LDL vs. HDL Cholesterol

Perhaps you’ve heard of good cholesterol versus bad cholesterol, or HDL versus LDL, but you’re unsure as to where those numbers should fall to be within healthy ranges.

At Humble Cardiology Associates, under the expert direction of Dr. Madaiah Revana, our team of cardiology experts believes in partnering with patients for great heart health. As part of our efforts, we believe that education is extremely important, as it allows you to better control your health, which is especially true of cholesterol levels.

With that in mind, here’s a look at the two different types of cholesterol and why the proper balance between the two is so important to your cardiovascular health.

Understanding cholesterol

Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in your blood that’s created by the foods you eat and your liver. 

Your cholesterol is carried by two different types of lipoproteins:

LDL

Also known as your “bad” cholesterol, LDL stands for low-density lipoproteins, and this measurement makes up the larger portion of your overall cholesterol count.

HDL

HDL, which is also called your “good” cholesterol, stands for high-density lipoproteins, and their primary role is to absorb the cholesterol in your bloodstream and cart it off to your liver, where it’s processed and flushed out of your body.

Under ideal circumstances, your HDLs effectively keep the levels of LDL low, but when this balance is upset, your blood can be overrun with LDL cholesterol, which can cause a dangerous buildup in your arteries that puts you more at risk for heart disease and stroke.

Understanding your cholesterol numbers

When you receive your cholesterol numbers, you generally receive a total cholesterol level, along with a more detailed breakout of your LDL and HDL counts. 

There’s also another type of fat in your blood called triglycerides, and when it’s high, it contributes to cardiovascular disease, too. But for the purposes of this blog, we’re only going to discuss HDL and LDL.

To have healthy cholesterol levels, your HDL (good) should be 50 or higher in men and 40 or higher for women. An HDL level of 60 or higher is even better. Your LDL (bad) level should fall below 100, and even lower if you have a pre-existing condition like coronary artery disease.

If your LDL numbers are too high, you may not have enough HDL in your blood to process the excess cholesterol and take it to the liver to be removed. 

On the other side of the coin, if you have HDL numbers that fall below 40, this means that you don’t have the resources necessary to rid your blood of the bad cholesterol.

The first step in determining where your HDL and LDL numbers fall is to come in for a quick-and-easy test. Then we can recommend lifestyle changes if they’re needed to help you get your cholesterol numbers in healthy ranges. 

To get started on this important preventive practice, simply contact one of our offices in Humble or Houston, Texas, to set up an appointment.

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