The rapid increase in the size of the heart
disease problem over the last few years has resulted in a growing awareness of
the seriousness of the problem and the need for people to take steps to control
the risk of cardiac
disease. Among the number of factors and medical terms that relate to heart conditions arecholesterol and triglycerides.
They are both lipids (fats) that are in the blood and high levels of either cause
heart and circulation problems. Because they are both fats people often think
of them as being the same thing, which is incorrect. They are different in the
functions they perform and knowing about the difference is important to understanding what they do and how they affect
The main difference between cholesterol and
triglycerides is that cholesterol is used
to build cells in the body and to help in the production of certain hormones. In other words, cholesterol is one of the
many building blocks that work to build and replenish the body. Triglycerides
are burned by the metabolism to create the energy the body requires to function.
Cholesterol builds the body while triglycerides are consumed to give it energy.
Both cholesterol and triglycerides are produced by the body. However, while the
body is able to produce all the cholesterol it needs on its own, this is not
the case with triglycerides. The creation of triglycerides is supplemented by
the food that we consume.
Among the hormones that cholesterol helps
to produce are those related to sex drive and activity. In males, this hormone is known as testosterone.
In the cases of females, there are 2 hormones
– estrogen and progesterone. Cholesterol also aids in the production of cortisol,
a hormone that helps in the control of stress levels in both men and women. Cholesterol,
when combined with the sunlight the skin is exposed to, builds vitamin D. It
also aids in the production of bile which is used by the digestive system to
digest fats and absorb vitamins A, D, E and K.
Triglycerides are produced in the liver
from the basic elements of fatty acids and glucose. A chain of glucose called
glycerol is built. 3 fatty acids then attach themselves to these chains which
are known as triglycerides. Triglycerides are stored in either the liver or in
the muscles. When the body requires energy, the triglycerides are broken down
to produce it. Left over fatty acids are carried back to the liver by the blood
where they once again attached to the glycerol chains to become triglycerides.
While the role of cholesterol as a
contributing factor to heart disease is well known, the exact relationship
between high triglyceride levels of cardiac
conditions is still being studied. What is known is that high triglyceride
levels are associated with high blood pressure, obesity
and diabetes, all of which lead to heart
Regular checks to monitor the levels of
cholesterol and triglycerides are important as high levels of either lead to
various cardiac and circulation issues. Contact the cardiology
department of a reputed specialty hospital to have your cholesterol and
triglyceride levels monitored along with other factors that could affect your
heart. If problems exist, early detection is a key factor in the speed and
completeness of the treatment and cure.