What is Cholesterol?
What is HDL and LDL
HDL stands for High Density Lipoprotein and LDL stands for Low Density Lipoprotein. Both help get cholesterol throughout the body and send the cholesterol to cells and areas of the body that needs it. Cholesterol is a fat like substance, produced in your liver, that helps make hormones, vitamin D and substances that help break down and digest food. With the help of the lipoproteins, the cholesterol is able to travel throughout the body and into cells. Since cholesterol is an important part of the cell membrane, the cell needs cholesterol to keep the membrane strong.
Differences of HDL and LDL
LDL carries cholesterol from liver throughout the body and to cells. HDL picks up remnants of LDL and cholesterol from the arteries.
Monitoring of LDL and HDL
Doctors need to monitor the concentrations of LDL and HDL in a patient's blood because it helps them determine how much cholesterol is in the bloodstream. Not only does it help determine that but it helps the Doctor see whether or not the patient has healthy cholesterol levels and make sure that one cholesterol takes over the amount of the other.
Concentration and Heart Disease
LDL can end up getting stuck in the arteries due it's low density. When the LDL gets stuck, the white blood cells tries to get rid of the LDL but ends up turning it into a waxy toxic substance. Soon enough cholesterol and cells begin collecting at that same area and turning it into plaque. The more plaque build-up there is, the less room red blood cells have to move causing blocked arteries and leading to heart disease. This is why LDL is usually stated as the bad one. HDL's job is to pick up remnants of LDL and cholesterol left in the arteries. However if there is not enough HDL to make up for the amount of LDL, plaque buildup can still occur. The hope of decreasing heart disease is dependent of having low LDL and higher HDL.
Another thing that is monitored in the patient's blood alongside the HDL and LDL levels is the triglyceride levels. Triglycerides are a type of fat that is converted from excess calories from foods. The triglycerides are stored in fat cells and when your body ends up needing the extra calories, hormones release the triglycerides for energy. Triglycerides are needed in providing the energy you need in between meals but too much can cause the arteries to harden and thicken leading to a higher risk of heart disease.
The Cholesterol Test
The cholesterol test is a blood test that measures the amount of cholesterol and triglycerides in your blood. It helps determine how much triglycerides, total cholesterol, LDL and HDL is in the blood . This gives doctors, and patients, a overview and estimate of how well the patient is doing and the likeliness of them getting heart disease.
Changing Cholesterol Levels
Through frequent exercise and a healthy diet change, HDL levels could rise to keep up with the LDL levels. The healthy diet shouldn't include foods with saturated fats but instead foods that can provide HDL cholesterol. The intake of unsaturated fats help raise HDL because they are good fats and provide good cholesterol. Saturated and Trans fat, however, do the exact opposite. Saturated and Trans fat increase LDL and raises heart disease risk.