Cholesterol, LDL, and HDL
What is LDL and HDL?
LDL is in your blood streams and helps transport particles of cholesterol while HDL takes the extra cholesterol in the blood stream and returns it to the liver.
How do LDL and HDL differ structurally and functionally?
LDL has a lower density (more cholesterol less protein) while HDL is the opposite. LDL's job is to take cholesterol from the liver and deliver it throughout the body cells. HDL takes cholesterol from the blood stream to the liver to be destroyed.
Why do doctors monitor the concentrations of LDL and HDL in patients' blood?
LDL can build up in the blood stream and from plaque which can lead to heart attacks and strokes so doctors needs to check for a healthy balance.
How are the concentrations of LDL and HDL associated with the risk for heart disease and associated disorders?
Too much LDL and not enough HDL can result in Coronary Artery Disease as well as a decrease of blood supply to the brain and heart which can lead to a heart attack and/or a stroke (pictured above)
What other molecules in a patient's blood are monitored along with LDL and HDL?
Cholesterol and triglycerides are monitored along with LDL and HDL
What do the results of a cholesterol test mean? How do patients interpret each value?
Cholesterol should be about 180mg/dL, HDL should be 40-60, but the higher the better. LDL should be about 100mg/dL or less, any more can put you at risk for heart problems.
What can patients do to change the levels of LDL and HDL in their blood?
Eating healthy, maintaing a healthy weight and exercise all help lower LDL and increase HDL.
How does intake of unsaturated, saturated and trans fats affect cholesterol levels and overall health?
Intaking saturated fats and trans fats increase your overall cholesterol while unsaturated fats will help improve or decrease cholesterol levels. The less cholesterol you have and less LDL, the healthier you would be.
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