Cholesterol Essay

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Everybody knows somebody that has had a heart attack or heart disease. These days most people can say that someone in their family has heart disease, which is the leading cause of heart attacks. In the United States alone 11.3% of the population has been diagnosed with heart disease. Heart disease is often caused by unbalanced cholesterol levels. In maintaining a heathy life style a person should have a firm understanding of cholesterol and how it effects your body’s health and functionality (Heart Disease, 2014). Lipids have diverse structures and functions. They are not soluble in water, but in organic solvents – ether, acetone and other liquids. They include fats, phospholipids, steroids, and waxes. Fats consist of three fatty acids and glycerol. Triglycerides are either solids or liquids. Solids are fats, while liquids are oils. Fatty acids have a long carbon chain ending with a carboxyl group. Fatty acids are saturated or unsaturated. The purpose of fats is to store energy, protect organs, absorb shock, and insulate the body. Phospholipids consist of two fatty acids, a glycerol unit, a phosphate group, and a polar molecule. While the phosphate and polar are attracted to water, the fatty acid is repelled. Phospholipids are a big part of cell membranes that enclose the cytoplasm, as well as other parts of a cell. Steroids consist of a carbon backbone that has four fused structures. Steroids are cholesterol, cortisone, and sex hormones – progesterone, estrogen, and testosterone. Waxes have an ester of a long alcohol chain and fatty acid. Earwax consists of phospholipids and cholesterol esters. Plants and animals may have a wax coating. Some other functions that lipids perform are to enclose cells and compartments, regulate cell activities, and to protect against dryness. The body cannot produce essential fatty acids (EFA’s). These acids are linoleic (Omega 6)

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