Cholesterol…the Good and the Bad

LDL page

I don’t know about you…but every time my doctor starts talking to me about HDL..LDL..Triglycerides…all I hear is “blah..blahblah..blah” For some unknown reason I can never understand it. That being said.. I decided to finally sit down and figure it out because it is so important. Here goes….

There are two types of Cholesterol: “good” and “bad.”  It’s important to understand the difference because too much of one or not enough of another can put you at risk for coronary heart disease, heart attack or stroke. Cholesterol comes from two places… your body and the food you eat. Your liver and other cells in your body make about 75 % of blood cholesterol and the other 25 % comes from the foods you eat.

HDL or “The Good” –  HDL is the “good” cholesterol which helps keep the LDL (bad) cholesterol from getting lodged into your artery walls.  A healthy level of HDL may also protect against heart attack and stroke. Low levels of HDL (less than 40 mg/dL for men and less than 50 mg/dL for women) have been shown to increase the risk of heart disease. About 1/4 to 1/3 of blood cholesterol is carried by high-density lipoprotein (HDL). Medical experts think that HDL tends to carry cholesterol away from the arteries and back to the liver, where it’s passed from the body. To increase your HDL, studies show that regular physical activity can help your body produce more HDLs.  Reducing trans fats and eating a balanced, nutritious diet is another way to increase HDL.  If this isn’t enough to increase your HDL, your healthcare professional may prescribe a medication specifically made to increase your HDLs.

LDL or “The Bad” – LDL cholesterol is the “bad” cholesterol. When too much LDL circulates in the blood, it can clog arteries increasing your risk of heart attack and stroke. When too much LDL circulates in the blood, it can slowly build up in the inner walls of the arteries that feed the heart and brain. Along with other substances in your blood, it can form plaque, a thick, hard deposit that can narrow the arteries and make them less flexible. This condition is known as Atherosclerosis. If a clot forms and blocks an already narrowed artery…a heart attack or stroke can result. LDL cholesterol is produced naturally by the body, but many people inherit genes that cause them to make too much. Eating saturated fat, trans fats and dietary cholesterol also increases how much you have. If high cholesterol runs in your family, lifestyle and dietary modifications may not be enough to help lower your LDL. You should work with your healthcare professional to find a treatment plan that’s best for you.

Triglycerides – A Triglyceride is a form of fat made in the body. Elevated triglycerides can be due to overweight/obesity, physical inactivity, cigarette smoking, excess alcohol consumption and a diet very high in carbohydrates. People with high triglycerides often have a high total cholesterol level, including a high LDL (bad) level and a low HDL (good) level. Many people with heart disease and/or diabetes have high triglyceride levels. To reduce Triglycerides you must change your lifestyle! Control your weight…eat healthy…get moving..limit alcohol!

Even though high cholesterol may lead to serious heart disease most of the time there are no symptoms. Even if your cholesterol levels are good now, it’s not too early to develop healthy habits that can keep your levels on the right path. Healthy levels for you may not be the same as for your friend or family member.  See suggested levels below:

  • Total Cholesterol – 200 or less for men & women
  • HDL – 40 or less for men / 50 or less for women
  • LDL – 129 or less for men & women
  • Triglycerides – 150 or less for men & women

 

For more info…follow the link below…..

Cholesterol…the Good and the Bad

 

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