By : Julia Muchow
What are LDL and HDL?
HDL (high-density lipoprotein cholesterol): "good" cholesterol
LDL (low-density lipoprotein cholesterol): "bad" cholesterol
How do LDL and HDL differ structurally and functionally?
Structure: both vary in size and shape
HDL - higher amount of protein, lower amount of lipids
LDL - contains more lipids than proteins (bigger)
HDL - takes cholesterol from your heart and other organs to the liver to be disposed of.
LDL - carries cholesterol to different parts of the body.
Why do doctors monitor the concentrations of LDL and HDL in patients' blood?
Too much LDL can clog arteries and can cause a heart attack or stroke.
Monitoring HDL ensures that patients have enough in their blood stream
How are the concentrations of LDL and HDL associated with the risk for heart disease and associated disorders?
When there is a lack of HDL to keep up with LDL, cholesterol starts to build up in the blood vessels; the buildup can cause disease.
What other molecules in a patient's blood are monitored along with LDL and HDL?
- Blood sugar levels
- Total cholesterol
What do the results of a cholesterol test mean?
A high level of LDL means there is a higher risk of heart disease and stroke.
What can patients do to change the levels of LDL and HDL in their blood?
- Healthy diet with reduced fat and cholesterol will increase HDL levels and decrease LDL levels
- Physical activity can raise HDL levels
How does intake of unsaturated, saturated, and trans fats affect cholesterol levels and overall health?
- Unsaturated fats are considered healthier - can lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and raise good cholesterol (HDL)