Good And Bad Cholesterol Explained
Cholesterol which is also known as a lipid is a waxy substance produced in the liver and is naturally circulated in the blood. Cholesterol may increase from the foods we eat.
All of us are born with cholesterol naturally circulating in our bodies and we require a certain level of cholesterol to live a healthy life, in saying that, not all types of cholesterol are created equally, which is why it is important to know the difference between good and bad cholesterol.
Lets talk about good cholesterol, bad cholesterol and the differences between each type of cholesterol.
How To Lower Cholesterol: Know Your Fats
The American Heart Association recommends that just 25% to 35% of your daily calories come from fats such as those found in fish, nuts, and vegetable oils. For healthy people, saturated fat should comprise no more than 7% of your total calories. On a 2,000 calorie-a-day diet, that’s about 140 calories worth of saturated fat. If you need to lower your LDL cholesterol, limit saturated fat to 5% to 6% of calories, or about 11 to 13 grams of saturated fat on a 2,000-calorie diet. Reduce trans fats to less than 1% of your total daily calories. This means avoiding fried foods and many junk foods.
Cholesterol Good And Bad
0:03 How the body uses cholesterol and how it can be good
0:22 How cholesterol can lead to plaques, atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease
0:52 Heart attack, coronary arteries
0:59 Stroke, carotid arteries, brain arteries
1:06 Peripheral artery disease
1:28 Bad cholesterol: LDL or low-density lipoprotein
1:41 Good cholesterol: HDL or high-density lipoprotein
2:13 Ways to prevent cholesterol related cardiovascular disease
2:43 National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
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How Is Bad Cholesterol Measured
Bad cholesterol or LDL is generally measured in milligrams per decilitre or millimoles per litre via a blood test.
Bad cholesterol or LDL cholesterol generally makes up a larger proportion of your total cholesterol levels.
As mentioned, cholesterol tests generally measure good cholesterol as a percentage of total cholesterol. Additionally, cholesterol tests will generally measure total triglycerides, total cholesterol and bad cholesterol .
The acceptable bad cholesterol levels very from person to person, this can depend on age, family history and personal history of heart issues.
What Foods Help Lower Ldl Cholesterol
A heart-healthy diet that is high in fiber and plant-based foods can help lower total and LDL cholesterol levels. Mainly vegetarian or vegan diets have been shown to reduce cholesterol levels and the risk of blocked arteries. Foods that can help lower LDL cholesterol include:
If diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes are not enough to lower your cholesterol to healthy ranges, then your doctor may prescribe medication. The type of cholesterol lowering medication depends upon your levels of LDL, HDL, and triglycerides and any current medications you are currently taking, and your overall health.
Medication options to reduce cholesterol include statins, niacin, and fibric acid agents . Your doctor may prescribe one or several types of these drugs to reduce your cholesterol levels to a healthy range.
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Hdl Vs Ldl Cholesterol
HDL cholesterol contains a higher proportion of protein and is made up of substances that dont lead to plaque buildup in your arteries. High-density cholesterol also carries LDL cholesterol away from the arteries back to the liver, where its broken down and eliminated from the body.
On the other hand, LDL cholesterol has a higher cholesterol and lower protein composition. When theres an excess of LDL cholesterol from consuming a diet high in calories and fat, excess LDL cholesterol seeps through artery walls and oxidizes .
When oxidation occurs, macrophages consume the oxidized LDL cholesterol in the artery wall and die, leading to inflammation in the artery walls. The body is then triggered to block the increasing macrophage by creating tissue in the artery walls called plaque, resulting in atherosclerosis.
Hdl And Ldl Cholesterol By The Numbers
A lipid panel is a blood test that shows your total cholesterol levels. In addition to tracking HDL and LDL levels, it’s important to keep an eye on triglyceride levels. High triglyceride levels also put you at a higher risk of heart disease.
Although a lipid test can be done with or without fasting, you are more likely to get accurate results by fasting, especially if your triglycerides are going to be measured. This means you can have nothing but water for nine to 12 hours before the test.
Optimal HDL levels are 40 milligrams per deciliter for adult men and 50 mg/dL for adult women, although HDL levels that are consistently above 60 mg/dL are associated with a precipitous decrease in your heart disease risk.
Optimal LDL levels are below 100 mg/dL for both adult men and adult women.
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What Does Good Cholesterol Do
Good cholesterol helps to protect against damage to the arteries and blockage known as atherosclerosis. Good cholesterol plays an integral role in ensuring healthy and balanced cholesterol levels.
Different types of cholesterol travel through the blood via proteins. High density lipoproteins carry out their role by attaching themselves to excess/harmful cholesterol and bringing it to the liver, where it will be filtered and expelled from the body.
In simpler terms, good cholesterol is often referred to as such because it removes more harmful types of cholesterol from the blood, lowering your risk of heart related conditions such as heart disease and stroke.
Are Ldl Good Or Bad
This is a question our experts keep getting from time to time. Now, we have got the complete detailed explanation and answer for everyone, who is interested!
