GOOD VERSUS BAD CHOLESTEROL

GOOD VERSUS BAD CHOLESTEROL

Cholesterol is carried in the blood by protein-lipid packages called lipoproteins, which range in size from 10 to 1000 nanometers (nm). Low-density lipoproteins (LDLs) (26 nm) shuttle cholesterol from the liver to the organs and tissues that require it. LDL is known as “bad” cholesterol because if there is more than the body can use, the excess is deposited in the blood vessels.

RISK FACTORS FOR CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE

HDLs return cholesterol to the liver where it is converted into bile acids for elimination or recycling.

Production of cholesterol, based on the amount of fat and cholesterol that is consumed.

Saturated and trans fats in the diet act on the liver to increase the amount of LDL circulating in the blood. Thus saturated and trans fats are more important than dietary cholesterol for raising blood cholesterol to unhealthy levels.

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High-density lipoproteins (HDLs) seek out excess cholesterol, reducing the amount available for buildup on artery walls. High HDL levels can help reverse heart disease.

Tryglycerides (fat) Liver (3) The liver packages cholesterol with triglycerides (fat) and sends it into the bloodstream as very low-density lipoproteins (VLDLs).

DLs deliver cholesterol to cells throughout the body. High LDL levels cause an excess of cholesterol to be delivered to cells.

As VLDLs travel through the bloodstream, they are broken down into triglycerides (fat) and cholesterol-rich low-density lipoproteins (LDLs). Triglycerides are used for energy or are stored as fat.

LDL that accumulates and becomes trapped in artery walls may be oxidized by free radicals, speeding inflammation and damage to artery walls and increasing the likelihood that an artery will become blocked, causing a heart attack or stroke. High-density lipoproteins (HDLs), or “good” cholesterol, are the smallest of the lipoproteins (6-12.5 nm). They shuttle unused cholesterol back to the liver for recycling. By removing cholesterol from blood vessels, HDL helps protect against atherosclerosis.

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