What you don't know could be killing you...
Over 2,100 Americans die every day because of cardiovascular disease, and an average of 1 person every 40 seconds. High cholesterol is one of the major factors of this disease.
What is LDL?
- LDL is a lipoprotein that is responsible for taking cholesterol into cells.
What is HDL?
- HDL is a lipoprotein that is responsible for removing extra cholesterol from the blood stream, and taking it to the liver.
How are LDL and HDL different?
- If you've heard someone say "bad" cholesterol, they're referring to LDL.
- LDL can be referred to as bad cholesterol because it contributes to plaque, a thick substance that can clog arteries, and make them less flexible.
- When you hear "good" cholesterol, it means the HDL.
- HDL is considered a good cholesterol because it helps remove LDL from the arteries.
- LDL contains way less protein than HDL, and a lot more cholesterol than HDL. This causes it to me low-density which gives it the name LDL, and causes HDL to be high-density, giving it the name HDL.
Why should cholesterol levels be monitored?
- High cholesterol is one of the major factors for coronary heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.
- High cholesterol combined with other factors like smoking, high blood pressure, or diabetes increases the risk even further
- High cholesterol usually means that your arteries are clogged up, which is why it needs to be monitored.
How are LDL and HDL associated with heart disease and other disorders?
- HDL is supposed to take LDL away
- LDL contributes to Atherosclerosis
- Atherosclerosis is the condition when your arteries are clogged.
- When the arteries are narrow, it makes heart attacks and strokes very likely.
What other molecules are monitored in the blood stream?
- Glucose is monitored in the blood stream. Diabetes is the condition where glucose levels are not normal.
- Red blood cell count is monitored because if it was not normal it could mean you weren't getting enough oxygen.
- White blood cell count is monitored because if it was not normal it could mean cancer or other diseases.
What do the test results of a cholesterol test mean?
- Total cholesterol is calculated using: HDL+LDL+ 20% of triglyceride levels.
- Having a high HDL number is not bad, it is actually good, because having low HDL is not good for you.
- A low LDL is good, since it is the bad cholesterol.
How can you change the LDL and HDL levels in your blood?
- Lifestyle changes are one of the best ways to reduce high cholesterol.
- In some cases, there is cholesterol-lowering medicine you can take.
- Avoid smoking
- Eat healthier
- Be more active.
- Avoid fats, and foods that contain a lot of fats in them.
How does the intake of fats affect cholesterol levels and overall health?
- The reason why eating unsaturated, saturated, and trans fats affect cholesterol levels is because whenever you eat a lot of fat, your liver produces more cholesterol.
- Too much cholesterol is bad for your overall health, so avoiding eating too many fats, will help lower your cholesterol levels.
By: Alex Solomon