Asked by: Johnnie Okuneva
LDL , sometimes called bad cholesterol, makes up most of your body’s cholesterol. High levels of LDL cholesterol raise your risk for heart disease and stroke.
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What Are Healthy Hdl Cholesterol Levels
Healthy HDL cholesterol levels are different for men and women. Young boys and girls have similar HDL levels, but in boys, HDL levels fall after puberty and remain lower throughout their lives.
- For women, HDL levels above 1.2mmol/L are thought to be healthy.
- For men, HDL levels above 1.1mmol/L are thought to be healthy.
HEART UKs specialists believe that HDL is at its most protective at around 1.3-1.4mmol/L, and higher levels might not offer any extra protection.
Note that if you have high LDL cholesterol and your doctor is considering treatment to lower it, high HDL levels are not a reason to avoid treatment.
Find out your HDL cholesterol levels with a simple cholesterol test
Becoming More Physically Active
A sedentary lifestyle lowers HDL cholesterol. Less HDL means theres less good cholesterol to remove bad cholesterol from your arteries.
Physical activity is important. At least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise a week is enough to lower both cholesterol and high blood pressure. And you have lots of options: brisk walking, swimming, bicycling or even yard work can fit the bill.
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Cholesterol Chart For Adults
Your doctor may recommend a plan of treatment for high cholesterol that includes lifestyle modifications and potentially medication. This will vary based on factors like other medications you may be taking, your age, sex, and general health.
Here are some medications more commonly prescribed for high cholesterol:
- Statins.Statins lower the LDL cholesterol levels by slowing the production of cholesterol by the liver.
- Bile acid sequestrants.Bile acid sequestrants are substances used in digestion. These resins can reduce cholesterol levels in the blood by binding to bile acids and removing them, forcing the body to break down LDL cholesterol to create bile acids instead.
- Cholesterol absorption inhibitors.Cholesterol absorption inhibitors can block the absorption of cholesterol from the diet, sometimes in conjunction with statins.
- Bempedoic acid.Bempedoic acid helps to stop an enzyme in the liver, ATP citrate lyase, from making cholesterol. This drug is often combined with statins for increased benefit for those with familial hypercholesterolemia, an inherited condition that can cause early heart disease.
- PCSK9 inhibitors. Also used frequently with familial hypercholesterolemia, PCSK9 inhibitors, which are injected drugs, help the liver absorb and remove more LDL cholesterol from the blood.
Medications can also be used to treat contributing factors to cholesterol like triglycerides. These may be used in addition to some of the medications above.
How Is An Hdl Cholesterol Test Different From A Lipid Panel
A lipid panel always includes a measurement of HDL cholesterol, but HDL cholesterol levels can be tested without doing a full lipid panel.
A standard lipid panel measures total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and triglycerides. It then uses those measurements to calculate the amount of LDL cholesterol.
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What Are Good Levels For The Hdl Cholesterol
- HDL cholesterol levels greater than 60 milligrams per deciliter are high. That’s good.
- HDL cholesterol levels less than 40 mg/dL are low. That’s not so good.
In general, people with high HDL are at lower risk for heart disease. People with low HDL are at higher risk.
What Is Cholesterol
Cholesterol is a waxy substance a bit like fat. It travels around your body through your bloodstream, in packages called lipoproteins. These packages are made of fat on the outside and protein on the inside .
Sometimes, these lipoproteins can leave cholesterol in your arteries, which contributes to the build-up of plaque in your arteries and increases your risk of heart disease and stroke.
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How To Get Tested
There are several different ways that HDL cholesterol levels can be tested.
Your doctor may prescribe a laboratory test, which requires taking a blood sample from a vein in your arm in a medical office or hospital.
Some clinics, doctors offices, pharmacies, and events like health fairs also offer on-site cholesterol testing. Known as point-of-care testing, this test analyzes a drop of blood that comes from pricking your fingertip with a very small needle.
Myth: I Would Be Able To Feel It If I Had High Cholesterol
Fact: High cholesterol usually has no signs or symptoms. You may not know you have unhealthy cholesterol levels until it is too latewhen you have a heart attack or stroke. Thats why its so important to get your cholesterol levels checked at least every 5 years.1,2 Learn more about getting your cholesterol checked.
Occasionally, some people develop yellowish growths on their skin called xanthomas, which are cholesterol-rich deposits. People with xanthomas may have high cholesterol levels.
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What Are The Main Roles Of Hdl Cholesterol
HDL cholesterol has a protective role against diseases of the heart and blood vessels such as heart attacks and strokes. The cholesterol itself is a fat, so its not the cholesterol that is protective, but the HDL lipoprotein as a whole.
HDL has three main effects
Whats Your Cholesterol Level Anyway
A standard lipid blood test usually measures the concentration of total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and triglycerides levels. The LDL-cholesterol level is typically estimated from these numbers using a well-established formula that has been more recently revised and improved by researchers at Johns Hopkins.
