What is High-density lipoprotein? What is the structure of HDL?
High-density lipoprotein (HDL) is known as the good cholesterol because it helps to eradicate the other forms of cholesterol from our bloodstream. Those with high levels of HDL have a lesser risk of heart attack. Cholesterol gets carried into our bloodstream with the help of proteins which are also known as a lipoprotein. HDL actually picks up the excess cholesterol in our bloodstream and carries it to our liver where it is broken down and removed from our body.
There are some people for whom the HDL level is higher naturally as a result of which these people have very low chance and heart attack and stroke. Hence, there are some changes in the lifestyle like stop smoking, exercising, dieting to lose weight which actually helps to lower the risk of a heart attack.
Regular consumption of alcohol can accelerate the decrease in the growth of HDL in our body as the consumption of too much alcohol can cause weight gain and increase the blood pressure and triglyceride levels. HDL particles mainly contain the sender form of lipoprotein because it contains a low amount of fat compared to its protein content. It primarily contains cholesterol in their core and apoprotein A1 and A2 on their surface.
What is the function of HDL?
HDL has a number of functions as it is a complex lipoprotein. One of the most important functions of HDL is the reverse cholesterol transport. As the cells die they are replaced and during this, a lot of cholesterol is released into the blood. HDL binds the excess cholesterol and transfers it to another lipoprotein like LDL.
It also helps to get rid of the cholesterol in the walls of the arteries and takes it to the liver to be removed from the body through the intestines. It is referred to as the good cholesterol due to its protective effect against atherosclerosis or the build-up of fatty plaques in the arteries. Higher concentration of HDL correlates with a low rate of atherosclerosis and even lower rates of heart diseases and stroke.
What to do when the HDL level is less?
If the HDL level is less in the body, there are certain lifestyle rectifications that we can do in order to get it working fine.
Some of them are as follows:
Choose your food well
Our body is a wonderful machine and hence it makes all the cholesterol that it needs, so we do not have to invest cholesterol separately into it. Eating a lot of food that is high in saturated fat and trans fat may contribute to high cholesterol resulting in heart diseases or stroke.
What we need to do is
- Stop eating the food which is high in saturated fat. Saturated fat is mostly supplied from animal products such as fatty meat, cheese and also from the tropical oils such as palm oil
- We must always opt for the food which is low in saturated fat, trans fat, sodium and added sugar such as lean meat, seafood, fat-free or low-fat milk, cheese and yogurt, whole grains and fruits and vegetables.
- We must always indulge in eating good that is naturally high in fiber such as oatmeal and beams like black beans, kidney beans etc. Unsaturated fat can be found in avocados, nuts and in vegetable oils like olive oil
Sticking to keep a healthy weight:
Being overweight and ushering in obesity always raises the levels of the bad cholesterol in the body. Excess body fat affects the way our body uses cholesterol and slows down the body’s ability to remove the bad cholesterol from the blood which ignites the risk of heart disease and stroke.
There are some measures that we can take to maintain a healthy weight which is as follows:
- We must calculator our Body mass index to understand whether our weight ranges in a healthy proportion or not. Sometimes the doctors and dieticians do it for us. At other times, we can calculate it ourselves if we know our own correct height and weight.
- We must talk to doctors and take their suggestion to understand what is the right weight for us.
- We must consult with a doctor on which is the correct food plan that we need to follow.
Indulging in regular physical activities:
Rigorous physical activity can result in the reduction of body weight and maintain a lower cholesterol and blood pressure level. There are quite a few things that we can do in order to keep the physical activities in the right way.
- We should imbibe the concept of indulging in physical activity very early in the children and get active along with them. For adults, a brisk walking session in the morning or bicycling can be helpful. Whereas for children, an hour of physical activity every day can do wonders.
- We must make physical activity an everyday chore and put it in our regular chores like taking the stairs instead of an elevator, park our cars a little far away from the destination, walk to the nearby stores for small errands etc.
Say no to smoking
Smoking damages the blood vessels speed up the hardening of arteries and increase the risk of heart diseases to a great extent. So it is advisable not to start smoking at all. But if you are already into smoking, it would be very apt to quit it for health reasons.
Stop consumption of alcohol:
Consumption of excessive alcohol can accelerate the cholesterol and triglycerides level in the bloodstream, so to stop that from happening we must follow certain rules. Avoid drinking too much alcohol as it is extremely injurious to the health and increases the chances of heart attack, stroke and other cardiac diseases. Men should not have more than two pegs and ladies should stick to one peg occasionally.
HDL content is fine if found in excess in the body and helps the body to be away from fatal diseases. We must strive to keep this count up and look for various ways to elevate the count. However, we must always keep in mind that the bad cholesterol level must not be increased and measure should be taken to keep it under control