Understanding Cholesterol – LDL vs. HDL and Everything In Between

Posted April 3, 2008 in Healthy Lifestyle, Medical 2 Comments »

Since I am operating a healthy lifestyle blog here, I feel that it is important to address some life or death medical considerations at times. Therefore, today we talk about cholesterol. While circulating blood cholesterol is important to know about, you can also gauge increased cholesterol levels my examining the molecules that transport the cholesterol to the cells. An increase in the number of dense fat-transporting molecules surely means an increase in the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Arterial Cholesterol


In order for cholesterol to travel through blood, it must attach itself to small fat-carrying proteins called lipoproteins. A lipoprotein is a biochemical assembly that contains both proteins and lipids. Many molecules in the blood, including enzymes, transporters, and structural proteins, are lipoproteins. The higher the proportion of protein to lipid in the lipoprotein, the greater is its density. The greater the density of the lipoprotein, the more cholesterol it is transporting around to your organs.

The least dense lipoproteins are the chylomicrons, which carry very little cholesterol.

Next, come the very low-density lipoproteins (VLDL), which roughly carry 15% of the circulating cholesterol.

Following the VLDL are the LDL which are the most notorious since they carry roughly 65% of all circulating cholesterol. High LDL levels are almost always a sure sign of atherosclerosis, a life-threatening heart condition. This means an unusually dangerous amount of cholesterol is present in your blood, and therefore arteries, at any given time. Chance are you will end up with major blockages at precarious locations.

Lastly comes the “good” cholesterol, high-density lipoproteins (HDL), which are the smallest and densest of the lipid-carriers. These actually carry cholesterol from the cells to the liver so that they can be processed as bile acids, excreted in the bile as cholesterol, or returned to the plasma as a component of VLDL. In other words, they dispose of the cholesterol.

How Do I Lower My Cholesterol?

There are several notable factors that can dramatically influence blood cholesterol levels.

  1. First of all, exercise more through resistance training methods. This will help control weight and elevate HDL levels.
  2. Second, you should try to lose weight since overweight individuals tend to exhibit higher cholesterol readings than thinner people due to the excess lipids floating around in their bodies.
  3. Third, eliminate high cholesterol foods, high trans fats foods, and foods high in saturated fat from your diet.
  4. Finally, add in some additional cardiovascular exercise to really get your cardiovascular system in shape.
  5. Also, don’t forget to drink 8 glasses of water a day to flush out the system.

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