What Is the Difference between Good and Bad Cholesterol?
If you’re concerned about you heart health , there is a good chance that you’ve discussed your cholesterol with your doctor. Knowing your cholesterol number is an important part of managing your health, and most people know that they want that number to be as low as possible. However, did you know that your cholesterol number doesn’t tell the whole story? There are both good and bad kinds of cholesterol, and how much of each you have plays a major role in your heart disease risk. What is the difference between these two? Here is what you need to know.
Low-density lipoprotein , or LDL, cholesterol is called bad cholesterol in layman’s terms. This kind of cholesterol adds to the build-up of plaque in your arteries, which is a hard substance that causes atherosclerosis. With atherosclerosis, the arteries become clogged and stiff, which makes it more difficult for blood to flow through. This can lead to a blood clot, which in turn can cause a heart attack or stroke. Atherosclerosis can also lead to peripheral artery disease, which specifically causes plaque build-up and narrowing of the blood vessels in the legs.
The medical term for so-called good cholesterol is high-density lipoprotein, or HDL, cholesterol. Doctors believe that HDL cholesterol helps to remove LDL cholesterol from the blood stream and take it to the liver, where it is processed to be passed from the body. By scrubbing LDL cholesterol from the body, HDL cholesterol can help to prevent heart disease and stroke.
For your best heart health, your doctor wants to see a low overall level of cholesterol with more HDL than LDL. For help achieving those numbers, make an appointment with a Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center doctor. If you do experience a cardiac emergency, seek urgent care in our ER and heart hospital . For a physician referral, call us in Las Vegas at (702) 233-5300.