Cholesterol is a waxy fat like substance that is made in your liver and can also be obtained from food. Having high levels of cholesterol can be very harmful to your health
There are 2 lipoproteins that carry cholesterol HDL and LDL. LDL is considered "Bad" because it is responsible for the build up of plaque in the arteries which clogs them. HDl is considered good Because it removes the LDL from the arteries to prevent it from clotting.
The differences between LDL and HDL are that 50% of LDL is composed of cholesterol and 25% is protein in HDL the opposite is true. Also LDL gets cholesterol to the cells throughout the body while HDL removes LDL from the walls of the arteries to prevent the buildup of plaque.
LDL brings cholesterol to the cells in your body through your bloodstream clogging your arteries while HDL Delivers it back to the Liver.
Optimal cholesterol level is 180 mg, doctors monitor the HDL and LDL levels to see how healthy you are and check your risk for heart disease, a heart attack or stroke. Having HDL levels too low will cause heart disease while high LDL will clog arteries and cause a heart attack.
Besides LDL and HDL, Triglycerides are another molecule monitored by doctors. Being the most common type of fat in the body it varies based on age and sex but high levels of this fat along With LDL can cause atherosclerosis, heart disease and stroke.
The results of a cholesterol test tell you how much cholesterol is in your blood. An optimal cholesterol level for a person would be less than 180mg, optimal LDL is less than 100 optimal HDL is higher than 60.
The most obvious way to change you LDL and HDL is to eat a healthier diet. Avoiding junk food and fatty meats will lower your LDL. While eating avocados, nuts, and fish will raise your HDL.
A diet high in saturated, and trans fats will increase your LDL which will put you at risk for many health problems such as high blood pressure diabetes and heart failure. While more unsaturated fat will increase HDL and reduce risk of heart disease.