Cholesterol Facts and Information

Sarah Laino

What is HDL and LDL?

High-density lipoprotein (HDL) is cholesterol known as the "good" cholesterol because it helps prevent arteries from getting clogged.

Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is one of the five major groups of lipoproteins. Lipoproteins are particles composed of many different proteins which transport all fat molecules around the body with the water outside cell walls.

How is LDL and HDL different structrually and functionally?

they both vary in shape and size
HDL- higher amounts of proteins and lower amounts of lipids
LDL- larger then HDL with more lipids

HDL- picks up extra cholesterol from tissues than carries it from tissue and blood vessels then to liver for extraction
LDL- carries cholesterol to tissue as needed

Doctors monitor LDL because to much can clog arteries and cause heart attack of stroke. Doctors also monitor HDL, to ensure that patients have enough in their blood stream.

How is LDL and HDL associated with heart disease?

An with an over abundance of LDL can result in plaque buildup on arterial walls which can ultimately result in atheroscerlosis. That is when the arteries harden and this can lead to heart diseases, heart attacks and strokes. Unlike LDL, higher HDL levels can actually lower the risk of heart disease.

Other molecules monitored in patient's blood by specialists

- triglycerides

- total cholesterol
- blood sugar level

What do the results of a cholesterol test mean?

  1. The report will show the cholesterol levels in milligrams per deciliter of blood (mg/dL). The total cholesterol and HDL (good) cholesterol are among numerous factors the doctor can use to predict the possibility of having a heart attack or stroke.

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

Many things can be done to change the levels of LDL and HDL in blood. A healthy diet with reduced fat and cholesterol will increase HDL levels and decrease LDL levels. Saturated fat intake should be limited 7% or less of total calories, cholesterol should be 200mg per day or less, and Omega 3 fatty acids will increase HDL levels. It has been found that physical activity can raise HDL levels 5%. The activity needs to be consistent with at least 30 minutes a day for 5 days a week. An estimated every six pounds that are lost can increase HDL by one and lower LDL by one. Medication can also be used with the other things above.

Does the intake of unsaturated saturated and trans fat affect cholesterol levels and overall health?

Unsaturated fats are good and can improve cholesterol levels

Saturated fats do not increase the risk of heart disease, but not eating saturated fats will not decrease the risk of heart disease

Transfats are bad for cholesterol they increase LDL levels and decreased HDL levels