What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in our cells. Cholesterol essentially is not bad for the body as many might think. Cholesterol aids the production of various hormones, vitamins and other components that ensure the healthy functioning of our bodies.
Cholesterol is divided into two types that help us understand what kind of cholesterol we need to be worried about. In this article, we discuss the difference between these two kinds and what we must do to maintain the correct levels of them.
What are the types of cholesterol?
As discussed above, there are 2 kinds of cholesterol. There is LDL and HDL cholesterol. LDL refers to low-density lipoprotein while HDL stands for high-density lipoprotein.
What is the difference between LDL and HDL?
There are various degrees by which LDL and HDL differ. Here are the common differences between bad and good cholesterol:
LDL stands for low-density cholesterol and is considered to be the bad cholesterol. What makes LDL bad? LDL causes plaque build-up inside our arteries. This waxy buildup severely affects our heart health.
This plaque production constricts blood flow and reduces blood circulation to and from the heart. This thickening of the arteries also might result in high blood pressure due to constriction. Prolonged high LDL might make one prone to chronic cardiovascular diseases such as stroke, diabetes, peripheral vascular disease, etc.
HDL as mentioned stands for high-density cholesterol. This kind of cholesterol is considered ‘good' for the body. There are various reasons why HDL is considered good for the body. HDL improves our overall health and also helps reduce LDL in the body.
HDL collects LDL from the body and sends it to our liver. Our liver helps remove LDL from our bodies, reducing our LDL levels. Hence, by lowering our LDL, good cholesterol (HDL) significantly lowers our risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.
How much should our HDL & LDL levels be?
Similar to other components in our bodies, we can measure and improve the levels of HDL and LDL levels in the body. Cholesterol levels can be checked by taking a blood test. These tests can be performed by yourself or through a clinic/doctor.
Here are what normal levels of cholesterol should look like:
Total cholesterol: below 200 mg/dL
LDL cholesterol: less than 100 mg/dL
HDL cholesterol: above 40 mg/dL
How to maintain healthy HDL & LDL levels?
Correct levels of HDL and LDL are essential to a healthy heart and overall health. There are various factors that affect these levels. Certain lifestyle habits and changes can ensure your cholesterol levels stay in control.
Here are simple ways through which you can improve your levels of HDL and LDL:
1. Avoid foods high in LDL
2. Eat foods rich in HDL
3. Exercise regularly
4. Take medication if necessary
5. Maintain a healthy weight
6. Quit smoking
7. Reduce alcohol consumption
What's the takeaway?
Your levels of bad and good cholesterol are more important than you may think. Managing and improving your cholesterol levels is essential in maintaining a healthy and long life. Doing the proper research can help you understand your cholesterol levels. Following a healthy lifestyle by following these tips can help improve your LDL and HDL levels.
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for a qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.