Lower Cholesterol: What’s the Difference between “Good” and “Bad” Cholesterol?
© 2005 - Mangano Publishing Inc.
Cholesterol in a nutshell is simply a type of fat. It is this type of bad cholesterol your doctor is talking about when he tells you that you need to lower your cholesterol. There is however, a type of cholesterol that is actually good for you, and instead of lowering cholesterol, some people are trying to raise their level of good cholesterol.
As with many fats, cholesterol cannot be dissolved in the blood stream, which over time means that a dangerous clogging of the blood vessels can occur. Lipoproteins carry the cholesterol throughout the blood stream to cells within the body. The Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) carries the majority of cholesterol around the body, which is an undesirable activity, as it leads to excess cholesterol. The High Density Lipoprotein or HDL is the good kind of cholesterol because this carries cholesterol straight to the liver after “picking up” the excess LDL in the blood. Here it is changed to bile and is eliminated from the blood stream or reused.
When there is too much LDL cholesterol and not enough HDL cholesterol you are at a higher risk of heart attack or stroke due to a build up in the arteries. Lowering cholesterol, the LDL variety, will make it so the HDL is better able to do its job. Likewise, raising the HDL can help eliminate excess levels of LDL. The two work together in a balancing act that will help those who have been told by doctors to lower cholesterol.
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