Cholesterol often gets a bad rap, although your body needs to function properly. Your body uses cholesterol to produce hormones and vitamin D, as well as to aid digestion. Although your liver produces enough cholesterol to perform these activities, your body does not obtain cholesterol only from your liver. Cholesterol can also be found in meals including meat, dairy, and poultry. If you consume a lot of these items, your cholesterol levels may rise to dangerously high levels.
HDL cholesterol vs. LDL cholesterol
High-density lipoprotein (HDL) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) are the two main kinds of cholesterol (LDL). Cholesterol circulates through your body while contained within lipoproteins.
Good cholesterol aka HDL is referred to as good because it delivers cholesterol to your liver, where it is excreted from your nervous system HDL aids in the removal of excess cholesterol from the body, reducing the likelihood of it accumulating in the arteries.
Bad cholesterol aka LDL is is bad because it transports cholesterol to your arteries, where it may accumulate in the vessel walls. A buildup of plaque and other metabolites in your arteries caused by too much cholesterol is known as atherosclerosis.
Plaque buildup can also impair blood flow and oxygen delivery to important organs. In addition to a heart attack and potential stroke, oxygen deprivation in your organs or arteries can cause renal disease or peripheral arterial disease.
Understand your numbers.
Over 31% of Americans have elevated LDL cholesterol, according to the Centers for Disease ControlTrusted Source. Because high cholesterol does not generate obvious symptoms, you may be unaware of it.
A blood test that measures cholesterol in milligrammes per deciliter of blood (mg/dL) is the only way to find out if your cholesterol is high. When you get your cholesterol levels checked, you will be given results for:
Total blood cholesterol (HDL, LDL, and 20% of total triglycerides): This contains your HDL, LDL, and 20% of your total triglycerides.
Triglycerides should be less than 150 mg/dL. Triglycerides are a form of fat that is widely used. You are at risk of getting atherosclerosis if your triglycerides are high and your LDL is likewise high or your HDL is low.
The higher the HDL level, the better. It should be greater than 55 mg/dL in females and 45 mg/dL in males.
LDL cholesterol: The lower the number, the better. If you don’t have heart disease, blood vessel disease, or diabetes, it shouldn’t be more than 130 mg/dL. If you have any of these illnesses or high total cholesterol, it should be less than 100 mg/dL.