Which is better: high density lipoprotein or HDL cholesterol?

Which is better: high density lipoprotein or HDL cholesterol?

Higher levels of HDL cholesterol, or "good" cholesterol, are preferable. High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol is referred to as "good" cholesterol since it aids in the removal of other types of cholesterol from the circulation. Low levels of HDL cholesterol increase one's risk of developing heart disease.

High density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol removes excess cholesterol from cells and transports it back to the liver where it can be eliminated in bile or stored in the fat tissue. A low level of HDL may increase your risk for cardiovascular disease because unhealthy fats such as triglycerides build up in blood vessels. As these vessels become more saturated with fatty acids, they become less flexible and may eventually block small blood vessels in the heart or brain leading to heart attack or stroke.

There are three main types of HDL particles: alpha, beta, and pre-beta. Alpha particles are large (>8.5 nm), carry a lot of protein, and are responsible for removing excess cholesterol from tissues throughout the body. Beta particles are smaller (4-8.5 nm), lack protein, and accumulate in areas of the body where cholesterol is deposited such as arteries, heart, and lungs. Pre-beta particles are even smaller (2-4 nm) and do not contain protein. They are found in higher amounts in men than women and in people with many of the conditions associated with high LDL levels.

What is the difference between good cholesterol and bad cholesterol?

In general, HDL is regarded as "good" cholesterol, whereas LDL is seen as "bad." This is because HDL transports cholesterol to the liver, where it is eliminated from the circulation before it deposits in the arteries. LDL, on the other hand, transports cholesterol to your arteries. So, by raising your HDL levels and keeping your LDL levels low you are taking steps to protect yourself against heart disease and other diseases associated with arterial damage.

However, this distinction is not always clear-cut. For example, studies have shown that people with high levels of HDL still suffer from heart disease even though they have high levels of this "good" cholesterol. Conversely, people with high levels of LDL may actually be at a lower risk for heart disease than those with lower levels. Thus, the relationship between cholesterol levels in the blood and heart disease remains complex.

Furthermore, there are two types of cholesterol: saturated and unsaturated. Saturated fats increase blood cholesterol levels more than unsaturated fats do. However, both types of fat raise blood cholesterol levels to some extent. Unsaturated fats come from foods such as nuts, seeds, fatty fish, avocado, and olive oil. Satured fats include meats, dairy products, and partially hydrogenated oils like those used in many packaged foods. The main source of saturated fat for the average person is meat. Too much saturated fat can lead to obesity and heart disease.

What do HDL lipoproteins do?

HDL (high-density lipoprotein), sometimes known as "good" cholesterol, absorbs cholesterol and transports it to the liver. It is then flushed from the body by the liver. High HDL cholesterol levels can reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke. Low levels of HDL cholesterol are associated with an increased risk of heart disease.

There are two types of HDL particles: alpha and beta. They differ in size and density. Alpha-1 HDL particles are small (about 80 amino acids) and very dense (about 1.063 g/mL). They promote the removal of excess cholesterol from cells. Beta-1 HDL particles are larger (120-150 amino acids) and less dense (0.9-1.03 g/mL). They also play a role in removing cholesterol from cells but to a lesser extent than alpha-1 particles. Beta-2 HDL particles are smaller yet (50-70 amino acids) and even more sparse (0.4-0.5 g/mL). They function as transport vehicles for cholesterol and other substances between tissues and organs.

The amount of HDL cholesterol in your blood is called your HDL-C level. You can use this number along with your total cholesterol level to determine your risk of heart disease. The higher your ratio of HDL to total cholesterol, the lower your risk.

Why are HDL particles called "good cholesterol"?

High-density lipoprotein (HDL) particles are referred described as "good" cholesterol because some of them remove cholesterol from the bloodstream and artery walls and return it to the liver for excretion. Julie Corliss wrote this. HDL protects heart tissue by removing excess cholesterol and fatty acids that can build up in blood vessels, which is important in preventing cardiovascular disease.

However, not all forms of HDL are equal. There are three main types of HDL: large, fluffy particles; small, dense particles; and pre-beta particles. Only the first two types of HDL protect against cardiovascular disease. Pre-beta particles are not as effective at removing cholesterol and may even be harmful because they are produced too early in the process of making HDL. Too little of any type of HDL is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

There are several factors that can affect the amount of HDL in your blood. Diet plays an important role. Eating foods such as avocado, salmon, eggs, and almonds can increase your levels of HDL. So can taking certain medications, such as statins to reduce LDL ("bad") cholesterol or ezetimibe to decrease absorption of cholesterol from food or supplements. Alcohol consumption appears to have a negative effect on HDL levels; studies show that heavy drinkers have lower amounts of HDL than moderate drinkers. Smoking lowers HDL levels as well.

Is a 140 cholesterol level good or bad?

Using the statistics above, you can see that an LDL cholesterol level of 140 is borderline high. There's also HDL (High Density Lipoprotein) cholesterol, which is commonly referred to as "good cholesterol." The greater the HDL cholesterol level, the better. HDL cholesterol levels of 60 mg/dL or above are regarded as healthy. So, in this case, your HDL cholesterol level is 40 mg/dL.

Borderline high blood cholesterol levels are usually not cause for concern. However, if yours is higher than this, talk with your doctor about possible ways to reduce it.

Can good cholesterol harm you?

That's because high-density lipoprotein (HDL, or "good" cholesterol) can be harmful to your health in some cases. In reality, evidence indicates that HDL can behave improperly, clogging and damaging the arteries (the tubes that transport blood from the heart to the body) rather than moving LDL cholesterol away from the arteries, which is how HDL is supposed to protect against heart disease. However, there are several factors that may increase your risk of having low HDL levels, including age, gender, genetics, smoking, weight loss or obesity, type 2 diabetes, alcohol abuse, and drug use.

So what does this mean for you? Simply put, if you have low levels of HDL, it means you have a higher risk of developing heart disease. The best way to reduce this risk is through changes to your lifestyle - particularly by exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables.

However, your doctor can also give you drugs to boost your HDL levels.

About Article Author

Brock Green

Dr. Green has worked in hospitals for over 20 years and is considered an expert in his field. He's been a medical doctor, researcher, and professor before becoming the chief of surgery at one of the largest hospitals in America. He graduated from Harvard Medical School and went on to receive his specialization from Johns Hopkins University Hospital.


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