Cholesterol

LDL, HDL, and What they are

LDL and HDL, What are they?

LDL stands for Low density lipoprotein. LDL delivers cholesterol to the cells in your body. HDL stands for High density lipoprotein. HDL removes excess cholesterol from the blood stream and transports it back to the liver. HDL is usually portrayed as "good" and LDL is portrayed as "bad" but neither of these are good or bad, you need to have a balance of both in order for your cholesterol levels to stay at the right levels.(Mayo Chinic)
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How are LDL and HDL different?

LDL delivers cholesterol to your cells, while HDL retrieves excess cholesterol from your blood stream and delivers it back to the liver. LDL and HDL vary in structure and composition. HDL has more proteins than cholesterol. LDL has more cholesterol than protein. This is shown in the picture below. (Mayo Clinic)
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Why would a doctor monitor your HDL and LDL levels?

A lipid profile may be performed in order to measure your cholesterol levels. A lipid profile is a simple blood test that shows how much Cholesterol, LDL, HDL, and Triglycerides you have in your blood. Doctors measure the concentration of HDL and LDL in patients because they want to ensure that your levels are not to high because it can lead to plaque build up and heart disease. (WebMD)
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How are the concentrations of HDL and LDL associated with the risk for heart disease?

Too much cholesterol puts your body at risk for heart disease and other associated diseases. When you have too much cholesterol it starts to build up on your walls, this starts a process called artherosclerosis. The arteries in your body become narrower making it harder or even impossible for your body to get blood and oxygen to your whole body including your heart. Higher levels of LDL can make your risk for heart disease higher and higher levels of HDL can lower your risk for heart disease. It is very important to find out what your cholesterol levels are. Lowering cholesterol levels that are too high can help make the risk for developing heart disease lower and reduce the chance of a heart attack or dying of heart disease. Even if you already have heart disease there are many steps that you can take to lower your cholesterol levels. (WebMD)
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Citations

Mayo Clinic. (n.d.). HDL cholesterol: how to boost your 'good' cholesterol. Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/in-depth/hdl-cholesterol/art-20046388

WebMD. (n.d.). Cholesterol testing and the lipid panel. Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/cholesterol-management/tests-for-high-cholesterol-lipid-panel

WebMD. (n.d.). Heart disease and lowering cholesterol. Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/guide/heart-disease-lower-cholesterol-risk