Selasa, 20 Januari 2009

Cholesterol : Good vs. Bad Cholesterol

Cholesterol travels through the blood attached to a protein. This package of cholesterol (a lipid) and protein is called a lipoprotein. Lipoproteins are either high-density or low-density, based on how much protein and fat they have.

  • Low-density lipoproteins (LDL) are the "bad" cholesterol. LDL is mostly fat with only a small amount of protein. It can clog your arteries. If you have high cholesterol, your doctor will want you to lower your LDL.
  • High-density lipoproteins (HDL) are the "good" cholesterol. HDL is more protein than fat. It helps clear the bad cholesterol from your blood so it does not clog your arteries. A high level of HDL can protect you from a heart attack.
  • Triglycerides are another type of fat in the blood that can affect your health. If you have high triglycerides and high LDL, your chances of having a heart attack are higher.
It may help to think of HDL as the "Healthy" cholesterol and LDL as the "Lousy" cholesterol. Or you could remember that HDL should be High and LDL should be Low.

Experts have come up with goals for each type of cholesterol. Your doctor will help you decide on cholesterol goals based on your risk of heart attack and stroke. Your doctor will help you know this risk. To find out your risk of a heart attack, you can use the Interactive Tool: Are You at Risk for a Heart Attack

  • LDL should be low. Your LDL goal depends on your risk of heart attack and stroke. If you are at very high risk, your goal may be less than 70. If you are at high risk, your goal is less than 100. If you are at moderate risk, your goal is less than 130. If you are at low risk, your goal is less than 160.
  • HDL should be high. A good HDL goal is 40 or higher. HDL below 40 increases your risk of heart problems. The higher your HDL, the better. A high HDL number can help offset a high LDL number.
  • Triglycerides should be less than 150. A level above 150 may increase your risk for heart problems.

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