1. Health & Lifestyle

LDL and HDL Cholesterol What is ‘Good and Bad’ Cholesterol

Lipoproteins are proteins that transport cholesterol through circulation. Lipoproteins are two different types of proteins that carry cholesterol across the body: The majority of your body's cholesterol is LDL (low-density lipoprotein), sometimes known as "bad" cholesterol. LDL cholesterol levels that are too high put you at risk for heart disease and stroke.

Sandeep Kr Tiwari
Research shows that exercise and physical activity can raise HDL levels.
Research shows that exercise and physical activity can raise HDL levels.

Lipoproteins are substances made up of protein & fat that carry cholesterol through the bloodstream. Basically, there are two different types of cholesterol - High-density lipoprotein (HDL), or "good" cholesterol, and Low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or "bad" cholesterol.

The majority of your body's cholesterol is LDL. LDL cholesterol levels that are too high put you at the risk of heart disease and stroke.

On the other hand, the "good" cholesterol or HDL absorbs cholesterol and transports it back to the liver. It is then flushed from the body by the liver. High HDL cholesterol levels can reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke.

Raised blood cholesterol is one of the key risk factors for heart disease, alongside smoking and high blood pressure. A healthy diet, exercise, and medication can all help people lower their blood cholesterol.

LDL cholesterol may be moved from the bloodstream to the liver, which breaks it down and discards it as waste. HDL cholesterol is known as "good cholesterol" because it lowers cholesterol levels in the blood.

LDL cholesterol can build up on the walls of your blood vessels when your body has too much of it. Plaque is the term for this accumulation. The insides of your blood vessels constrict as plaque builds up over time. This narrowing block blood flow to and from your heart and other organs is obstructed by this constriction. Angina (chest discomfort) or a heart attack can occur when blood flow to the heart is obstructed.

Causes of high LDL cholesterol

Saturated fat consumption: Saturated and hydrogenated fat consumption can raise LDL cholesterol levels.

Inactivity: A lack of physical activity can contribute to weight gain, which has been related to higher cholesterol levels.

Obesity: People who are overweight are at a higher risk of developing diabetes.

Smoking: A chemical included in cigarettes reduces HDL cholesterol and destroys the lining of blood vessels, increasing the risk of arteries hardening.

Type 2 diabetes, an underactive thyroid, kidney or liver disease, and alcoholism are just a few of the medical disorders that might alter LDL cholesterol levels.

Menopause: Cholesterol levels in certain women might rise after menopause.

Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) is a kind of high cholesterol that is inherited and puts people at risk.

How to increase HDL levels

A variety of things can improve HDL cholesterol levels, including:

Omega-3 fatty acids: When ingested as part of a well-balanced diet, omega-3 fatty acids can help decrease blood cholesterol levels. Oily fish including mackerel, trout, herring, sardines, fresh tuna, salmon, and halibut have the greatest quantities of omega-3 fatty acids. According to research, consuming 2–3 servings of fatty fish each week might boost HDL levels in the blood.

Antioxidants included in brightly colored fruits and vegetables have been demonstrated to increase HDL cholesterol levels.

Regular exercise: Research shows that exercise and physical activity can raise HDL levels.

Total cholesterol to HDL ratios

The total cholesterol to HDL cholesterol ratio can assist a person to determine how much good cholesterol they're getting and how much bad cholesterol they're getting. It's calculated by dividing total cholesterol by HDL cholesterol.

Because total cholesterol fluctuates, a reliable estimate may need more than one blood test. Because levels might fluctuate after a meal, a blood test may be performed first thing in the morning before a person has breakfast.

According to studies, the total cholesterol to HDL ratio is a stronger predictor of heart disease risk than LDL cholesterol levels alone.

Share your comments

Subscribe to our Newsletter. You choose the topics of your interest and we'll send you handpicked news and latest updates based on your choice.

Subscribe Newsletters