What's the Difference Between LDL and HDL Cholesterol?
Why LDL cholesterol is 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. Together with other substances it can form plaque, a thick, hard deposit that can clog those arteries. This condition is known as atherosclerosis. If a clot forms and blocks a narrowed artery, it can cause a heart attack or stroke. The levels of HDL cholesterol and LDL cholesterol in the blood are measured to evaluate the risk of having a heart attack. LDL cholesterol of less than 100 mg/dL is the optimal level. Less than 130 mg/dL is near optimal for most people. A high LDL level (more than 160 mg/dL or 130 mg/dL or above if you have two or more risk factors for cardiovascular disease) reflects an increased risk of heart disease. That's why LDL cholesterol is often called "bad" cholesterol. Why HDL cholesterol is considered "good"?
About one-third to one-fourth of blood cholesterol is carried by high-density lipoprotein (HDL). HDL cholesterol is known as the "good" cholesterol because a high level of it seems to protect against heart attack. (Low HDL cholesterol levels [less than 40 mg/dL] increase the risk for heart disease.) Medical experts think that HDL tends to carry cholesterol away from the arteries and back to the liver, where it's passed from the body. Some experts believe that HDL removes excess cholesterol from plaque in arteries, thus slowing the buildup. What is Lp(a) cholesterol?
Lp(a) is a genetic variation of plasma LDL. A high level of Lp(a) is an important risk factor for developing fatty deposits in arteries prematurely. The way an increased Lp(a) contributes to disease isn't understood. The lesions in artery walls contain substances that may interact with Lp(a), leading to the buildup of fatty deposits. The triglyceride connection
Triglyceride is a form of fat. It comes from food and is also made in your body. People with high triglycerides often have high total cholesterol, high LDL cholesterol and a low HDL cholesterol level. Many people with heart disease also have high triglyceride levels. People with diabetes or who are obese are also likely to have high triglycerides. Triglyceride levels of less than 150 mg/dL are normal; levels from 150-199 are borderline high. Levels...