Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Good and bad cholesterol?

We often hear about good cholesterol and bad cholesterol, such as when we read articles like Not enough 'good' cholesterol makes it harder to recover from stroke. Unfortunately, many people don’t understand what bad or good cholesterol are and what the difference is between the two.

First, what is cholesterol? Cholesterol is a fat-like substance that is produced by our liver and ingested through food. We need cholesterol as a building block for healthy cells walls and tissues, among other things. However, cholesterol can also be dangerous as it can build up and block blood flow.

The so-called good cholesterol, the one we need to keep healthy is called high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and the so-called bad cholesterol is called low-density lipoprotein (LDL). A trick to remember which is which – you want the good cholesterol to be high so HDL; you want the bad cholesterol to be low, so LDL.

The American Heart Association has this great section, What Your Cholesterol Levels Mean to help you understand the numbers and what numbers you want to see when your blood is tested.

Since it’s known that high LDL can contribute to heart disease and stroke, everyone – particularly those with heart disease in the family – should know their baseline cholesterol levels. The earlier you know your levels, the earlier you can begin working on prevention. If your levels are normal, your goal is to keep it normal; if your levels are too high for LDL, then your goals are lower your numbers.

News for Today:

Trained patients show improved cholesterol levels
Too little milk, exercise, sunshine hurting kids
Mental health hotlines help American farmers
City women more likely to have denser breasts, study suggests
High-glycemic index carbohydrates associated with risk for developing type 2 diabetes in women
Patient knowledge of heart risk profile may help improve cholesterol management
Not enough 'good' cholesterol makes it harder to recover from stroke
Attitudes toward mammography differ across ethnicities, cultures, backgrounds

1 comment:

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