Cholesterol is a type of structural lipid (fat) that is created by animal cells. In vertebrates, including humans, liver cells are responsible for most cholesterol production in the body. Other sources of dietary cholesterol are animal-based foods such as eggs, fish oil, butter, and red meat.
HDL vs LDL
Cholesterol travels throughout via your bloodstream attached to proteins. This combination is known as a lipoprotein. There are two types of lipoprotein:
- Low-density lipoprotein (LDL). LDL, or “bad” cholesterol deposits cholesterol particles throughout the body and is responsible for clogging arteries. High levels of LDL cholesterol raise your risk for heart disease and stroke.
- High-density lipoprotein (HDL). HDL, or “good” cholesterol, absorbs cholesterol and carries it back to the liver. The liver then flushed it from the body. High levels of HDL cholesterol can lower your risk for heart disease and stroke.
High LDL Levels
If you have a high LDL level, this means you have too much LDL cholesterol in your blood. This extra “bad” cholesterol can lead to plaques building up on your arteries. As plaque form and grow, blood flow is restricted. Your bloodstream carries oxygenated blood throughout the body, which is needed to keep your heart, and other organs, alive. If the blood flow is completely blocked, a person can suffer a heart attack.
Risk Factors for High LDL Levels
Factors that can increase your risk for high LDL include:
- Poor diets high in saturated fats, trans fats, and red meats.
- Obesity, or having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater puts you at risk of high LDL levels.
- Lack of exercise. When you exercise, you increase your body’s HDL, which can help lower your LDL levels.
- Smoking cigarettes can damage blood vessels, making them more prone to accumulating fatty deposits.
- Diabetes can increase your risk of high LDLs. High blood sugar contributes to higher levels of bad cholesterol can work to lower your HDL, or good cholesterol. High blood sugar also damages the lining of your arteries.
At Diabetes Texas, we specialize in helping our patient better understand their body and how it is affected by diabetes. We teach proper management and help you form the right habits to make diabetes just a detail of your life, and not the focal point. Let us help you live a normal and active life. For information on becoming a patient, contact our office today.