How does cholesterol work?

Specifically, if Grandpa Joe eats a bacon double cheese burger, is he in an immediate danger due to his cholesterol spiking?

I get that there’s plaque build up in the arteries that happens over time. I’m interested to know if there is immediate danger if “Grandpa Joe” eats that burger.

Nope. It’s a long term thing.

Cholesterol is a necessary building block of our body - Cell membranes need it to regulate their fluidity, hormones like oestrogen and testosterone are built from it, and the liver uses it to produce bile acids that help us to digest fat. The cells in our body can synthesize cholesterol, but if we take up enough cholesterol, this endogenous synthesis is regulated down. However, since cholesterol is not water soluble, it is transported together with fat packaged in proteins, so called lipoproteins. Low density lipoproteins (LDL, “bad cholesterol”) transport cholesterol from the gut to the periphery, where it can be taken up by cells. High density lipoproteins (HDL, “good” cholesterol), is being transported from the periphery to the liver, to be converted to bile acid and secreted into the gut. To much cholesterol in the LDL form can be a problem for the blood vessels, as it is strongly associated with cardiovascular disease because it promotes atheroma development in arteries (atherosclerosis)

Yes, cholesterol can spike after a fatty meal and cause damage to blood vessels. From Livestrong “A study published in the “Journal of the American College of Cardiology” in 2006 showed that one meal high in saturated fat diminished the ability of HDL cholesterol to protect arteries from LDL cholesterol and other inflammatory agents within three hours of consumption. These unhealthy effects lasted six hours. The results of a study published in early 2011 in the “American Journal of Physiology: Heart and Circulatory Physiology” showed that a meal high in saturated fat immediately increased triglycerides, which triggered inflammation of blood vessels.”