The difference between HDL (GOOD) & LDL (BAD) Cholesterols

Cholesterol is a fatty substance which means it does not dissolve in our bloodstream. Because of this, cholesterol needs a special way in which to move throughout the body. This ‘transport’ system consists of two types of carriers.

Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL)-cholesterol carries cholesterol from the liver (where it is manufactured) through the bloodstream to the cells. LDL-cholesterol is called the ‘bad’ cholesterol for good reason because as LDL-cholesterol moves through the body, excess LDL-cholesterol builds up on the inside of artery wall, which causes them to narrow and become less flexible. This is known as atherosclerosis and is what increases your chance of a heart attack, heart and blood vessel (cardiovascular) disease or stroke, which is why your LDL-cholesterol level has to be LOW.

High Density Lipoprotein (HDL)-cholesterol returns the excess cholesterol that is not needed from the bloodstream back to the liver. The reason HDL-cholesterol is called ‘good’ cholesterol is because HDL-cholesterol removes the bad cholesterol from the bloodstream.5B Some experts believe that HDL-cholesterol can even remove excess cholesterol from the artery wall, which is why your HDL-cholesterol level needs to be HIGH. A high HDL-cholesterol level seems to protect against heart disease.

LDL-cholesterol level:

  • ‘Bad’ cholesterol
  • Carries cholesterol from the liver to the cells.
  • Level needs to be LOW

HDL-cholesterol level:

  • ‘Good’ cholesterol
  • Accumulates inside artery walls.
  • Carries excess cholesterol away from the arteries and back to the liver.
  • Level needs to be HIGH
03 September 2020

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