What is Cholesterol?

What are LDL and HDL? LDL cholesterol makes up the majority of the body’s cholesterol, HDL cholesterol absorbs cholesterol and carries it back to the liver, which flushes it from the body.

How do LDL and HDL differ structurally and functionally? LDL is about 50% cholesterol and 25% protein, HDL is about 20% cholesterol and 50% protein. LDL takes cholesterol to the rest of the body and HDL takes cholesterol from your heart and other organs to the liver to be disposed of.

Why do doctors monitor the concentrations of LDL and HDL in patients blood?  During a blood test, LDL and HDL are both monitored along with other things because they are used to help evaluate the patient's risk of heart disease

How are the concentrations of LDL and HDL associated with the risk for heart disease and associated disorders?  An excess of LDL can result in plaque buildup on arterial walls which can ultimately result in atheroscerlosis. That is the hardening of the arteries and can lead to heart diseases like a heart attack or stroke. Unlike LDL, higher HDL levels can actually lower the risk of heart disease.

What other molecules in a patients blood are monitored along with LDL and HDL?           - triglycerides                                                                                                                                        - blood sugar level                                                                                                                              - total cholesterol

What do the results of a cholesterol test mean? How do patients interpret each value? In addition to measuring the total cholesterol in your blood, the standard cholesterol test measures three specific kinds of fat LDL , HDL, and Tryglicerides

What can patients do to change the levels of LDL and HDL in their blood? A healthy diet with reduced fat and cholesterol will increase HDL levels and decrease LDL levels. It has been found that physical activity can raise HDL levels 5%. The activity needs to be consistent with at least 30 minutes a day for 5 days a week. An estimated every six pounds that are lost can increase HDL by one and lower LDL by one.

How does intake of unsaturated, saturated, and trans fat affect cholesterol levels and overall health?  For a healthy body, between 20 and 35 percent of your total daily calories should come from fat. With 9 calories per gram of fat, this would equal between 44 and 78 grams total fat per day, based on a 2,000-calorie diet.

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