Did you know that not all kinds of cholesterol are bad for your health?
Cholesterol has earned a terrible reputation for being that waxy substance that builds up and clogs your arteries; however, when consumed in the right amounts, this fat-like substance can actually help to improve your health.
Learn more about the differences between good cholesterol and bad cholesterol here:
What are the different types of cholesterol?
Cholesterol is categorized into two different types: high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL). The former, HDL, is known to be known as the “good” cholesterol mainly because it carries the “bad” cholesterol to the liver, where it can be broken down and removed from the body. Meanwhile, LDL is the type of cholesterol that is brought directly to the arteries. This eventually leads to a plaque buildup that increases risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Essentially, higher levels of HDL may lower the risk of stroke and vascular diseases while higher levels of LDL may result in the opposite.
How are high levels of bad cholesterol detected?
High cholesterol levels do not typically manifest any symptoms until it’s too late. The only way for you to know your cholesterol levels is to have it checked with a lipid profile, a screening test that reveals the amount of HDL, LDL, triglycerides, and total cholesterol you have in your blood.
Doctors recommend for healthy adults over the age of 20 to be screened for high cholesterol every four to six years. Those who have heart disease, diabetes, or an existing family history of high cholesterol may need to be assessed more often.
How do I increase my HDL levels?
Maintaining a healthy diet is one of the best ways to increase your HDL levels. Some examples of food rich in HDL include olive oil, beans and legumes, whole grains, high-fiber fruit, fatty fish, nuts, and flax and chia seeds.
You may also improve your HDL levels by practicing good habits such as avoiding smoking, reducing stress, and integrating regular aerobic exercises into your routine.
How do I decrease my LDL levels?
Regularly partaking in an unhealthy diet may lead to higher levels of LDL. If your bad cholesterol levels are too high, you may want to avoid foods such as fatty red meat, fried food, lard and shortening, full-fat dairy products, and saturated vegetable oils (e.g. coconut and palm oils).
You may also lower your LDL levels by exercising, maintaining a healthy weight, and taking cholesterol-lowering medicine (if prescribed).
What happens if my LDL levels are too high?
Arteries clogged up with plaque caused by LDL are narrowed down and hardened, making it difficult for blood to pass through. When a piece of the plaque breaks off, a blood clot may form around it, restricting blood flow to the heart and/or brain and depriving them of oxygen and essential nutrients. Such deprivation may ultimately result in a heart attack or a stroke.
Want to schedule a lipid profile blood test? You may book a consultation with Cardinal Santos Medical Center online on csmceconsult.com. To inquire about doctor schedules, you may also contact CSMC at (02) 8727-0001, local 3006.
Cardinal Santos Medical Center. (2022, July 1). HDL vs LDL Cholesterol. Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/CardinalSantos/photos/5455979761133460
Get a Cholesterol Test | cdc.gov. (2022, October 24). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/cholesterol/cholesterol_screening.htm
Keck Medicine of USC. (2022b, September 1). What Is the Difference Between Good and Bad Cholesterol? https://www.keckmedicine.org/blog/what-is-the-difference-between-good-