So what are your target numbers? According to Michos, an ideal LDL cholesterol level should be less than 70 mg/dl, and a womans HDL cholesterol level ideally should be close to 50 mg/dl. Triglycerides should be less than 150 mg/dl. As Michos notes, total cholesterol levels well below 200 mg/dl are best.
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/7it Is Difficult To Lower Cholesterol Level
No. Everything is difficult and impossible until one tries. Health experts have seen tremendous changes in patients who had once been diagnosed having high cholesterol.
In order to stop the deposition of the cholesterol in the blood vessels one needs to make sure these harmful elements do not enter the body and whatever goes inside is removed properly.
For this, one has to make changes in dietary habits. Stop consuming saturated fats and meat products and include healthy oils to food. Fruits and fiber rich foods should be eaten more.
What Are The Types Of Cholesterol
Cholesterol moves throughout the body carried by lipoproteins in the blood. These lipoproteins include:
- Low-density lipoprotein is one of the two main lipoproteins. LDL is often called the bad cholesterol.
- High-density lipoprotein is the other main lipoprotein. HDL is often called the good cholesterol.
- Very-low-density lipoproteins are particles in the blood that carry triglycerides.
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What Affects Cholesterol Levels
There are a variety of factors that can affect cholesterol levels. Some risk factors are within your control, while others are not:
- Genetics: These factors include familial hypercholesterolemia and a family history of heart disease.
- Sex: Males often have higher levels of LDL. After menopause, a woman’s LDL levels can also increase.
- Weight: People who are overweight or obese are at increased risk of having high cholesterol.
- Sedentary lifestyle: Lack of physical activity can increase the risk of overweight and obesity and, in turn, increase cholesterol levels.
- Diet: Overall diet quality can affect cholesterol in a negative way, including eating too many saturated and trans fats and not enough fiber.
- Age: Your body’s ability to clear cholesterol can be impacted as you age.
- Race and ethnicity: There are different rates of high cholesterol based on race/ethnicity and sex, with the highest rates among males in Hispanics and the highest rates among females in non-Hispanic Whites.
- Smoking: Smoking can increase your bad cholesterol and lower your good cholesterol.
- Other medical conditions: Having a previous history of high cholesterol, heart disease, or diabetes can increase your risk of developing high cholesterol.
What Are Some Things That Can Affect My Cholesterol Levels
There are a variety of factors that can affect your cholesterol. While some things are unavoidable like age and family history, making heart-healthy lifestyle changes such as balanced meal plans, regular exercise, and weight management goes a long way to improving your long-term health, said Chiadika.
- Diet Foods rich in saturated fat or trans fat have the biggest impact on your blood cholesterol levels. Consider healthier options to help reduce intake of these types of fats.
- Obesity Being overweight raises your triglycerides levels and lowers your HDL. Try to exercise for at least 30 minutes regularly.
- Smoking This not only lowers your HDL level but also raises your LDL level. Eliminate this habit or look into a smoking cessation program.
- Age Cholesterol levels tend to rise as we age. Although less common, children and teens can also have high levels as well.
- Family history High cholesterol can run in families. In most cases, children with high cholesterol have a parent who also has elevated levels of cholesterol.
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How Is High Cholesterol Diagnosed
You cant tell if you have high cholesterol without having it checked. A simple blood test will reveal your cholesterol level.
Men 35 years of age and older and women 45 years of age and older should have their cholesterol checked. Men and women 20 years of age and older who have risk factors for heart disease should have their cholesterol checked. Teens may need to be checked if they are taking certain medicines or have a strong family history of high cholesterol. Ask your doctor how often you should have your cholesterol checked.
Risk factors for heart disease include:
- Cigarette smoking.
- Having an immediate family member who has had heart disease.
- Being overweight or obese.
What Is The Best Drink To Lower Cholesterol
Best drinks to improve cholesterol
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Hdl Versus Ldl Cholesterol
There are two main types of cholesterol: high-density lipoprotein and low-density lipoprotein . Lipoproteins are made of fat and proteins. Cholesterol moves through your body while inside lipoproteins.
HDL is known as good cholesterol because it transports cholesterol to your liver to be expelled from your body. HDL helps rid your body of excess cholesterol so its less likely to end up in your arteries.
LDL is called bad cholesterol because it takes cholesterol to your arteries, where it may collect in artery walls. Too much cholesterol in your arteries may lead to a buildup of plaque known as atherosclerosis. This can increase the risk of blood clots in your arteries. If a blood clot breaks away and blocks an artery in your heart or brain, you may have a stroke or heart attack.
Plaque buildup may also reduce blood flow and oxygen to major organs. Oxygen deprivation to your organs or arteries may lead to kidney disease or peripheral arterial disease, in addition to a heart attack or stroke.
Centers for Disease Control , over 31 percent of Americans have high LDL cholesterol. You may not even know it because high cholesterol doesnt cause noticeable symptoms.
The only way to find out if your cholesterol is high is through a blood test that measures cholesterol in milligrams per deciliter of blood . When you get your cholesterol numbers checked, youll receive results for:
To treat high cholesterol, doctors often recommend these lifestyle changes: