The only test you want a low score on :)
LDL and HDL
HDL stands for HIgh-Density lipoproteins
How do they differ?
- Structurally, they differ in their compositions. LDL particles are 50% cholesterol and 25% protein. Whereas, HDL is made of 20% cholesterol and 50% protein. Protein is more dense than fat which explains why HDL particles are more dense. LDL also contains B-100 proteins. HDL particles have A-I and A-II proteins.
- They also differ functionally. They both transport cholesterol throughout the blood, but LDL brings cholesterol to cells throughout the body and can cause cholesterol build up in the arteries. In opposition, HDL carries cholesterol away from the heart and other organs and delivers it back to the liver where it is passed from the body.
Why should LDL and HDL be monitored?
Cholesterol and Heart Disease
What else is measured in blood?
Other molecules that are monitored along with HDL and LDL are hemoglobin, critinine, blood urea nitrogen, electrolytes, and glucose.
Total blood (or serum) cholesterol
The total cholesterol in your blood is measured by the equation: HDL + LDL + 20% of the triglyceride level. 180 mg/dL, or near that, is considered a healthy cholesterol score.
HDL (good) cholesterol
To have what is considered a healthy HDL, a higher level is better. With a low HDL, comes more risk for heart disease. Low HDL often accompanies high blood triglycerides. Unhealthy habits like smoking, or certain genetic factors may also lead to a low HDL level.
LDL (bad) cholesterol
For LDL, a low score is desirable. To avoid having a high LDL level, avoid a diet high in trans fat and saturated fats.
Triglyceride is a fat in the body. It is also the most common type of fat. Triglyceride levels vary due to age and sex. With a high triglyceride level and a low HDL or high LDL, the risk for atherosclerosis is raised. With atherosclerosis, there is also more of a risk for heart attacks or a stroke due to build up of fatty deposits in arteries.
What can you do to change your HDL and LDL levels?
If diet and exercise are not enough, your doctor can prescribe medications.
Unsaturated, Saturated, and Trans-fats
- can improve cholesterol levels and decrease your risk for cardiovascular disease.
- needed for proper brain function and development.
- lower blood pressure and protect against irregular heart beats.
- main source is animal products like meat and dairy.
- increases levels of LDL, or "bad" cholesterol and your risk of heart disease.
- this is the most unhealthy type of fat.
- increases LDL levels and decreases HDL levels.
- increases your risk of heart disease, cardiovascular disease, and coronary heart disease.
"Prevention and Treatment of High Cholesterol." Prevention and Treatment of High Cholesterol. Web. 17 Dec. 2014. <http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/Cholesterol/PreventionTreatmentofHighCholesterol/Prevention-and-Treatment-of-High-Cholesterol_UCM_001215_Article.jsp>.