What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance found in every cell of the body. It is used to help digest fats, strengthen cell membranes and make hormones. Although cholesterol serves many important functions in the body, too much cholesterol in the blood can be dangerous. When blood cholesterol reaches high levels, it can build up on artery walls, increasing the risk of blood clots, heart attack and stroke.
The bloodstream transports cholesterol throughout the body by special carriers called lipoproteins. The two major lipoproteins are high density lipoproteins (HDL) and low density lipoproteins (LDL). LDL is most often referred to as the "bad" cholesterol and HDL is known as the "good" cholesterol.
LDL - The "BAD" cholesterol
LDL LDL carries most of the cholesterol 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.
HDL - The "GOOD" cholesterol
HDL HDL cholesterol makes up a smaller portion of the cholesterol carriers. However, HDLs are probably just as, if not more important than LDLs in preventing heart disease. HDL removes cholesterol from the blood by carrying it to the liver where it is metabolized. Therefore, it is beneficial to have high levels of HDL in the blood.
Lower-Your-Cholesterol.net is not dispensing medical advice. Questions about your own cholesterol levels should be addressed to your physician.
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