certain forms of cholesterol behaves when other non-favorable conditions, such as inflammation, are present in the body. They say that lowering the cholesterol level alone does not decrease the chances of heart failure, but can lead to some other harmful side effects in the patient’s body.

Taking Responsibility For Your Health

If you are diagnosed and find yourself asking your doctor, “What is hypercholesterolemia?” keep in mind that his advice will be a knee-jerk prescribing of statin drugs to lower your cholesterol level. Medical school taught him, and he likely believes, that this what is best for you. Some research contradicts the traditional medical view, so you may want to consider all of your options before going along with taking the statins. Reducing inflammation primarily by eliminating sugar from your diet has been shown to lower risk factors completely isolated from cholesterol levels.

So, what is hypercholesterolemia? It is a condition that can kill you if not treated properly. The trouble is, the verdict is still out on what proper treatment for the condition means. It is rarely as simple as taking a pill which is what your doctor might lead you to believe. Lowering the cholesterol level alone might not be enough to help you reduce your risk for heart disease. You may need to consider a combination of lowering your cholesterol, most likely through taking statin drugs, and reducing or eliminating your intake of sugar and other non-beneficial carbohydrates.