What Is LDL Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a lipid found in the cells of the body and is necessary for the production of hormones and healthy cells. LDL cholesterol, also known as low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, is an important component of overall cholesterol levels in the body. LDL cholesterol is just one of several lipids present in the human body, and measuring LDL cholesterol levels is a major part of understanding a person’s overall cardiovascular health.
Understanding LDL Cholesterol
LDL cholesterol plays an important part in the body’s normal functioning. LDL cholesterol helps carry triglycerides and other fats to our cells. This is important for cell growth, metabolism, and maintenance of healthy nerve tissue. Although helpful in normal amounts, too much LDL cholesterol can lead to arterial blockage and plaque buildup.
LDL cholesterol is just one of several factors affecting a person’s risk of heart disease. Other variables include family history, age, lifestyle, diet, Body Mass Index (BMI), and systemic inflammation.
Measuring LDL Cholesterol
LDL cholesterol levels are measured through a blood test that determines total levels of LDL, as well as other lipoproteins found in the body. Measuring LDL cholesterol is one of the most accurate ways to assess a person’s risk of cardiovascular disease.
Doctors generally recommend measuring LDL cholesterol levels every 3-5 years, or more often in individuals with existing cardiovascular risk factors. High LDL cholesterol levels are considered to be anything higher than 159 mg/dL.
Improving LDL Cholesterol Levels
High LDL cholesterol levels can be improved through lifestyle changes, including diet and exercise. Reducing consumption of trans fats, saturated fats, and cholesterol-rich foods is important for managing cholesterol levels.
In addition to dietary modifications, engaging in regular physical activity and quitting smoking are important factors in improving LDL cholesterol levels. If lifestyle changes are not enough, medication may be recommended to lower cholesterol levels.
- LDL Cholesterol
- Cholesterol Level
- Cardiovascular Risk
- Lifestyle Changes
- Diet & Exercise