What's the Difference Between Good and Bad Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a type of fat that is found in your blood. It is necessary for the normal functioning of your body, but having too much of it increases your risk of heart disease and stroke.

Cholesterol Blood Tests

Cholesterol have two types:

Low-density lipoprotein

LDL "bad" cholesterol, LDL can cluster around your arteries and form plaque. Plaque is a substance made up of fat, cholesterol, and other substances found in the blood, and it can accumulate on the inner walls of your arteries.

High levels of LDL cholesterol in the blood are often referred to as "bad" cholesterol because they can increase the risk of these health problems.

High-density lipoprotein

HDL or "good" cholesterol, HDL helps to remove excess cholesterol from the body and can help to protect against the development of plaque in the arteries.

It removes excess cholesterol and transports it to your liver to eliminated. Having high levels of HDL cholesterol is generally considered to be healthy, as it is thought to protect against heart disease and other conditions related to the build-up of cholesterol in the blood vessels.

It is important to maintain a healthy balance of LDL and HDL cholesterol in your body. High levels of LDL cholesterol increases your chances of getting heart disease, on the other hand,  high levels of HDL cholesterol protects you against heart disease.

How to Know If You Have HDL or LDL

To determine high levels of HDL or LDL, you will need to have a blood test called a lipid panel or cholesterol test. This test measures the levels of different types of cholesterol and lipoproteins in your blood.

The test will require a lipid panel as part of a routine physical examination. The results of your lipid panel will be reported in milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). A good HDL level is at 60 mg/dL or higher to help protect against heart disease. If your HDL level is below 40 mg/dL, you may be at increased risk for heart disease. However, other factors such as your total cholesterol level, LDL level, and the presence of other risk factors, also play a role in your overall risk for heart disease.

Other Factors to Know If You Have High Cholesterol

Aside from blood test, there are a other ways to determine high cholesterol: 

     Physical symptoms. In some cases, high cholesterol may cause physical symptoms such as chest pain or a yellowish bump on the skin (xanthoma). However, it's important to note that many people with high cholesterol do not experience any physical symptoms.

     Family history. If your genes have high levels of cholesterol or heart disease, you may be at an increased risk for developing high cholesterol.

If you are at an increased risk due to family history or have other factors such as being overweight, having high blood pressure, or living a sedentary lifestyle, it is best to have yourself checked for prevention and early treatment.

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