HDL cholesterol carries LDL cholesterol from the bloodstream and arterial walls to the liver, where it is broken down and then eliminated from the body. High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol is one of two types of cholesterol found in the blood. Like its “bad” counterpart, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, HDL cholesterol is composed of a lipoprotein envelope and a cholesterol center.
When it is at a healthy level, HDL cholesterol transports LDL cholesterol from the arteries to the liver, where the LDL is broken down and excreted or reprocessed. This reduces the risk of serious heart disease and stroke in the long term. Along with LDL and triglycerides, HDL cholesterol makes up the three individual components measured in a lipid panel, the blood test that doctors and other primary care providers use to measure your cholesterol.
All adults over years should have their cholesterol checked every four to six years, as long as their overall risk remains low. After the age of 40 years, your doctor will also use a calculator to check your risk of heart attack or stroke on 10 year. Scientists have found growing evidence that HDL cholesterol helps maintain the inner walls of blood vessels, which may prevent initial blood vessel damage associated with atherosclerosis, the precursor disease to heart attack or stroke. stroke. In a Swedish study published earlier this year, researchers found that testing the ability of HDL cholesterol to reduce inflammation can help calculate the risk estimate for heart disease.
HDL Cholesterol Levels
The following blood levels are considered desirable for HDL cholesterol, which is measured in milligrams per deciliter of blood (mg/dL):
The at-risk level is less than mg/dL for men and 40 mg/dL for women.
The desirable level is 60 mg/dL or more.
However, people who have extremely high levels of HDL cholesterol (greater than 107 mg/dL) appear to pose a higher risk of heart disease, according to a study led by the University of Pennsylvania, published in March 2016 in Science. Due to genetic differences, the body of people with extremely high HDL cholesterol levels does not seem to process the different particles in the typical way.
How to raise your HDL cholesterol level?
If your HDL cholesterol level is below desirable levels, your doctor may recommend lifestyle strategies to increase it, including the following tactics:
– Avoid a diet high in saturated and trans fats. A diet high in saturated fat, which is found in animal products, including whole dairy products, as well as many processed foods, can raise your LDL and total cholesterol levels.
– Trans fats, sometimes found in fast foods and in many store-bought breads, cookies, cakes, chips and snacks, can also lower HDL cholesterol levels.
Choose a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, poultry, fish, nuts and non-tropical vegetable oils.
– Exercise regularly. Do at least 50 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise each week, preferably spread over several days. If you’re not used to exercising, low impact aerobics is a good way to start. Exercise has two effects on cholesterol: it increases your body’s HDL cholesterol levels, and it also increases the size of LDL particles, making them less likely to form plaques on the walls of coronary arteries.
– Blood sugar control. For people with diabetes or prediabetes, it is also important to monitor their blood sugar levels. High blood sugar levels can raise LDL cholesterol, but also lower HDL cholesterol and weaken the walls of the arteries.
– Quit smoking. Although it’s hard to kick the habit, quitting smoking can help prevent high cholesterol. If you don’t smoke, don’t start.
Tobacco smoke damages the walls of your blood vessels, making it easier for plaque to build up in those blood vessels. last. Smoking also lowers HDL cholesterol levels.
– Keep your weight within a healthy range. A body mass index of 30 or higher is generally associated with a higher risk of abnormal cholesterol levels.
People who are overweight or obese are also more likely to have metabolic syndrome, a group of conditions that include high cholesterol, high blood pressure, high triglycerides, and high blood pressure. People with metabolic syndrome also tend to have lower HDL levels.
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