LDL Cholesterol Levels
Cholesterol is carried in the blood from the intestine or liver to the organs that need it by joining up with particles called lipoproteins.
There are two types of lipoproteins:
- Low density (LDL): transports new cholesterol from the liver to all the cells of the organism
- High density (HDL): takes the unused cholesterol and carries it back to the liver to be stored or eliminated as bile
Referring to this interaction, cholesterol can be classified as
- Bad cholesterol: on attaching to the LDL particle, this cholesterol affixes to the artery walls and forms atherosclerotic plaques
- Good cholesterol: on attaching to the HDL particles, this cholesterol transports the excess cholesterol back to the liver to be eliminated
LDL cholesterol or low density lipoprotein is known as the bad cholesterol because it is associated with heart disease. In general, the persons with lower LGL cholesterol levels have a lower risk of a heart attack or stroke. Keeping a LDL level under 100 mg/dL is recommended.
Genetic variations influence the LDL cholesterol levels, as well as lifestyle. LDL levels can be decreased by quitting smoking, losing weight and being physically more active.
LDL cholesterol levels:
- Less than 70 mg/dL = Optional objective if there is a high risk of heart attack or death by heart attack
- Less than 100 mg/dL = Optimum level for those with heart disease or diabetes
- 100 - 129 mg/dL = near or above optimum level
- 130 - 159 mg/dL = high limit
- 160 - 189 mg/dL = high
- 190 mg/dL and above = very high
Gene or region studied