What is Cholesterol? 4.3.1
BY: Arjun Nag
1. What is Cholesterol?
A waxy fatty substance that is found in all parts of the body. It is used in the production of vitamin D, hormones, and substances. It is mainly produced by the body, but it can also be found in the food people eat. Cholesterol travels in these packages called lipoproteins. Lipoproteins are made of fat, or lipid, on the inside and proteins make up a lipoprotein on the outside. 2 kinds of lipoproteins carry cholesterol, LDL and HDL lipoproteins. Having healthy levels of bith LDL and HDL are essential to the healthiness of the human body.
Hello High school or college level student!
My name is Arjun, and I will be taking you on a journey into figuring out:
- What is Cholesterol?
- What is LDL?
- What is HDL?
- How does LDL and HDL structure differently?
- Why does a doctor monitor concentrations of LDL and HDL in a patients blood?
- What do concentrations of LDL and HDL have to do with heart disease?
- What other molecules along with LDL and HDL are monitored ina patients blood for heart disease?
- What do the results of a cholesterol test mean? How does a patient interpret each value?
- How can a patient change levels of LDL and HDL? How does diet play in? (intake of unsaturated/saturated/trans fats)
- Where you can go for more information!
2. What is LDL?
LDL, short for Low-Density Lipoprotein. It is a combination of lipids and proteins. LDL transports cholesterol to the cells. It is sometimes called "bad"cholesterol, high LDL levels lead to buildup in the arteries. But it is not good, nor is it bad! But is tends to strike a balance with HDL.
3. What is HDL?
HDL, short for High-Density Lipoprotein, is considered "good" cholesterol, again, there is no god or bad cholesterol. HDL removes additional cholesterol that is not necessary from the bloodstream. The cholesterol that is removed from the bloodstream from the HDL is then moved to the liver. If there is too much cholesterol, there can be a buildup of cholesterol in the arteries if HDL does not remove it. This is why there must be a balance of HDL and LDL. This balance aims to help keep circulating lipids not get trapped in the arteries.
4. How does LDL and HDL structure differently?
Lipoproteins all have lipids and proteins in their structure, but they all have something difference between. The main difference between LDL and HDL is their composition. 50% of the weight of LDL is cholesterol while 25% of it is protein. HDL has 20% cholesterol and it has 50% protein. LDL is less dense than HDL, hence high density and low density. LDL carries different proteins types. LDL contains B-100 proteins. However, HDL contains A-I and A-II proteins. The importance of the proteins is that the function of the lipoprotein is determined by the type of protein that the lipoprotein carries.
5. Why does a doctor monitor concentrations of LDL and HDL in a patients blood?
HDL and LDL are monitored during a blood test because both of them are used to help monitor a patients risk for heart disease. During a blood test we can determine whether cholesterol is being taken out more or not taken out fast enough. HDL levels should be at the least 40mg/dL and at the most to 60mg/dL. LDL should be lower than 129mg/dL and it should be lower form anyone diagnosed with heart disease.
6. What do concentrations of LDL and HDL have to do with heart disease?
Too much LDL results in plaque buildup on the walls of the arteries. This buildup can lead to atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is the hardening of arteries. Atherosclerosis leads to heart disease and then to heart attacks or strokes. High HDL levels lead to a lower risk of heart disease.
7. What else, along with LDL and HDL, is monitored in a patients blood for heart disease?
Along with LDL and HDL levels for heart disease, we must also monitor plaque buildup, how stiff the artery walls are in general, and where the flow of blood is inhibited. Monitor how the body responds to a bad diet, lack of exercise, and being overweight and smoking. We also monitor triglycerides, total blood sugar levels, and total cholesterol levels.
8. What do the results of a cholesterol test mean? How does a patient interpret each value?
When we see the results of a cholesterol test we usually see, LDL, HDL, Triglyceride levels in the results. We also see a total blood cholesterol level included which is where many of the patients usually focus attention on. Here is how we measure each level and how it can be interpreted by the patient.
Total blood cholesterol levels:
- High risk: 240 mg/dL and above
- Borderline high risk: 200-239 mg/dL
- Desirable: less than 200 mg/dL
LDL cholesterol levels:
- high risk: 190 mg/dL and above - This is indicates that the person must undertake intense treatment, this means life style changes and diet changes.
- Borderline high risk: 189 or lower mg/dL - Reccomended that you lower this by 30%-50%.
HDL cholesterol levels:
- High risk less than 40 mg/dL
- Very high risk: 500 mg/dL and above
- High risk: 200-499mg/dL
- Borderline high risk: 150-199 mg/dL
- Normal: 150 mg/dL and less
9. How can a patient change levels of LDL and HDL? How does diet play in? (intake of unsaturated/saturated/trans fats)
A healthy diet and reduced fat/cholesterol level foods should be consumed. Saturated fat consumed should be less than 7% of the total calories the patient intakes everyday. You must be active at least 30 minutes for 5 days a week.
10. Where you can go for more information! Credible Sources - APA Format (at least 2)
- What Is Cholesterol? (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/hbc
- How Do LDL and HDL Differ Structurally and Functionally? (n.d.). Retrieved from http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/ldl-hdl-differ-structurally-functionally-2003.html
- Heart disease. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/basics/causes/con-20034056
- Cholesterol Tests: Understand Your Results. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/cholesterol-management/cholesterol-tests-understand-your-results?page=2