Cholesterol, LDL, and HDL
By: Madison Solomon
What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is the most essential steroid in the body. It forms many essential things the body needs, such as Vitamin D, and bile acids. Too much though, will clog arteries and prevent enough blood from getting to your heart, and essential places in your body. Which could result in a heart attack, or stoke.
There is good and bad cholesterol
Cholesterol is only bad when there's too much. It causes problems to the arteries. But just the perfect amount is essential for maintaining cell membranes, and synthesizing hormones. Too much cholesterol will clog your arteries and vessels, making the chance for heart disease to go up.
How do you test Cholesterol?
Doctors will take a blood test to measure your HDL, LDL, and triglycerides. They can tell you whether your cholesterol is high or low. The results will show the cholesterol in milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). The goal is for the total cholesterol to be 180 mg/dL. You want Low LDL and high HDL.
What if your cholesterol is high?
The first step you can take is changing your diet, and give your LDL less fatty molecules to carry to your cells. Less unhealthy foods, more healthy, friendly ones.
Eat foods such as, walnuts, fish, or oatmeal.
In relation to HDL and LDL, if there isn't enough HDL to get rid of the LDL then cholesterol will build up in the blood vessels, causing heart disease.
- Eating saturated fats causes a higher risk for heat disease, unsaturated is best
- Avoid unsaturated and trans fats because it puts tension on your arteries, they also raise your cholesterol levels.
What is all tested?
In a cholesterol test, they test...
- Total cholesterol (180mg/dL, 200-239mg/dL = borderline high, 240mg/dL = high, )
- LDL (100 mg/dL = ideal)
- HDL (60mg/dL = good/normal, under 40mg/dL = low)
- Triglycerides (less than 150mg/dL = normal, 150-199mg/dL = Mildly high, 200-499mg/dL = high, 500+mg/dL = very high)
What is LDL?
- LDL stands for Low-Density Lipoproteins. LDL carries cholesterol to all the cells in your body. Although, when it isn't needed, it floats around in your blood stream. Because of this it's known as the "bad cholesterol."
- LDL builds up in the artery walls and forms plaque
-It increases your risk of heart disease, by reducing blood flow
-It has more lipids than it does proteins
- The goal is 100 mg/dL, 106-189 mg/dL and higher is too is high
LDL is like a elementary school bus, carrying the different aged children to their different schools.
HDL stands for High-density lipoproteins. HDL removes to bad cholesterol from where it doesn't belong. It picks up extra cholesterol from the tissues and vessels, and delivers to other tissues and vessels, then finally with the extra cholesterol is carries it to the liver to break it down. This is why it's considered the "good cholesterol."
- HDL Contains more proteins than lipids
- Lower risk for heart disease
- 40 mg/dL can reduce the risk of heart disease
- Over 60 mg/dL is good, less than 40 mg/dL is too low
LDL and HDL are not cholesterol
HDL is like a police officer catching the bad criminals, and removing them from the streets.
Why monitor LDL and HDL?
You and your doctor monitor your LDL because too much of it can cause clogged arteries, heart attacks, and stokes. Due to the lack of blood flow and oxygen. HDL is monitored because doctors need to make sure there's enough if your blood stream.
What's the different between them?
HDL is said to be the "good guy" because it removes the bad cholesterol from your cells, and keeps it from clogging your arteries.
LDL is known to be the "bad guy" because by bringing cholesterol to the cells, it could possibly start to clog your arteries. Making the risk for cardiovascular disease higher.