What is Cholesterol??
Cholesterol is a lipid needed to maintain the proper function of cells and maintain a healthy body.
HDL and LDL are often referred to as good and bad cholesterol, however this is not the case.
LDL AND HDL ARE NOT CHOLESTEROL!!!
HDL and LDL are like transportation vehicles for Cholesterol, where neither one is good nor bad.
It's All About Balance :)
LDL stands for low-density lipoproteins, and it carries the cholesterol to all the cells in the body. The breaking down of LDL is what causes plaque build up in your vessels, HDL stands for high-density lipoprotein, and it takes excess cholesterol from the blood stream to the liver.
An imbalance in LDL and HDL is what's unhealthy. If your LDL (often rfferred to as bad cholesterol) is low, but your HDL (often referred to as good cholesterol) is significantly lower, is causes a problem in the way the system works.
How Do You Test Cholesterol?
When you go to the doctor, they can do a a blood test that will tell them your LDL, HDL, and overall cholesterol levels.
High Cholesterol: What To Do
If you have high cholesterol, it could be due to your lifestyle. To lower your cholesterol, you can eat healthier, and perform more exercise.
Some people are born with a genetic trait called familial hypercholesterolemia, which gives you high cholesterol, even if you live a healthy lifestyle.
Why Do Doctors Monitor LDL and HDL Levels?
Physicians monitor these because the level of concentration of LDL and HDL in the blood help give a picture of your overall health status and to it can also help determine a patients risk for cardiovascular disease.
There is a large connection between Cholesterol and Heart Disease. When there is a high concentration of cholesterol in the blood, plaque begins to build up in the walls of your arteries, causing a process called atherosclerosis, a form of heart disease. The arteries become narrowed and blood flow becomes restricted or completely blocked off.
Why is This an Issue?
Blood carries, and if enough blood and oxygen cannot reach your heart, you may suffer from chest pain; and if the blood supply to the portion of the heart is completely cut off, the result is a heart attack.
Cholesterol blood test also monitor your triglyceride levels. Triglycerides are a type of fat that the body uses to store energy and give energy to other molecules. Only small amounts are found in the blood. Having a high triglyceride level along with high LDL levels increase your risk of heart disease rather than only having high LDL.
High Cholesterol: Now What?
There are many different steps you can take to help lower your cholesterol. If you are over weight, losing weight would help to lower you cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Eating healthy and exercising at least 4 days a week also play a big role in lowering cholesterol. Also an important step to take to lower cholesterol if you are a smoker is to quit smoking.
When Lifestyle Changes Aren't Enough
If lifestyle changes are not affectively lowering your cholesterol levels, your doctor may prescribe a medication. Take this medication as prescribed, however continue making those important healthy lifestyle changes.
You can prevent your cholesterol levels from being higher than normal or by being off balance by living a healthy lifestyle. You can do this by exercising regularly, and eating healthy.