|All about cholesterol LDL cholesterol effects of LDL cholesterol HDL cholesterol HDL cholesterol benefits raising HDL Cholesterol level testing and measuring cholesterol cholesterol readings monitoring cholesterol causes of high cholesterol high cholesterol risk factors symptoms of high cholesterol triglycerides testing triglycerides therapy to lower cholesterol low cholesterol diet cholesterol recipes cholesterol medications nutritional supplements to reduce cholesterol low cholesterol food
What is LDL cholesterol (low density lipoproteins)?
Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol provides cholesterol for necessary body functions, but in excessive amounts it tends to accumulate in artery walls; known as "bad" cholesterol. LDL is the major cholesterol carrier in the blood. If there is too much LDL circulating in the blood, the cholesterol may be deposited in artery walls, contributing to atherosclerosis. It is sometimes called "bad" cholesterol. LDL is the most numerous cholesterol carrier found in the blood.
It is also the material that contributes most to the build up of plaque on artery walls. Plaque forms when LDL combines with other substances and sticks to the walls of arteries. Decreasing the amount of LDL cholesterol in the blood is an important part of decreasing risk of heart disease.
Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) refers to a class and range of lipoprotein particles, varying somewhat in their size and contents, which carry cholesterol in the blood and around the body, for use by various cells. It is commonly referred to as "bad cholesterol" due to the link between high LDL levels and cardiovascular disease. Generally, LDL transports cholesterol and triglycerides away from cells and tissues that produce more than they use, towards cells and tissues which are taking up cholesterol and triglycerides. Because LDL transports cholesterol to the arteries, increased levels are associated with atherosclerosis, and thus myocardial infarctions, strokes and peripheral vascular disease. This is why cholesterol inside LDL lipoproteins is called bad cholesterol. Still, it is not the cholesterol that is bad; it is instead how and where it is being transported, and in what amounts over time.
Increasing evidence has revealed that the concentration and size of the LDL particles more powerfully relates to the degree of atherosclerosis progression than the concentration of cholesterol contained within all the LDL particles. Having low concentrations of large LDL particles is the healthy pattern. Conversely, high concentrations of small LDL particles, despite the same total cholesterol content correlates with much faster growth of atheroma and progression of atherosclerosis. LDL is formed as VLDL lipoproteins lose triglyceride through the action of lipoprotein lipase (LPL), and become smaller and denser containing a higher proportion of cholesterol. A hereditary form of high LDL is familial hypercholesterolemia (FH). Increased LDL is termed hyperlipoproteinemia type II (after the dated Fredrickson classification).
More information on cholesterol
What is cholesterol? - Cholesterol is a steroid lipid, found in the cell membranes of all body tissues, and transported in the blood plasma, of all animals.
What is LDL cholesterol? - Low-density lipoprotein (or "bad") cholesterol carries the largest amount of cholesterol in the blood and is responsible for depositing cholesterol in the artery walls. An elevated LDL cholesterol level is associated with a greater risk of heart disease.
Why is LDL cholesterol considered "bad"? - When too much LDL cholesterol circulates in the blood, it can slowly build up in the inner walls of the arteries that feed the heart and brain.
What is HDL cholesterol? - High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol is one of several types of fats and is measured as 'Total Cholesterol'. HDL is thought to pick up cholesterol from body tissues and bring it back to the liver for reprocessing or excretion.
Why is HDL cholesterol considered "good"? - Because HDL clears cholesterol out of the system and high levels of it are associated with a decreased risk of heart disease, HDL is often called "good" cholesterol.
How to raise HDL Cholesterol (good cholesterol)? - Regular aerobic exercise, loss of excess weight (fat), and cessation of cigarette smoking cigarettes will increase HDL cholesterol levels.
How cholesterol is measured and tested? - Cholesterol is measured in units called millimoles per litre of blood, usually shortened to "mmol/litre" or "mmol/l".
What're the cholesterol readings? - Cholesterol readings you receive from your medical provider generally include total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and high density lipoproteins cholesterol levels.
How often should my cholesterol be checked? - According to a new set of national guidelines governing cholesterol measurement and treatment, it is recommended that the level be treated every 5 years.
What causes high cholesterol? - High cholesterol is caused by eating a diet that is high in saturated fats and cholesterol. Some people, however, have an inherited disorder in which the body cannot properly metabolize cholesterol.
What are the high cholesterol risk factors? - A diet high in certain types of fats is one factor. Medical problems such as poorly controlled diabetes, an underactive thyroid gland, an overactive pituitary gland, liver disease or kidney failure also may cause high cholesterol levels.
What're the symptoms of high cholesterol? - People with severely elevated cholesterol may have fat deposits in tendons and skin, liver and spleen enlargement, and abdominal pain if pancreatitis develops.
What are triglycerides? - Triglycerides are another type of fat that is associated with adverse health consequences. Many patients with high cholesterol also have high triglycerides.
How to test triglycerides? - For triglycerides testing, blood is drawn from a vein in the arm. A vein at the inside of the elbow or on the back of the hand is usually selected.
How can LDL cholesterol levels be lowered? - Lowering low-density lipoprotein cholesterol involves losing excess weight, exercising regularly, and following a diet that is low in saturated fat and cholesterol.
How to reduce cholesterol with dietary therapy? - A low-fat, low-cholesterol diet is desired to keep your total fat consumption--saturated, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated--to fewer than 30 percent of your daily intake of calories.
What about when I go out to eat? - Avoid fried foods. Entrees covered with sauces, as well as creamy dressing, thick soups and casseroles should be avoided because they are usually rich in fat. Look for items labeled "heart-healthy" on the menu.
What cholesterol medications are available to lower cholesterol? - Cholesterol-reducing drugs include cholestyramine (Questran), colestipol (Colestid), gemfibrozil (Lopid), lovastatin (Mevacor), pravastatin (Pravachol) and simvastatin (Zocor).
What nutritional supplements are available to reduce cholesterol? - Artichoke is particularly helpful in relieving gastrointestinal problems that result from an inability to adequately process fats. Garlic assists the heart for centuries and has been used in herbal medicines for all manner of conditions.
What cholesterol lowering food are there? - Eating more fiber-rich foods may help to lower your blood cholesterol level. Soy products are also linked to reduced cholesterol because of their isoflavone content.