What is Cholesterol – Understanding LDL & HDL

What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a soft, waxy substance found in each cell of the body. It’s far essential for many body functions which include strengthening cell membranes, manufacturing hormones and digesting fats. The liver produces all of the cholesterol that our body desires. The extra cholesterol that we eat via our diet can be dangerous while in excess. When the cholesterol in our bloodstream will become too high, it could increase as plaques on the arterial walls, causing a slowing or blockage of blood flow. This build-up also causes narrowing and hardening of the blood vessels, a process called arteriosclerosis. The build-up of cholesterol plaques can begin very early in life. Usually, there are not any signs and symptoms till the arteries end up so narrow that blood flow are limited to the heart or different important organs. At this factor, a person can experience chest ache, heart attack, stroke, poor circulation, and so on. High cholesterol is one of the most important risk factors for heart disease.


There are two types of cholesterol: HDL “good” and LDL “bad.” an excessive amount of one type or no longer sufficient of any other can put you at a higher risk of developing health problems. Whilst an excessive amount of bad cholesterol circulates within the blood, it causes plaque build-up in the arteries that may probably result in coronary heart disease, a heart attack or stroke. There are many bad aspect consequences of getting high cholesterol so it has to be tested by a skilled health expert. Lots of HDL (good) cholesterol helps your body get rid of the bad stuff and reduce your risk of developing coronary heart disease and additionally improves overall health.

What are different types of Cholesterol?

Total cholesterol is the sum of all the different types of cholesterol found in the blood. It serves as a general indicator of someone’s overall risk for developing heart disease. Lipoproteins are the carriers that transport cholesterol throughout the body. These carriers consist of cholesterol, fats, and proteins that are manufactured by the body. They are not found in food.

The 2 most important lipoproteins are:-

Low density lipoprotein (LDL) and high density lipoprotein (HDL)

  • LDL is the major cholesterol carrier in the blood. It is often referred to as the “bad” cholesterol because it leads to the accumulation of plaque on the walls of arteries. Therefore, decreasing LDL levels is a crucial part of lowering the risk of heart disease.
  • HDL is known as the “good” cholesterol because it carries cholesterol to the liver, where it is eliminated from the body. High levels of HDL (especially over 60) are believed to protect against heart disease, while low levels (less than 40) increase the risk of heart disease and possibly the risk of stroke.  

How to know about your cholesterol level?

There are usually no signs or symptoms that you have high cholesterol. There is a blood test to measure your cholesterol level. When and how regularly you need to get this test depends for your age, risk factors, and family records.

Cholesterol is measured in milligrams (mg) of cholesterol per deciliter (dL) of blood. Your cholesterol level is considered excessive when you have total cholesterol levels of 240 mg/dL or higher. It’s considered borderline when it is between 200 and 239 mg/dL.

Overall cholesterol levels below 200 mg/dL are considered perfect, but your individual target cholesterol level can be different, as determined by your doctor and relying on your risk factors for heart disease.

The general recommendations are:-

For individuals who are age 19 or younger:-

  • The first test has to be between ages 9 to 11. And again need to have the test again in every 5 years.
  • Some children may also have this test at the beginning of age 2 if there is a family history of high blood cholesterol, heart attack, or stroke.

For individuals who are age 20 or older:-

  • Younger adults must have the test every 5 years.
  • Men ages 45 to 65 and women ages 55 to 65 must have it every 1 to 2 years.

What are the reasons for high cholesterol?

Foods high in saturated and Trans fat boom cholesterol levels and Saturated and Trans fat is found mainly in:

  • Fatty meats.
  • Full cream dairy products (e.g. milk, cream, cheese and butter).
  • Deep-fried takeaway meals.
  • Baked products (e.g. biscuits and pastries).

You ought to restrict the number of foods you eat that include Saturated and Trans fats.

How to improve your cholesterol?

  • Stop smoking
  • Limit animal fats (e.g. butter, cream, cheese, fried foods, Red meat)
  • Eat more fibre (e.g. fruit, vegetables, cereals, baked beans), follow the DASH diet.


  • Eat more fish
  • Drink less alcohol
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Increase physical activity – aim for 30 minutes or more of moderate intensity physical activity every day of the week
  • Take medicine every day as directed by your doctor – medication can help reduce your cholesterol if it’s too high


Cholesterol is a kind of fats found in the bloodstream. Your body needs a few cholesterols to work efficaciously. Cholesterol has many good uses but is a trouble when there’s an excessive amount of it inside the blood. High cholesterol can clog the blood vessels that supply the heart and different parts of the body. This will reduce the flow of blood to the heart and cause a heart attack.

Communicate to your doctor about all your risk factors and what you may do to reduce your risk of heart disorder. Often, the actions you are taking to control one risk component help reduce others as well. For example, losing weight enables to reduce your blood cholesterol levels and high blood pressure, and helps to control diabetes. Normal physical activity assists you to lose weight as well as enhance the health of your heart and lungs, which can also help lower your danger of heart disease.

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