Cholesterol and Health

Here's what you need to know

What are LDL and HDL?

Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is one of the five major groups of lipoprotein. LDL is a microscopic blob that's made up of an outer rim of lipoprotein that surrounds a cholesterol center.

High-density lipoproteins (HDL) are another one of the five major groups of lipoproteins. It travels through the bloodstream. As it does, it removes harmful LDL cholesterol from where it doesn't belong. High HDL levels reduce the risk of heart disease, but low levels increase the risk.

How do they differ structurally and functionally?

Structurally, about 50% of the weight of an LDL particle is cholesterol and only 25% is protein. Though HDL is 20% cholesterol and 50% protein.

Functionally, LDL brings cholesterol to cells throughout your body and may cause it to buildup within your arteries, which can lead to an increased risk of heart disease, among other things. HDL carries cholesterol away from your heart and other organs and deliver it back to the liver, so there is no damage being done.

How are LDL and HDL associated with the risk of heart diseases and associated disorders?

Doctors monitor the concentration of LDL and HDL in a patients' blood because it helps determine the patients' risk of heart disease. Too much LDL can result in plaque buildup on arterial walls, which can lead to the arteries being hardened. HDL, on the other hand, can lower the risk of heart disease.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What other molecules are monitored in my blood?

A: Total cholesterol, triglycerides, and the blood sugar levels are also monitored

Q: What can I do to change my levels of LDL and HDL?

A: Many things can be done to change the levels of LDL and HDL in your blood. A few examples are maintaining a healthy diet with reduced fat and cholesterol, keeping the saturated fat intake limited to 7% or less of total calories. Physical activity also needs to be consistent with at least 30 minutes a day for 5 days a week.Q: What do the results of my cholesterol test mean?

Q: How does my intake of unsaturated, saturated, and trans fat affect my cholesterol levels in my overall health?

A: The lower the intake, the better. Higher intake of unsaturated, saturated, and trans fat lead to higher levels of LDL in your blood.