Cholesterol Craze

By: Karla Lankes

What Is LDL & HDL?

Cholesterol is compared to three main substances: LDL, HDL, and triglycerides. Right now we are only learning about HDL and LDL, but don't worry we will get to triglycerides later. LDL stands for Low Density Lipoprotein. LDL is what locates and transports cholesterol throughout your body. This happens because cholesterol cannot be dissolved inside the body. When cholesterol is detected in your blood vessels LDL is released into your blood stream in an attempt to transport the cholesterol from the your liver to tissues of your body where it is then stored. HDL stands for High Density Lilpoprotein. HDL seaches the bloodstream for any LDL that might have been left behind. When HDL finds stray LDL it is often against the walls of the blood vessels.

Function & Structure

LDL and HDL are each structured differently because the ratios of there contents are different. For example 20% of an HDL particle is cholesterol and 50% is protein, while 50% of an LDL particle is cholesterol and 25% is protein. HDL particles are much more dense than LDL particles because protein is more dense than fat.

"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.


Triglyceride

LDL and HDL are not the only molecules monitored in the blood: triglycerides is also monitored. Triglycerides are a type of fat found in cholesterol molecules within the bloodstream: having high levels of triglyceride will increase an individual’s risk of heart disease. The optimal triglyceride level is less than 150 mg/dL anything higher increases the chance of receiving a heart condition.

Diet

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:

  1. 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.

  2. Exercise-Everyday try to at least get 30 minutes of physical activity in.

  3. 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.

  4. Lose weight- Even carrying a few extra pounds will contribute to a high cholesterol level.

Drink alcohol in moderation- To the older college student and heavy drinkers, drinking excessively increase HDL cholesterol levels, which helps protect against cardiovascular disease. Drinking in no way positively affects your heart, for it does not lower the total cholesterol or LDL cholesterol levels.

Works Cited

Works Cited

“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>.