By: Karla Lankes
What Is LDL & HDL?
Function & Structure
"Why Monitor the HDL & LDL Levels in Your Blood?" or "How Are the Levels of HDL & LDL Associated With the Risk of Heart Disease?"
Doctors analyze this data to determine whether a patient is a t risk for heart disease or not. The concentration of LDL is measured because too much of it in the bloodstream could lead to cholesterol plaques being formed in the arteries. Which then could result in atherosclerosis, or the hardening of the arteries. Atherosclerosis results in the arteries becoming more narrow which makes it harder for blood to be pumped through them which could eventually lead to stroke or heart attack.
Tests & Values
After going to the doctor and having a cholesterol test you will receive many groups of numbers. After taking your total blood cholesterol test the desirable range is less than 200 mg/dL and anything above this value could potentially be unsafe and unhealthy. Your LDL cholesterol level should be less than 100 mg/dL although between 100-129 mg/dL is nearly optimal, and anything above that becomes risky. Your HDL cholesterol level should be 60 mg/dL and above. For men anything lower than 40 mg/dL exhibits dangerous levels, and for women anything lower than 50 mg/dL is dangerous.
Eating saturated fats and trans fats will raise LDL levels and also raise total cholesterol levels, so consequently not eating saturated and trans fats will lower LDL levels as well as lower the total cholesterol level. Although consuming trans fat is the most unhealthy because it sticks to the walls of blood vessels preventing adequate blood flow: the build up of this will eventually lead to heart attack.
How to Change Your HDL & LDL Levels
There are five main ways to change your LDL and HDL listed below:
Eat heart-healthy foods-Try to eliminate trans fat from your diet and instead eat food that are full of omega- 3 fatty acids. Keep your diet low in sodium and fats and increase your fruit and veggie intake.
Exercise-Everyday try to at least get 30 minutes of physical activity in.
Quit smoking-For smokers, it is essential that you quit smoking for it drastically affects the condition in which the heart is in. Within 20 minutes of smoking your heart rate and blood pressure decreases.
Lose weight- Even carrying a few extra pounds will contribute to a high cholesterol level.
“Cholesterol Levels: What You Need to Know.” NIH Medline Plus. Ed. National Library of Medicine. 7th ed. FNLM, 2012. Web. 7 Apr. 2016. <https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/magazine/issues/summer12/articles/summer12pg6-7.html>.
Fritz, Anne L. “Cholesterol Levels.” Everyday Health. Ed. Rosalyn Carson DeWitt. Every Day Health Media, n.d. Web. 7 Apr. 2016. <http://www.everydayhealth.com/cholesterol/levels/>.
LLC. “Understanding Cholesterol Numbers.” Web MD. WebMD, LLC, n.d. Web. 7 Apr. 2016. <http://www.webmd.com/cholesterol-management/guide/understanding-numbers>.