What is Cholesterol?

By: Audrey Vendetti

What does LDL and HDL mean?

Low Density Lipoportien, also known as LDL, is a term used to describe "bad" cholesterol; It collects in the walls of your blood vessels where it can cause blockages and increase your risk of heart disease.

High Density Lipoprotein, also know as HDL, is a term used to describe the "good" cholesterol; it flows through your bloodstream and removes all the LDL from where it doesn't belong. Having a good supply of HDL will lower your risks of heart disease.

Comparing the structures.

Structures: LDL consists of 20% protein and 50% cholesterol. On the other hand, HDL is the complete opposite consisting of 50% protein and 20% cholesterol.

Why do doctors monitor concentrations in LDL and HDL in patients' blood?

- Doctors monitor levels of low density lipoproteins and high density lipoproteins to evaluate their risks of heart disease.

-While monitoring the levels of HDL and LDL, doctors will also monitor your total cholesterol and triglycerides.

- High concentrations of LDL can cause plaque build up on arterial walls which can result in atherosclerosis, the hardening of arteries, which increases your chances of a srtoke or heart attack.

- High concentrations of HDL lower the chances of heart disease by cleaning up the blood streams, collecting the LDL, and recycling it by carrying it back to the liver.

Other molecules

While doctors monitor for HDL and LDL they also monitor:

-total cholesterol &


Triglyceride is known as another type of fat in the bloodstream.

What do the test results mean?

Total cholesterol levels:

- desirable: below 200 mg/dL

- borderline high risk: 200-239 mg/dL

-high risk: 240 mg/dL and above


- high risk: less than 40 mg/dL


-normal: less than 150 mg/dL

-borderline high risk: 150-199 mg/dL

-high risk: 200-499 mg/dL

-very high risk: above 500 mg/dL


-high risk: 190 mg/dL and above

-desirable/ borderline risk: below 189 mg/dL

How do you change the LDL and HDL levels?

You can easily alter daily routines to help benefit your health. Some examples are:

- If you smoke try reducing the amount but ultimately try to quit.

- Exercise, try to be active on most days and maintain a healthy weight

- Try to eliminate trans fats

-eat foods low in cholesterol; nuts, fish, olive oil/ coconut oil, fiber, oats, chocolate, spinach, and avocado.

-Try to reduce all stress factors.

Saturated, Unsaturated and Trans fats

Unsaturated: This is known as the healthy fat that your body needs. Eating foods that have more unsaturated fats can help lower blood pressure, regulate irregular heartbeats, and lower risks for type 2 diabetes.

Saturated: This type of fat is really unhealthy it increases your risks of type 2 diabetes and increases your LDL levels that can lead to future heart disease.

Trans fats: This is the most unhealthiest fat. It increases you LDL and decreases your HDL levels which can greater increase the risk of heart disease. Also, trans fats can affect the chances of type 2 diabetes and can elevate the risks of inflammation in the body.


- Sfgate. (n.d.). How Fats Affect Your Body. Retrieved March 15, 2016, from http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/fats-affect-body-3440.html

- Cholesterol Tests: Understand Your Results. (2005-2016). Retrieved March 15, 2016, from http://www.webmd.com/cholesterol-management/cholesterol-tests-understand-your-results