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Which is good cholesterol? LDL or HDL?

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Good Cholesterol


Hint: One will make your family H-appy

What is high cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a fat-like material that provides structure for a body’s cells. A person’s liver makes most of the cholesterol a body needs, but a person can also get some from foods. Too much can cause a sticky substance (plaque) to build up in blood vessels. This plaque can block blood vessels and cause heart attacks and strokes.

But I feel okay.

Most people with high cholesterol feel healthy and don’t have symptoms. The only way to levels are high is to have cholesterol levels checked.

Cholesterol is checked with a blood test. The test works best if you don’t eat or drink anything for at least 8 hours before the test.

What do your numbers mean?

Your total cholesterol is made up of two types of cholesterol:

  • LDL (low-density lipoproteins)
  • HDL (high-density lipoproteins).

High levels of LDL increase a person’s chances of heart disease. It is the “bad cholesterol.” High levels of HDL decrease a person’s chances of heart disease. It is the “good cholesterol.”

What can you do?

Follow a healthy eating plan.

  • Read food labels and limit foods high in saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol.
  • Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy foods and whole grains.
  • Ask to see a registered dietitian if you need help with a plan.

Be physically active.

  • “Physical activity” includes any activity that raises a person’s heart rate, such as brisk walking, working in the house or yard, or playing sports.
  • Do activity for 10 minutes or more at a time. Aim for at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of activity each week.

Achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

If a person is overweight, ask a provider for help with an eating and physical activity plan to lose weight

A provider may prescribe medicine to help lower cholesterol. People should take the medicine every day, or as directed by a provider. If cholesterol numbers get lower, it’s because the medicine is working. Don’t stop it or take a lower dose unless a provider says so.

Here are the facts.


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