3 Types of Cholesterol in the Body, let’s Get to Know It Better!

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Make no mistake, cholesterol is not a disease

cholesterol illustration (flickr.com/Bobi Muceto)

We often hear or even talk about cholesterol. But do you know what cholesterol is? Often misunderstood, cholesterol is not a disease. Cholesterol is actually a result of the body metabolizing the fats we eat. Cholesterol is essential for the body and the body produces it on its own. 

Cholesterol in our body actually consists of several components, each of which has its own characteristics, roles and amounts that identify specific body conditions. So that you understand better, let’s recognize the types of cholesterol in the body and what their roles are that have been summarized from the book STOP! High Cholesterol.

1. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL)

cholesterol test illustration (flickr.com/vectorbug)

LDL is often referred to as bad cholesterol. LDL is called bad fat because it has a tendency to stick to the walls of blood vessels and cause blood vessels to narrow or block. LDL cholesterol can stick because it is oxidized or damaged by free radicals. 

LDL transports the most cholesterol in the blood. High levels of LDL cause cholesterol in the arteries to settle. According to MedlinePlus, too much LDL cholesterol in the blood will increase the risk of coronary artery disease and other heart diseases.

Excessive cholesterol in the blood will easily stick to the inner wall of the blood vessels. LDL will then penetrate the deeper wall of the blood vessel, the intima.

2. High-density lipoprotein (HDL)

illustration of cholesterol test results (flickr.com/Naoto Sato)

HDL is nicknamed the good cholesterol. This is because HDL can remove excess bad cholesterol in the arteries back to the liver. Then, excess LDL can be broken down and reused or excreted from the body. HDL prevents cholesterol deposition in the arteries and protects blood vessels from the process of atherosclerosis (plaque formation on the walls of blood vessels).

HDL transports less cholesterol than LDL. As quoted from BHR Pharmaceuticals, high levels of HDL cannot fight LDL, and only one-third of cholesterol is carried by HDL. Instead, HDL helps the body to get rid of the excess it doesn’t need. That’s why we should have healthy HDL levels. 

The main protein that makes up HDL is Apo A (apolipoprotein A). HDL has a lower fat content and has a high density, making it heavier.

3. Triglycerides

fatty food illustration (pixabay.com/Chepearroyo)

Besides LDL and HDL, it is also important to know about triglycerides, which is a type of fat found in the blood and various organs in the body. Elevated triglyceride levels in the blood can also lead to elevated cholesterol levels.

Many factors can affect blood triglyceride levels, including obesity, alcohol, sugar and fatty food intake.

Triglycerides are blood fats that tend to increase with alcohol consumption, weight gain, consumption of sugary and fatty foods, and lifestyle. Increased triglycerides will increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Now you know what cholesterol is and its types. So, don’t misperceive anymore and think that cholesterol is a disease. Our body needs cholesterol, but only a certain amount. Excessive amounts will be harmful to health.

To find out information on cholesterol levels, you can check cholesterol at the nearest health care facility. If the test results show high cholesterol, you can immediately take steps to lower it to avoid the risk of serious diseases such as stroke, heart disease, and others.

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