What you need to know about Cholesterol


What is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a waxy fat like substance that is carried in the blood. Cholesterol is made naturally from the liver and can also be taken in by high saturated foods. Cholesterol's function is to help with maintaining the integrity of the membranes, enabling learning and memory, the digestion of fats, act as a precursor to vitamin D, and is a precursor to all steroid hormones.


Pick up and carry loads of cholesterol through the blood like a microscopic bus fleet. Lipoproteins have different preferences for cholesterol and they behave differently with the cholesterol it carries.

What are LDL and HDL?

LDL- LDL (low density- lipoprotein) is the bad cholesterol. LDL collects in the walls of blood vessels, causing the blockages of atherosclerosis ( specific form of arteriosclerosis in which an artery wall thickens as a result of invasion and accumulation of white blood cells).

HDL- HDL (High density- lipoprotein) is the good cholesterol. HDL scavenges and removes LDL. HDL reduces, reuses, and recycles LDL cholesterol by transporting LDL to the liver where it then can be processed. HDL acts like as a cleaning crew for the inner walls (endothelium) blood vessels. HDL scrubs walls and keeps them clean.

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How do LDL and HDL differ stucurally and functionally?

The Structure of Both LDL and HDL contain lipids and proteins

LDL is 50% cholesterol and 25% is protein. HDL is 20% cholesterol, while 50% is protein

Since protein is more dense then fat, HDL particles are more dense then the LDL particles.

LDL contains the protein B-100, while HDL mostly contains A-1 and A-11 proteins. Protein determines the function of the lipoprotein.

The Function of Both LDL and HDL transport cholesterol throughout the blood.

LDL are the primary carriers of cholesterol and they bring cholesterol to cells throughout your body and can cause cholesterol build-up within your arteries and increase heart disease and stroke. HDL's job is to carry cholesterol away from your heart and other organs and deliver it back to your liver, where it passed from your body.

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Why do doctors monitor the concentrations of LDL and HDL in patients’ blood?

Doctors monitor patients concentration of LDL and HDL to help evaluate person's health status and to determine whether a person is at risk for cardiovascular disease. Doctors measure HDL levels to ensure that levels are high enough to promote good cardiovascular health. Too much LDL in the bloodstream can result in cholesterol plaques forming inside arteries. The results in atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, and can lead to heart attack or stroke. HDL levels that are higher are better for your health. LDL levels that are lower are better for your health.

How are the concentrations of LDL and HDL associated with the risk of heat disease and associated disorder?

Heart disease is associated with heart disease when there is too much cholesterol in your blood and it builds up in the walls of your arteries. This causes a process called atherosclerosis which is a form of heart disease. In this heart disease your arteries become narrowed and the blood flow slows or becomes blocked. Since the blood carries oxygen and nutrients to the heart, if the blood supply is cut off you would experience a heart attack. Also if the walls of your arteries are blocked and your blood can't reach your heart you can experience chest pain. The reason that LDL and HDL are involved in this is because LDL is your main source of artery clogging plaque and HDL actually works in your favor to help clear the LDL and bring it back to the liver where it can do no harm. Cholesterol is associated with other disorders like stroke, cardiovascular disease, peripheral vascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, and angina. Stroke is where your arteries to the brain are narrowed or blocked. Cardiovascular disease is where your arteries to your heart are narrowed or blocked blood flow to your heart. Peripheral vascular disease is where the cholesterol has blocked blood flow to your legs and feet. Diabetes is where it makes the LDL cholesterol easier to stick to the walls of your arteries. High blood pressure is when you heart is working too hard or puts too much strain on your heart to pump the blood through. Coronary heart disease is when your arteries have been narrowed or blocked to the heart. Angina is chest pain.
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What other molecules in a patient’s blood are monitored along with LDL and HDL?

Other then LDL and HDL there are five other molecules in blood that are monitored, including Hemoglobin ( carries oxygen in the red blood cell), Creatinine (Measures kidney function), Blood Urea Nitrogen ( amount of nitrogen in your blood that comes from the waste product the urea), Electrolytes (substances that become ions in solution and acquire the capability to conduct electricity), and Glucose levels (the amount of sugar in your blood).

What do the results of a cholesterol test mean? How do patients interpret each value?

A Cholesterol test or also called a lipid panel measures three specific kinds of fat. These are LDL, HDL, and Triglycerides (another type of fat in the bloodstream). The results of a cholesterol test mean something different for everyone else, once your results back you should write down your numbers so that you have a record, but talk to your doctor about what the numbers mean to you. The numbers could be influenced by your family history, age, weight, race, gender, diet, blood pressure, and activity level so talk to your doctor. If you want to make a guess on what your numbers mean here is the general numbers are below.
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What can patients do to change the levels of LDL and HDL in their blood?

By having a healthy diet and exercising often you can reduce your LDL and HDL levels. To lower your LDL levels eat less saturated fats. Cholesterol should be 200 mg or less each day, you can also take Omega 3-fatty acids to help with increasing HDL levels. Macadamia nuts help to increase your HDL cholesterol by almost 8%. Reduce calories that derive from fat, including eggs, oily salad dressing, cheese and whole milk from your diet. Having at least 25 minutes of exercise five times a week will help with lowering you LDL levels and increasing you HDL levels.

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

Eating fat is not necessary a bad thing your body needs it. It is important to try to eat the good unsaturated fats, minimize the saturated fats, and avoid the ugly trans fats. If you don't know what kinds of foods have these requirements then look on the nutritional label breakdown that is required by the FDA. Foods high in saturated fats help with creating LDL molecule. It is better to eat fish and lean meat. Limiting unsaturated, saturated, and trans fats helps with lowering your cholesterol build up and levels and overall health.
What is Cholesterol - How To Reduce Cholesterol Naturally