Controlling Your Cholesterol

The way to a healthy, hearty life!

What is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a type of fat found in your blood. Your liver makes cholesterol for your body. You also can get cholesterol from the foods you eat.
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What are LDL and HDL?

  • LDL: low-density lipoproteins that are referred to as the "bad cholesterol." LDL can build up in your arteries, causing heart disease.
  • HDL: high-density lipoproteins that are referred to as the "good cholesterol." It cruises through the blood stream and removes harmful cholesterol where it doesn't belong. It reduces the risk for heart disease.

How do LDL and HDL differ structurally and functionally?

  • Functionally: LDL and HDL both transport cholesterol in the blood, but the main functional difference between the two is they deliver cholesterol to different parts of your body. LDL brings cholesterol to cells throughout your body and can cause cholesterol to buildup within your arteries. HDL, carries cholesterol away from your heart and other organs and deliver it back to your liver, where it is passed from your body.
  • Structurally: The main structural difference between LDL and HDL is their compositions. HDL particles are more dense than LDL particles. The other major structural difference between LDL and HDL relates to the types of protein they contain.
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Why do doctors monitor the concentrations of LDL and HDL in patients’ blood?

During a blood test, LDL and HDL are both monitored along with other things because they are used to help evaluate the patient's risk of heart disease. Whether more cholesterol is being taken to or from cells can be determined during a blood test.

How are the concentrations of LDL and HDL associated with the risk for heart disease and associated disorders?

  • If a patient has large amounts of LDL, they are at a greater risk for heart disease. On the other hand, if a patient has low amounts of LDL, then they are at less of a risk for heart disease.
  • If a patient has large amounts of HDL, then they are at a lower risk for heart disease. On the other hand, if a patient has low amounts of HDL, they are at a greater risk for heart disease.
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What other molecules in a patient’s blood are monitored along with LDL and HDL?

Other molecules monitored along with LDL and HDL in a patient's blood include triglycerides, which are a type of fat found in the bloodstream inside of cholesterol molecules. Therefore, high levels of triglyceride increase the risk for heart disease. Other molecules also include blood sugar level and total cholesterol.
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What do the results of a cholesterol test mean? How do patients interpret each value?

Lipoprotein panels measure your cholesterol levels. It assesses several types of fat in the blood. It is measured in milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). The test gives you four results: total cholesterol, LDL (bad) and HDL (good) cholesterol, and triglycerides (blood fats).

Total Cholesterol Level:

-High risk: 240 mg/dL and above

-Borderline high risk: 200-239 mg/dL

-Desirable: Less than 200 mg/dL

LDL cholesterol level:

-190 mg/dL and above represents a high risk for heart disease

HDL cholesterol level:

-High risk: Less than 40 mg/dL

Triglycerides levels:

-Very high risk: 500 mg/dL and above

-High risk: 200-499 mg/dL

-Borderline high risk: 150-199 mg/dL

-Normal: Less than 150 mg/dL

*See exact levels in chart below

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What can patients do to change the levels of LDL and HDL in their blood?

A healthy diet will higher HDL and lower LDL. Saturated fat intake should be limited to 7% or less of total calories. Cholesterol should be 200mg or less per day. You can see how much cholesterol you are intaking by looking at the food label on the product you are eating. Exercise can raise HDL levels by as much as 5%. However, the activity needs to be consistent with at least 30 minutes a day and for at least five days a week. About every 6 pounds lost can raise HDL by one and lower LDL by one. Medications can also be used to increase HDL and/or LDL levels. There are many foods that are recommended for someone willing to maintain a normal cholesterol diet.

Friendly Foods:

-Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats: fish, avocados, chia seeds and almonds

-Soy foods: edamame, tofu, soy milk

-High-fiber foods: whole-wheat bread, dark leafy vegetables, barley, beans, fruit with tough skin

Unfriendly Foods: Anything fried, hydrogenated oil, meat, and full-fat dairy products

How does intake of unsaturated, saturated, and trans fats affect cholesterol levels and overall health?

  • Unsaturated fats are good fats that can improve bad cholesterol levels.
  • Saturated fats won't increase the risk of heart disease,but it also won't decrease the risk either.
  • Trans fats are terrible for cholesterol. They increase LDL levels and decrease HDL levels.
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Works Cited

Best and Worst Foods for People With High Cholesterol. (n.d.). Retrieved from

HDL Cholesterol: "The Good Cholesterol" (n.d.). Retrieved from

How Do LDL and HDL Differ Structurally and Functionally? (n.d.). Retrieved from

Allie Stern

Block 3

10 May 2016