MICHAEL ABBEY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MICHAEL ABBEY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Cholesterol. Polarised light micrograph of cholesterol crystals. Cholesterol is a lipid (fat) and is an important constituent of body cells. It is involved in the synthesis of hormones, vitamin D and bile salts and the transport of fat throughout the body. The level of cholesterol in the blood is influenced by diet, heredity and metabolic disorders such as diabetes mellitus. A high level of cholesterol in the blood increases the risk of developing atherosclerosis (fatty deposits on the inner lining of arteries) and with it the risk of coronary artery disease or stroke.
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