There are two main varieties of cholesterol: high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL). (Lipoproteins are made of fat and protein, and serve as vehicles for your cholesterol to travel through the blood.) Cardiologists are often asked about low-density lipoprotein (LDL) versus high-density lipoprotein (HDL). The difference is important to understand.
What does HDL cholesterol do?
HDL clears from the body via the liver. HDL might so stop the buildup of plaque, defend your arteries, and defend you from atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. It is thought of the “good” cholesterol, and higher levels are better. A goal is higher than 55 mg/dL for women and 45 mg/dL for men. The greater your HDL cholesterol numbers, the lower your risk is for heart disease, vascular disease, and stroke.
How to increase HDL cholesterol
Although HDL levels are driven by family genetics, you’ll improve HDL levels in three keyways:
Lastly, primarily used to decrease high LDL, some statin medications may potentially increase HDL levels moderately. Any medical treatment possibility ought to be mentioned together with your doctor. Importantly, high HDL doesn’t shield you from the untoward effects of high LDL.
What does LDL cholesterol do?
LDL is considered the “bad” cholesterol. It carries cholesterol to your arteries, where it may collect in the vessel walls and contribute to plaque formation, known as atherosclerosis. This can lead to decreased blood flow to the heart muscle (coronary artery disease), leg muscles (peripheral artery disease), or abrupt closure of an artery in the heart or brain, leading to a heart attack or stroke. Over one-third of the US, the population has high LDL cholesterol. Diagnosis is formed via blood testing, thus if you don’t check, you don’t know.
For LDL, the lower the number the better. A good goal to stay in mind is less than 130 mg/dL if you don’t have atherosclerotic disease or diabetes. It ought to be no more than 100 mg/dL, or even 70mg/dL, if you have any of those conditions or high total cholesterol. It’s very important to set your own target cholesterol levels together with your doctor. Obesity, a large waist circumference, a sedentary lifestyle, or a diet rich in red meat, full-fat dairy, saturated fat, trans fats, and processed foods will cause high LDL cholesterol.
How to lower LDL cholesterol
Lifestyle and diet changes area unit the most ways that to prevent or lower high LDL. A trial of eating a low-fat diet, regular aerobic activity, maintaining a healthy weight, and smaller waist circumference is an appropriate first step. It is best to set a timeline to achieve your goals with your doctor. In some cases, if those lifestyle changes are not enough, your physician may suggest a cholesterol-lowering medication, such as a statin. If you’re considering over-the-counter herbal or ayurvedic medications for cholesterol, please discuss those with your physician first as well.
Rarely, terribly high LDL is genetic and passed down in families. This is known as familial hypercholesterolemia and is caused by a genetic mutation that decreases the liver’s ability to clear excess cholesterol. This condition will result in terribly high LDL levels, and heart attack or stroke at a young age in multiple generations. Those individuals may require special medical treatment for the prevention and treatment of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.
Remember, knowledge is the first step. If you don’t know your cholesterol levels, then please go and get tested. That will give you and your physician a starting point for lifestyle changes and medications if needed. In the meantime, implement a heart-healthy lifestyle, and do it with friends and family no matter their ages. There’s no time like the present to prevent heart disease.