What is a the different between “good” cholesterol and “bad” cholesterol?
Cholesterol can be divided into two major types:
Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL) – “bad” cholesterol
High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL) – “good” cholesterol
LDL is considered “bad” cholesterol because it promotes the formation of atherosclerotic plaques in the walls of blood vessels. These plaques can narrow the diameter of important arteries, leading to blockages and causing serious problems such as heart disease, stroke, or other health issues.
HDL, on the other hand, is known as “good” cholesterol because it can carry LDL (“bad” cholesterol) away from the arteries and transport it back to the liver for excretion from the body.
𝐃𝐨 𝐦𝐞𝐝𝐢𝐜𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬 𝐚𝐟𝐟𝐞𝐜𝐭 𝐜𝐡𝐨𝐥𝐞𝐬𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐨𝐥 𝐥𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐥𝐬?
If a patient has elevated cholesterol levels, doctors may prescribe medications to lower LDL cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol) levels. However, medications can only lower “bad” cholesterol levels and do not increase “good” cholesterol levels.
𝐇𝐨𝐰 𝐜𝐚𝐧 𝐈 𝐢𝐧𝐜𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐬𝐞 𝐠𝐨𝐨𝐝 𝐜𝐡𝐨𝐥𝐞𝐬𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐨𝐥?
Individuals with metabolic syndrome (including obesity, hypertension, and high blood sugar levels) tend to have lower levels of “good” cholesterol. To improve your health and raise “good” cholesterol levels, focus on losing weight and managing conditions like hypertension and high blood sugar.
Engaging in regular physical activity not only aids in weight loss but also helps increase “good” cholesterol levels. Adopting a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables can also raise “good” cholesterol levels while lowering the “bad” cholesterol index.
Good heart health is like a building block: It’s cumulative. This is particularly true when it comes to high cholesterol.
Cholesterol is a fatty substance your liver makes. It’s also found in certain foods. Your body needs some cholesterol to function properly. But having too much of the bad type of cholesterol — low-density lipoprotein (LDL) — puts you at risk for having a heart attack or stroke.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), having a high total cholesterol level raises your risk for heart disease.
What level of cholesterol is considered to be healthy in an adult?
A total cholesterol level of less than 200 mg/dL (5.17 mmol/L) is normal. However, levels of HDL cholesterol less than 40 mg/dL (1.03 mmol/L) and levels of HDL cholesterol more than 160 mg/dL are considered high cholesterol levels in your body, which indicates that your risk of cardiovascular disease is higher.
“One misconception is that people can have poorly controlled cholesterol for years and then decide to take action. By then the plaque could already have built up,” says Dr. Eugenia Gianos, director of cardiovascular prevention for Northwell Health in New York.
The good news is that lifestyle changes are reasonably effective in helping you reduce cholesterol levels. Don’t forget to exercise more, consume more fiber and maintain a healthy weight to prevent heart disease.
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