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State the chemical composition of the sterol that is present in high levels in most...

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stargsd5 | Student, College Freshman | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted November 15, 2012 at 11:37 PM via web

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State the chemical composition of the sterol that is present in high levels in most people who belong to the high risk group.  Distinguish between the good and bad forms of the sterol.

A middle age man has been diagnosed with being at high risk of developing coronary artery disease.

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ncchemist | eNotes Employee

Posted November 16, 2012 at 12:58 AM (Answer #1)

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You can only ask one question at a time so I edited down accordingly.  People at high risk for coronary artery disease have various risk factors including poor diet, smoking, and family history.  One major risk factor is elevated levels of cholesterol.  Chemically, cholesterol is a fatty steroid alcohol.  Like other steroids, it has four fused ring systems (three six membered rings and one five membered ring) called the A, B, C, and D rings.  The B ring has a double bond, and A ring has a hydroxyl group (alcohol), and the D ring contains an aliphatic hydrocarbon chain.

Since cholesterol is very non-polar, it solubility in water in minimal.  This means that its solubility in blood is also minimal.  As a result, cholesterol is transported through the bloodstream by lipoproteins, polymers that contain lipids (fats) and proteins.  The density of these lipoproteins determines the amount of cholesterol that they can carry.  LDL (low density lipoprotein) carries a higher percentage of cholesterol while HDL (high density lipoprotein) carries a smaller percentage.  So HDL in considered the good cholesterol and LDL the bad cholesterol.  But the actual cholesterol itself in the lipoproteins is the same no matter the density level.  Chemically there is no difference between the two.

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