LDL and HDL. Know the difference

There is a misconception about LDL and HDL, LDL is not bad and HDL is not good. Both lipoproteins are there to balance each other.

- LDL is responsible for transporting cholesterol to the cells. Too much of it and it can create blockage in the arteries.

- HDL is responsible for removing excess cholesterol from the blood stream and transporting it to the liver.

The best way to change their LDL and HDL level is through diet and exercise. Monitoring fat and cholesterol found in food will allow for change in LDL and HDL.

LDL's structure and function differer from HDL's. Approximately 50 percent of the weight of an LDL particle is cholesterol and only 25 percent is protein. HDL, on the other hand, consist of 20 percent cholesterol by weight and 50 percent protein. Functionally LDL transports cholesterol to where it is needed in cells whereas HDL transports excess cholesterol into the liver for storage.

Unsaturated fats to help reduce LDL which lowers the risk of heart disease and strokes.

Saturated fats will raise the level of cholesterol in the blood.

Trans fats raises LDL because it it slightly hydrogenated and lowers the HDL

Physicians monitor these HDL and LDL because their levels in the blood help doctors to evaluate a person’s health status and to determine whether a person is at risk for cardiovascular disease. Too much LDL can harden the arteries and cause strokes or heart attacks.

When taking a lipoprotein profile, doctors test for the levels of HDL, LDL and Triglycerides.

When looking at a lipoprotein profile you need to know what to look at. Your total blood cholesterol should ideally be less than 180 mg/dL. Anything higher is considered a risk. When looking at the LDL levels anything above 190 mg/dL represents a high risk for heart disease and may need to create a lifestyle change. Anything below 190 mg/dL your doctor will recommend a percentage change to lower your LDL to help the health of your heart and blood vessels. With HDL the lower the number, 40 mg/dL or lower, are very high risk. The higher the number means a lower risk because HDL takes the cholesterol and moves it to your liver preventing cholesterol from building up in the blood.

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