Good and Bad Cholesterol: Understand the Difference

Good and Bad Cholesterol: Understand the Difference

High cholesterol, along with high blood pressure and smoking, is one of the greatest risk factors for developing heart disease. According to the CDC, about one in six adults in the U.S. has high cholesterol. The good news – it’s possible to lower cholesterol with exercise, a healthy diet and medications.

There are two main types of cholesterol: high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. If you’re going to keep your cholesterol at a healthy level, it’s essential to learn more about the two types of cholesterol and the differences between them.

Bad vs. good cholesterol

LDL cholesterol is frequently referred to as “bad” cholesterol. If you have too much bad cholesterol in your blood, it can build up on your blood vessel walls, making them stiffen and narrow. This buildup of bad cholesterol can limit blood flow, raising your risk of a stroke or heart attack.

HDL cholesterol, also known as “good” cholesterol, works to move bad cholesterol from the blood and into the liver. The liver then breaks it down and disposes of it as waste. The reason HDL cholesterol is often called good cholesterol is because it helps reduce the amount of bad cholesterol in your blood. Having higher levels of HDL cholesterol can reduce your risk of stroke and heart attack.

Healthy cholesterol levels

Your cholesterol levels can be measured with a simple blood test. Healthy cholesterol levels should fall in these ranges:

How can you lower bad cholesterol levels?

To reduce your risk of heart disease, heart attack and stroke, it’s crucial to lower your levels of bad cholesterol. If you want to learn how you can lower bad cholesterol, you first need to understand some of the common cause of high cholesterol. Inactivity, eating foods high in saturated fats, smoking, obesity, certain medical conditions and even genetics can cause high levels of LDL cholesterol.

Certain lifestyle changes are particularly effective in helping you lower bad cholesterol. If you have high cholesterol or you want to prevent it, key lifestyle changes include:

Tips for improving good cholesterol levels

HDL cholesterol is helpful in lowering levels of bad cholesterol, so it’s a good idea to focus on increasing your good cholesterol, particularly if your HDL cholesterol is too low. Great ways to raise your good cholesterol include:

Are you worried about your cholesterol levels? If you need to have your cholesterol checked or you need help managing high cholesterol, contact the Joshua Medical Group today. Call for an appointment and book online today, and we’ll work with you to reduce your cholesterol and improve your overall health.

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