Cholesterol is a fatlike substance naturally found in our body especially in the blood.
Healthy amounts of cholesterol help our body with building cells and producing hormones.
If you’ve done a blood test before, you’ll see several forms of cholesterol reading. Cholesterol comes in the form of good cholesterol, bad cholesterol, and triglycerides
Low-density Lipoprotein (LDL) or Bad Cholesterol
Anything in excess is bad. Same goes with LDL cholesterol. LDL cholesterol is considered the “bad” cholesterol as it contributes to fatty buildups in arteries.
In excess, LDL can build up in artery walls, interfere with the blood flow, and increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes. This condition is known as atherosclerosis wherein thick plaque narrows the arteries and limits the amount of blood they can deliver to the organs.
The lower your LDL cholesterol is, the better.
High-density Lipoprotein (HDL) or Good Cholesterol
About 25% of blood cholesterol is carried by HDL. HDL cholesterol is considered the “good” cholesterol, because high levels of HDL seem to protect against heart attack.
What HDL does is carry LDL (bad) cholesterol away from the arteries and send it back to the liver. In the liver, LDL is broken down and removed from the body. But since only around 25% of the body cholesterol is carried by HDL, it cannot completely eliminate LDL cholesterol.
In the case of HDL cholesterol, the higher the level is, the better. If HDL levels are too low, the risk for heart disease goes up.
When people say “fat” in our food, they often mean Triglycerides. Triglycerides are the most common type of fat in the body, found in fatty foods and made from excess energy from your diet, such as carbohydrates.
Again, in excess, triglyceride may contribute to heart disease. But in healthy amounts, they provide fuel for the body.
Eating healthier foods, exercising, and controlling weight can prevent high triglycerides.
In summary, a high LDL (bad) cholesterol combined with low HDL (good) cholesterol and high triglyceride level is linked with fatty buildups within the artery walls, which increases the risk of heart attack and stroke.
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