What Cholesterol is and Cholesterol Tests
Cholesterol, LDL, and HDL: What are They?
Cholesterol has many functions. Some of the major functions include synthesizing Vitamin D, bile acids, and steroid hormones. Cholesterol is also abundant in cell membranes, and plays a big roll in the nervous system that enables learning and memories.
HDL and LDL
HDL and LDL stand for High Density Lipoproteins and Low Density Lipoproteins. LDL is twice the size as HDL particles. LDL has a lower density because they have a much higher amount of fat in their core. One function LDL does is that it transports cholesterol throughout the body. HDL are complex chemicals that contain a core globule of fat that is surrounded by proteins. It is the smallest of all the lipoproteins. It has a relatively low amount of fat compared to its protein content. HDL binds with the excess cholesterol in the walls of your arteries and takes it to the liver to be removed from your body through the intestines.
LDL and HDL model
This is what HDL and LDL looks like in an artery.
LDL and HDL
This represents what HDL and LDL do for the body. The LDL transports the cholesterol to get it to HDL to transport the cholesterol out of the body.
If a person's cholesterol gets too high, the patient could be in trouble and need treatment.
LDL and HDL
Cholesterol Testing and Other Types of Molecules Tested
Cholesterol testing can help your doctor use these numbers to predict a patients lifetime or 10 year risk for a heart attack or stroke. LDL reading 190 mg/DL and above represents a high risk for Heart Disease and is a strong indicator that the individual can benefit fro treatment to reduce the risk. HDL levels less than 40 mg/DL are at high risk as well. Triglyceride levels 150 and above are borderline to very high risk of Heart Disease.
How to change Cholesterol Levels
- Eat a healthy diet
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Exercise regularly
- Do not smoke
- Treat high cholesterol with medications and/or lifestyle changes
Saturated, Unsaturated, and Trans Fats & Cholesterol Levels
All of these types of fats can raise blood cholesterol. By not eating as much of these types of fats, it can lower a person's cholesterol levels. By eating too much of these fats, it can increase a person's chances of heart disease along with an increase in cholesterol levels.