When we think of cholesterol, high cholesterol generally comes to mind first. The conversation around cholesterol generally centers around the problems associated with high cholesterol. We understand that high cholesterol can lead to a host of health problems including blood clots and potential heart attacks. Generally, we also know that high cholesterol can be hereditary and it can also be the result of poor diet and not enough exercise.
But did you know there’s both good and bad cholesterol? Do you know the differences between the two? Here’s a brief survey of the two types of cholesterol and how they function in your body.
LDL Cholesterol (Bad)
According to the American Heart Association, LDL cholesterol is responsible for the thick substance that can clog arteries. This substance is called plaque and can coat the interior of the arteries making it hard for blood to pass through. The buildup of plaque can result in blood clots, stroke or heart attack.
HDL Cholesterol (Good)
This kind of cholesterol, according to the American Heart Association, is actually responsible for helping rid the body of LDL or bad cholesterol. HDL cholesterol actually finds the bad cholesterol and works to break it down and remove it from the body. One-fourth of the body’s cholesterol levels are HDL cholesterol, which is enough to combat bad cholesterol in conjunction with a healthy diet and active lifestyle.
Proper Cholesterol Levels
Though levels vary based on age, gender and a host of other factors, the National Institute of Health (NIH) has developed the following information on proper cholesterol levels:
So how does someone end up with too much bad cholesterol? The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) states that poor diet, lack of physical activity, and heredity can all affect LDL cholesterol levels. The NHLBI also states that being overweight and eating a processed-food rich diet can also lower HDL levels.
It’s important to monitor cholesterol levels and receive regular checkups from your healthcare provider on an annual (or semi-annual depending on your age) basis. Questions? Give MAP® a call today. We can help you find a primary care physician for your preventive care visit. At your preventive care visit, your provider will evaluate your current health status, and look for any early warning signs of more serious problems. It’s better to get an early diagnosis and treatment now, than later.