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What is LDL and HDL?

Low-density lipoprotein (LDL): is a substance made up of fat (lipid) and protein. Its function is to carry cholesterol and fats (triglycerides) in the blood.

High-density lipoprotein (HDL): a lipoprotein of blood plasma that is composed of a high proportion of protein with little triglyceride and cholesterol and that is correlated with reduced risk of atherosclerosis.

How Do LDL and HDL Differ Structurally and Functionally?


The main structural difference between LDL and HDL is their compositions. Approximately 50 percent of the weight of an LDL particle is cholesterol and only 25 percent is protein.


Low-density lipoproteins -- the primary carriers of cholesterol -- bring cholesterol to cells throughout your body and can cause cholesterol to buildup within your arteries. This buildup can eventually lead to arterial blockage and an increased risk for heart disease and stroke.

High-density lipoproteins, on the other hand, can benefit your health because these particles carry cholesterol away from your heart and other organs and deliver it back to your liver, where it is passed from your body.

Why do Doctors Monitor The Concentrations of LDL and HDL In Patients' Blood?

LDL and HDL are both monitored along with other things because they are used to help decrease the patient's risk of heart disease.

LDL and HDL Risks

High levels of LDL cholesterol lead to atherosclerosis increasing the risk of heart attack and ischemic stroke. HDL cholesterol reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease as it carries cholesterol away from the blood stream.

Other Molecules Monitored Along With LDL and HDL

Other molecules monitored along with LDL and HDL in a patient's blood include triglycerides, low density lipoproteins, and high density lipoproteins. Triglycerides are a type of fat found in the bloodstream inside of cholesterol molecules, therefore, high levels of triglyceride increase the risk for heart disease.

What Do The Results of A Cholesterol Test Mean?

Your test report will show your cholesterol levels in milligrams per deciliter of blood . Your total cholesterol and HDL cholesterol are among numerous factors your doctor can use to predict your lifetime or 10-year risk for a heart attack or stroke.

How To Change The Levels Of LDL and HDL

In order to change the levels of LDL and HDL in their blood, patients can begin to maintain a diet that is low in sodium and fats. Incorporating various fruits and vegetables into their diet can also have positive results.This change in diet will increase HDL levels in the blood while reducing LDL levels. Physical activity and exercise for 30 minutes a day 5 days a week, can also increase HDL levels and decrease LDL levels.

How Does Intake Of Unsaturated, Saturated, And Trans Fats Affect Cholesterol Levels and Overall Health?

Too much saturated, unsaturated, and trans fats and cause a person's LDL levels to increase. This could then lead to arterial hardening. If there is more LDL than HDL can uptake on, then a person could suffer from a heart attack or stroke. Unsaturated fats are called good fats because they can improve blood cholesterol levels, ease inflammation, stabilize heart rhythms, and play a number of other beneficial roles. Unsaturated fats are predominantly found in foods from plants, such as vegetable oils, nuts, and seeds.