LDL Cholesterol: The "Bad" Cholesterol Explained

By Janice Larsen
Updated October 18, 2016
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LDL Cholesterol: The "Bad" Cholesterol ExplainedIf you are concerned about heart disease or you are looking for ways to protect yourself from the onset of this disease at a later stage in your life, then it is important to think about cholesterol. Cholesterol that are found in the blood can be categorized into "good" cholesterol, or HDL, and "bad" cholesterol, known as LDL cholesterol. The LDL version is the kind that puts your heart at risk, while HDL cholesterol does the opposite.

Cholesterol is a fatty substance that is transported to various parts of the body through blood circulation. The problem with LDL cholesterol is that it can collect within the walls of various blood vessels and create blockages. The higher your level of LDL cholesterol, the higher is your risk when it comes to heart attack issues and other problems that might occur as a result of blood clots within the blood vessels.

Understanding LDL Cholesterol:

In most circumstances, higher than normal levels of LDL cholesterol in the blood will be associated with a higher risk of suffering from diseases like atherosclerosis and heart disease. Because of this, if a doctor notices a high level of LDL in your blood during a standard cholesterol or lipid test, he or she will look for ways to help you reduce that level and try to get it within the normal range.

Within the body are special receptors on cell surfaces that can bind with LDL cholesterol, and these are known as LDL receptors. A decrease in these LDL receptors may lead to the reduced uptake of cholesterol by various cells, which forces that cholesterol to stay within the circulation system, resulting in a high level in the blood. In conditions such as familial hypercholesterolemia, a genetic disorder within the body, it is impossible for the body to naturally remove LDL from the blood, which can lead to higher than normal level of LDL cholesterol. People with this condition often find themselves at severe risk of suffering from heart disease, even at a young age.

In most cases, a higher level of HDL cholesterol can help you to fight back against the problem of LDL cholesterol, because this can help remove the LDL cholesterol from your blood and stop it from building up within the walls of arteries and blood vessels. This is why many doctors recommend exercise when LDL levels are high, because exercise is great for generating new HDL.

How Can You Lower Your LDL Cholesterol Level?

If you have particularly high levels of LDL cholesterol, then your doctor is likely to recommend that you consider a number of lifestyle changes. For example, people would be advised to quit smoking and reconsider their diet. One of the best ways to control your level of LDL is to manage your weight carefully, as lower weights generally lead to lower amounts of LDL. What's more, some studies have suggested that diets with low amounts of carbohydrates can positively impact LDL particle number and size.

If changes to your lifestyle don't help, your doctor may suggest that you consider medications for lowering cholesterol. Here, statins might be the most common and popular answer. There are also various other medications that can help to prevent the body from absorbing cholesterol.





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This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other health-care professional.