The difference between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ cholesterol

Postdate: 20 August 2018

Cholesterol is more than just ‘that cholesterol’. Not all cholesterol is actually the same. One type is called LDL, the other type is HDL. Do you know what the difference is? After reading this blog, you will. Tsuru expert and cardiologist Dr Ruud van Langeveld explains which cholesterol is good for you and also which one is bad.

‘Bad’ cholesterol
Good and bad cholesterol. This is what it is mostly all about. What we sometimes call ‘bad cholesterol’, is known as Low Density LDL cholesterol. LDL gives fat and cholesterol a free lift in the direction of blood vessels. Keep in mind though that LDL will drop off its load somewhere along the way. Somewhere in that blood vessel system, its package will be deposited on the side of the highway, called the bloodstream. LDL is the real risk factor in developing plaque, fatty deposits and clogging on the inside of the blood vessels.

See also: The role of cholesterol

‘Good’ cholesterol
How is that other stuff: High Density HDL cholesterol different? This is the taxi service that picks up stranded passengers again and delivers them home safely. In this case, in the liver. High levels of HDL-cholesterol are considered a good thing. The higher the better. And of course, the reverse is true for the bad LDL. The lower the LDL cholesterol, the better it is for your blood vessels and your heart.

When you get your blood values checked, you will get at least 3 numbers back. Not only the total accumulated amount of cholesterol – aptly called total cholesterol or TC - but also those for your LDL and HDL levels. You need all 3 of these blood values to be able to say anything constructive about the impact it has on the health of your blood vessels.

The effects of lifestyle on LDL
And, yes indeed: your lifestyle is a deciding factor in the underlying ratios of these types of cholesterol. Eating a lot of saturated fats increases LDL cholesterol. Not because you consume it directly from your diet, but because saturated fats stimulate your body to produce more LDL.

To lower your LDL, it is much better to consume foods with unsaturated fats. The good thing is that often, you do not need to change much. A small adjustment to your diet is often sufficient. A little more sport and activity is good for your HDL cholesterol level. This will increase.

Would you like to learn more about what else cholesterol does to your body and health? Keep an eye on our blogs.

blood vessels     cholesterol     fats     HDL     heart     LDL     lifestyle    

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