Mariah Rivas

Cholesterol Basics

Often times cholesterol is heard of as a negative thing, but it is not necessarily a bad thing. To start off, there are two types of cholesterol:

-Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL)

-High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL)

Each has a different function! LDL delivers cholesterol to the cells and the arteries that carry blood to your heart. HDL flows through your system and removes the harmful cholesterol from where it shouldn't be.

Structurally, the main difference is composition. Approximately 50 percent of the weight of an LDL particle is cholesterol and only 25 percent is protein. Where HDL only consists of 20 percent protein and 50 percent cholesterol. HDL particles are more dense than LDL's because proteins are more dense than fat, that's why there named "HIGH- density" and "LOW-density". The other big structural difference between the two are the proteins they consist of. LDL contains B-100 proteins, while HDL contains mostly A-1 A-2 proteins. The different types of proteins are important because it determines what the function of the lipoprotein is.

Other Functions of Cholesterol

Cholesterol does many things, some more of the things cholesterol does is hormone manufacturing. Cholesterol is stored in the adrenal glands, in the ovaries and "testes", and is converted to steroid hormones. According to, without steroid hormones we will have malfunctions with weight, sex, digestion, bone health and mental status. It is also part of the cell walls, along with polar lipids, cholesterol helps make up all the cell walls in the body. When the level of cholesterol increases or decreases, the cells are affected. This change can affect our ability to produce energy. This can ultimately affect other aspects of our bodies' function such as food intake and digestion.

Why Doctors Keep An eye on Lipoprotein levels in the blood

This is very simply answered, doctors like consistently monitor LDL and HDL because they are both used to decrease a patients risk of heart disease.

You may be wondering how these two are related to heart disease. They are linked because of the concentrations in the lipoproteins. High levels of LDL cholesterol lead to atherosclerosis increasing the risk of heart attack and ischemic stroke. HDL cholesterol reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease as it carries cholesterol away from the blood stream.

Doctors like to keep an eye on the triglyceride levels in the blood along with LDL and HDL levels. Triglyceride is a lipid. When you eat your body converts all calories it doesn't need into triglycerides. When there is too much triglyceride in your blood it can clog arteries since it is a lipid.

Working with ldl and hdl

If your LDL and/ or HDL levels are in need of adjustment, here are some tips.

There are so called "power foods" for lowering and raising cholesterol levels and you can be prescribed medications for raising or lowering you levels.