High Cholesterol: Understanding Lipolproteins

Cholesterol is an essential building block of every cell in the body. It's made up of a fatty, wax-like substance that circulates throughout the bloodstream.

There are several different types of cholesterol. High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL) is referred to as "good" cholesterol and is thought to help protect against heart disease. HDL should remain high, as it works to get bad cholesterol out of the body. The American Heart Association recommends that men and women should keep their HDL levels above 60mg/dL.

Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL) is known as "bad" cholesterol and contributes to the build-up of plaque around the artery walls. High levels of LDL can cause the arteries to harden or rupture and lead to strokes and heart attacks. The American Heart Association and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute both state that everyone's LDL should be below 100 for optimal health.

Triglycerides are another type of cholesterol in the bloodstream that is made up of extra calories that the body doesn't use. A triglyceride level below 150 mg/dL is considered normal. High levels of triglycerides often go hand-in-hand with high levels of LDL or low levels of HDL.

When diagnosed with high cholesterol, one or more types of cholesterol may be within an abnormal range. High cholesterol (hypercholesterolemia) is a lipid disorder that refers to the abundance of fatty substances in the bloodstream.

There are a number of factors that can increase your risk of high cholesterol. Being a man or a post-menopausal woman increases your risk, as does family history and diabetes. Other risk factors include:

Poor dietObesityLack of exerciseSmoking

Lifestyle changes, such as eating a high-fiber diet and exercising regularly can help to keep cholesterol levels down. In addition to lifestyle changes, your doctor may recommend taking medications. There are several different types of cholesterol medications, all which are effective in lowering cholesterol levels quickly.

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