What is Cholesterol LDL and how can it affect your health?
If you’ve done any health-related research lately, then you’ve heard of something called cholesterol LDL. You may be wondering what cholesterol LDL is? Here we’ll explain what cholesterol LDL is and the differences between good and bad cholesterol as well as how to increase the good and decrease the bad (and why you should).
What is Cholesterol LDL?
LDL stands for low-density lipoprotein. A lipoprotein is the kind of protein that cholesterol travels on in the bloodstream. LDL is a bad kind of cholesterol. While most of your body’s cholesterol is composed of LDL, too high of a cholesterol LDL can contribute to serious health issues. What an excess of LDL cholesterol means is that you’re at an increased risk of getting fatty buildups in your arteries, which puts you at a greater risk for heart disease and stroke.
HDL, on the other hand, stands for high-density lipoprotein. This is considered good cholesterol. Good cholesterol actually absorbs cholesterol and transports it back to the liver where it’s flushed from the body. High levels of HDL, according to the CDC, can lower the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Balancing Good and Bad Cholesterol
Thus, your goal—especially if you’ve been diagnosed with high cholesterol—is to lower your LDL. You can do this in a few ways:
- Pursue lifestyle changes (more on that in a moment)
- Take a medication prescribed by your doctor
- Raise your HDL levels
Importantly, while boosting your cholesterol HDL is a good way to help protect against heart attack and stroke naturally, HDL still doesn’t eliminate cholesterol LDL. Per the American Heart Association, only about 1/3 to 1/4 of blood cholesterol is removed by cholesterol HDL.
How Do You Know If You Have High Cholesterol LDL?
Because there aren’t always medical issues that come from having high cholesterol, people of any weight can actually have high cholesterol. In fact, it’s estimated that 12% of people have high cholesterol without knowing it. Bloodwork is the only way to know if you have high cholesterol.
Here’s how the numbers look and what you should focus on (not just the overall cholesterol number, which represents HDL, LDL, and 20% of your triglycerides):
- Triglycerides: This is the most common type of fat in your body. If this number is below 150 mg/dL, you’re in a healthy range provided your LDL isn’t high and your HDL isn’t low.
- HDL of 55 mg/dL for women or 45 mg/dL for men is the minimum to be considered okay. The higher your HDL, the better.
- LDL of no more than 130 mg/dL for either gender is important if you don’t have any underlying medical issues (heart disease, blood vessel disease, diabetes, high cholesterol). If you do have a health condition, your LDL should be no more than 100 mg/dL.
What Lifestyle Changes Can Lower Cholesterol LDL and Raise HDL?
While only blood work can reveal if you have high cholesterol, there are certain indicators:
It goes without saying that addressing these issues and making measurable lifestyle changes can help you reverse your high LDL and low HDL.
Specifically, you should:
- Change your diet to focus on more unsaturated fats; only 6% of your day’s caloric intake should come from saturated fats; 20-30% of your total daily caloric intake should come from fat at all.
- Start a fitness program that includes waist-trimming exercises and cardiovascular work (with your doctor’s approval and supervision, of course).
- Lose weight if you are overweight or obese. There are several ways to kick start a weight loss plan that will ensure that you keep the weight off; gastric balloon is one such option. It’s not surgery but can help you make a real change in your health and weight. Consult your doctor to see what options are right for you and what you qualify for.
The outcomes of making these changes will be lifelong. Getting into a lifestyle that keeps your cholesterol HDL high and your cholesterol LDL low will keep you healthy and fit. People with lower cholesterol have fewer health issues and more energy. By knowing what cholesterol LDL is and how to read your medical test results, you can enact meaningful change in your life.
Knowledge is power. Knowing how to read your cholesterol screenings helps you stay on top of keeping your cholesterol HDL high and your cholesterol LDL low. If you’ve been trying to adjust your cholesterol or if you’re struggling to lose weight and get in shape in general, contact us at Spatz Medical to see if a Spatz3 gastric balloon is a good choice for you.
Are you serious about losing weight and keeping it off? If you have a weight loss mindset, contact Spatz Medical to consult with us and to determine if our revolutionary Spatz3 Adjustable Gastric Balloon can help you lose weight and never find it again.