Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Cholesterol - A Better Understanding Of The Good And The Bad

Typically, when the word cholesterol is mentioned people automatically assume something bad but cholesterol can be both good and bad.

Because cholesterol can be both good and bad it's important to learn what it is and how it affects your health, as well as what you can do in regards to treatment if the need be. In a nutshell, there are two types of cholesterol - LDL and HDL.

High-density lipoprotein (HDL) or good cholesterol is carried in the blood stream. HDL cholesterol is considered good because it protects our heart from strokes and other cardiovascular diseases. As a result, low levels of HDL increase the risk of heart attack. The optimal level of good cholesterol is about 40mg/dL.

On the other hand, bad cholesterol, also known as low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is considered bad because if present in excessive quantities has a tendency to clog in the arteries which increases the chances of heat attacks or other heart related diseases.

When excessive amounts are present in an individuals blood it has a tendency to build up on the inner walls of the arteries that feed the heart and brain and together, with other substances it forms form plaque. Plaque is a thick, hard deposit that clogs arteries which results in a condition known as atherosclerosis.

The optimal level of bad cholesterol is 200mg/dL or less. Higher amounts tend to increase the chance of heart problems due to an increased change of clogged arteries.

Another important factor regarding optimal cholesterol health is triglycerides. Triglycerides, which are a form of fat, are also produced by the body but they are also come certain types of food. The reason triglycerides are important is because individuals with high triglycerides tend to also have high total cholesterol levels - high LDL or bad cholesterol and low HDL or good cholesterol levels.

Because cholesterol levels change it's important to get them checked fairly regularly. Proper cholesterol levels are a major part of optimum health and so it's important to understand where you stand. Do you have too much of the bad, too little of the good, are both out of whack or ideally, are both good cholesterol and bad cholesterol in check.

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About the Author:

By Shelby Ryan. Visit cholesterol monitor or cholesterol test kit or reducing cholesterol for more information on cholesterol.

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