What is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol

By definition cholesterol is a fat found in the blood stream. Cholesterol promotes health in many ways. For example, cholesterol is an essential step in developing your brain, and keeping your skin and other organs healthy. Cholesterol is produced in the liver. However some foods, mostly animal products, can also provide the body with cholesterol.

LDL and HDL

Low density lipoprotien otherwise known as LDL or sometimes referred to as the "bad type of cholesterol" is the type of cholesterol created and produced by the liver. When LDL levels rise and are too high it can cause blockage on the walls of the cardiovascular system, resulting in abnormal blood flow.

High density liporotien many times abbreviated as HDL and considered as the "good type of cholesterol" helps remove the plaque like substance of LDL cholesterol from the arteries and returns it back to the liver. High levels of HDL are ideal, low levels of HDL can require serious medical attention.

Not only the functions of LDL and HDL differentiate, but so do their structures. About fifty percent of an LDL structure is cholesterol and approximately twenty-five percent is protein. However. HDL is almost the complete opposite, with half the weight of an HDL structure consisting of protein and only about twenty percent remaining as cholesterol.

Blood Monitoring

A lipoprotien analysis is a test that measures blood levels of total cholesterol. Total cholesterol consists of LDL, HDL, and also triglycerides. Triglycerides are also a type of fat located in the blood stream, however they are found inside of the cholesterol molecules. Total cholesterol levels are considered ideal at 200mg/dL. LDH levels should range less than 100mg/dL, and HDL levels should range right at 60mg/dL and higher.

Cholesterol Test Results

A cholesterol test will provide you with your total cholesterol levels. Keeping a healthy cholesterol level is a great way to maintain a healthy heart. It limits your risk of being prone to heart attacks, heart disease, and even stroke. According to heart.org,"The American Heart Association recommends all adults age 20 or older have their cholesterol, and other traditional risk factors, checked every four to six years." Cholesterol tests are measured in milligrams per deciliter. The test results will give you the four types of cholesterol, total cholesterol, LDL, HDL, and also triglycerides which are blood fats.

Changing Levels

The first step to changing LDL and HDL levels is a healty diet. A healthy diet should increase HDL levels and decrease LDL levels. Also, physical activity is recommended to raise HDL levels. Limiting the amount of fat intake can also benefit your levels. Lots of saturated fat can increase LDL levels which is a negative result, LDL levels rising is something you want to prevent. About 7% is the required maximum limit of saturated fat a person should inquire a day. Unsaturated fat is the healthiest fat however exceeding the limit of intake could also lead to LDL levels rising. Finally, eating trans fats increases your total risk of having a stroke and developing heart disease, it also rasies LDL levels.