April 16, 2024

Your cholesterol levels are a crucial indicator of the condition of your heart. Higher levels are preferable for HDL cholesterol.

Because it aids in the removal of other types of cholesterol from your bloodstream, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol is referred to as the “good” cholesterol.

A lower risk of heart disease is linked to higher HDL cholesterol levels.


What Is Cholesterol

Every living cell contains cholesterol. Cholesterol is a waxy substance that serves a variety of purposes, including aiding in the development of new cells for the body.

It circulates in the bloodstream bound to proteins. Lipoproteins are the name for these proteins.

There are two types of cholesterol. 

  • Low-density lipoprotein (LDL): The walls of your blood vessels can eventually become clogged with high levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), making the passageways smaller. Sometimes a clot can form and get stuck in the restricted area, causing a heart attack or stroke. This is why the LDL cholesterol is often referred to as “bad” cholesterol.
  • High-density lipoprotein(HDL): The term “good” cholesterol is used frequently to describe high density lipoprotein. Extra cholesterol in your blood is picked up by HDL and transported to your liver, where it is broken down and eliminated.

Why Is HDL Cholesterol So Good?

Each tiny blob of HDL cholesterol is made up of a lipoprotein rim surrounding a cholesterol center.

The HDL cholesterol particle is referred to as high-density because it is dense in comparison to other types of cholesterol particles.

Not all cholesterol is harmful. In actuality, cholesterol is a necessary fat. It offers equilibrium to each cell in your body.

Lipoproteins, or helper molecules, are necessary for the transportation of cholesterol through the bloodstream.

Every lipoprotein has a different preference for cholesterol and behaves differently when carrying that cholesterol.


Benefits Of High-density Lipoprotein

According to experts, HDL cholesterol tends to lower the risk for heart disease in a number of beneficial ways, including:

  • LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, is scavenged and eliminated by HDL cholesterol.
  • LDL cholesterol is reduced, reused, and recycled by HDL by transporting it to the liver for further processing.
  • The endothelium that lines the interior of blood vessels serves as a maintenance team for HDL cholesterol. Atherosclerosis, which causes heart attacks and strokes, begins with damage to the inner walls. The wall is kept healthy and clean by HDL.

The amount of HDL cholesterol can be determined by a lipid panel or cholesterol test. What do the figures indicate?

  • Higher than 60 mg/dL HDL cholesterol levels are considered to be high. That’s great.
  • Less than 40 mg/dL of HDL cholesterol is considered low. That’s not good at all.
  • People with high HDL levels typically have a lower risk of developing heart disease. People who have low HDL are more. Make the most of your lifestyle. 
  • People with metabolic syndrome, a group of illnesses characterized by obesity, elevated blood pressure, and high blood sugar levels, typically have lower HDL levels.
  • Increased physical activity can reduce your triglycerides, the most prevalent type of fat in your body, while raising your HDL levels, in addition to aiding in weight loss. Even 60 minutes a week of aerobic exercise at a moderate intensity can have positive effects.
  • Trans fats should be avoided in your diet because they can raise LDL cholesterol and decrease HDL cholesterol. Trans fats are present in most fried foods, some margarines, and foods made with shortening, like cakes and cookies. Saturated fat, which is present in meats and full-fat dairy products, should be avoided as much as possible.

What Should I Do if My HDL Level Is Low?

If your HDL level is low, you can take a number of actions to raise it and lower your risk of developing heart disease:

Give up smoking and Quit drinking :

Smoking reduces HDL, and giving up tobacco can raise HDL levels.

Alcoholism can lead to weight gain, as well as possible increases in blood pressure and triglyceride levels. 

However, Alcohol consumption in moderation has been associated with higher HDL cholesterol levels.

For a healthy lifestyle, men older than 65 and women of all ages are permitted to consume up to one drink per day, while men 65 and younger are permitted to consume up to two drinks per day. 

Low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol are closely linked with increase in body weight.

Maintain a healthy weight: 

HDL can be increased by engaging in aerobic exercise for 30 to 60 minutes most days of the week.

Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight can be aided by dietary changes and increased physical activity.

In some cases, losing any extra weight can help increase HDL and decrease LDL cholesterol levels.

Healthy weight also lowers risk for heart disease and a host of other illnesses in addition to raising HDL levels.

Medication:

Drugs can increase or decrease HDL cholesterol.

Drugs that lower LDL and triglyceride levels, such as prescription niacin, fibrates like gemfibrozil (Lopid), and some statins, especially simvastatin (Zocor) and rosuvastatin, can sometimes increase HDL levels (Crestor).

However, clinical trials for a number of medications intended to boost HDL levels were cut short because they did not lower the risk of heart attacks.

Your HDL cholesterol levels can be decreased by medications containing testosterone and other anabolic steroids. Your HDL levels may rise if you refrain from using these drugs.

Consult A Physician:

Your doctor may occasionally suggest medication to lower your cholesterol.

Keep in mind that heart disease is caused by more than just high levels of cholesterol.

Genetics, diabetes, smoking, high blood pressure, obesity, and other factors are also significant. 


Conclusion 

Cholesterol is not everything when it comes to heart disease because there are so many other factors.

Heart disease can affect people with normal HDL cholesterol levels. Furthermore, individuals with low HDL levels can have strong hearts.

However, people with low HDL cholesterol are more likely than those with high HDL levels to experience heart disease.

For the majority of people, experts advise repeat cholesterol testing every five years.

Some individuals may require more frequent cholesterol tests if their lipid panels are abnormal or if they have other risk factors.

Take steps to increase HDL cholesterol, such as eating well, exercising frequently, and quitting smoking, if you have high cholesterol or low HDL levels.

Most people can significantly benefit from changing their way of life, which may also prevent heart disease and stroke.


References

HDL :  CDC. “LDL and HDL Cholesterol: ‘Bad’ and ‘Good’ Cholesterol.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 31 Jan. 2020,http://www.cdc.gov/cholesterol/ldl_hdl.htm#:~:text=HDL%20(high%2Ddensity%20lipoprotein)

HDL Cholesterol: The Good Cholesterol.” WebMD,http://www.webmd.com/cholesterol-management/guide/hdl-cholesterol-the-good-cholesterol

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