You know that high cholesterol is a warning sign of heart problems, but do you understand the nuances of cholesterol beyond the mantra “high is bad”? If not, make sure you educate yourself on the relationship between cholesterol and your body in order to preserve your heart health for the future.
What Is High Density Lipoprotein (HDL) Cholesterol?
High density lipoprotein (HDL) is the “good” cholesterol that collects LDL cholesterol – also known as the “bad” cholesterol – and transports it like a trash collector to the liver. The liver is responsible for processing and eliminating LDL cholesterol from the body.
This is why it’s good to have higher levels of HDL cholesterol in your blood. High density lipoprotein controls and reduces the amount of LDL cholesterol in the walls of the arteries. If you sustain a healthy level of HDL cholesterol over time, you will benefit from decreased cardiovascular risks and better heart health.
What Is Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) Cholesterol?
Low density lipoprotein (LDL) serves an important purpose in the right quantities. Low levels of LDL cholesterol are important to support hormone production, food digestion, and other essential body functions. However, too much LDL cholesterol causes an excessive amount of cholesterol to cling to the walls of the arteries and threaten cardiovascular health.
How Can You Lower LDL and Raise HDL Cholesterol?
Lowering your “bad” LDL cholesterol and raising your “good” HDL cholesterol can be accomplished simply by adopting healthier lifestyle habits. You may not require ongoing medication at all! Use these tips to see if you can bring your cholesterol back into balance naturally:
- Stop eating trans fats like fried foods, baked goods, and margarine
- Drop 10 pounds to lower your LDL cholesterol by up to 8%
- Exercise more than two hours per week
- Add fiber, fish, nuts, and olive oil into your diet
- Quit smoking
- Limit alcohol intake
For more help assessing your cholesterol levels and creating better habits to support your heart health, call (352) 666-6950 to make an appointment at IMC Family Doctor in Springhill, Bradenton, Manatee, or one of many other Florida locations.