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Cholesterol numbers – how to understand them?

Some medical practitioners, unfortunately, do not understand the cholesterol numbers. Let’s define what the cholesterol-lipid panel really is. It includes low density lipoproteins (“bad cholesterol”, LDL) and high density (“good cholesterol”, HDL), as well as triglycerides.

The first two elements are a protein ball containing cholesterol, triglycerides, vitamins and essential fatty acids. The molecules themselves are no different.

Total cholesterol is the sum of “bad” and “good,” and therefore does not provide accurate information.

Even before the discovery of statins, experts believed that there was no need to worry if the total cholesterol figure reached 7.8 mmol / L. Later, 6.5 was considered the norm, and now it is 5.2. From this we can conclude that soon many will be prescribed statins.

If the total cholesterol level is increased due to the predominance of “good” cholesterol, then you should not be upset.

It is useless to lower the total cholesterol by any means; this does not minimize the likelihood of developing a heart attack. It also doesn’t make sense to reduce your intake of fatty foods. Sources of inflammation are often gastrointestinal diseases.

“Bad” cholesterol – what is the threat?

If LDL is more than 7.8, then the person is more likely to develop a heart attack. In contrast, those with serious health problems often have low LDL cholesterol levels. In addition, this type of cholesterol is not homogeneous and consists of two types:

  • small lipoprotein particles formed as a result of damage to the protein shell by free radicals or due to glycation. They wander through the body and break against the arterial walls;
  • large particles of lipoprotein, which do not aggravate the development of coronary heart disease, do not oxidize and do not damage the arterial walls, like small particles.
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Those with small LDL particles found in their bodies have a 3 times higher risk of developing a heart attack. That is why you should not pay much attention to the number of “bad” cholesterol. But at the same time, some laboratories cannot determine the size of particles, except perhaps roughly. In this case, triglyceride numbers are a more reliable indicator.

Cholesterol numbers - how to understand them?

“Good” cholesterol – does not pose a threat to the body

At all times, doctors paid attention to the indicator of this particular cholesterol. It performs a number of tasks:

  • participates in the synthesis of hormones in the gonads and adrenal glands;
  • helps to protect “bad” cholesterol from oxidation;
  • neutralizes atherosclerotic plaques.

Insulin resistance can interfere with all these processes. A low level of “good” cholesterol indicates a high risk of heart attack. In women, this indicator should not be lower than 1.3 mmol / l, and in men – 1.03 mmol / l.

The value of triglycerides

The triglyceride reading is supplemented by LDL and HDL levels. High rates are usually observed in those who suffer from type 2 diabetes mellitus, overweight and other manifestations of metabolic syndrome. A too high level indicates a high level of insulin and insulin resistance, causing damage to arteries through high blood pressure, high blood sugar levels and other mechanisms. That is why insulin resistance is the main factor in the development of heart disease.

High triglyceride levels mean that the protein ball contains a lot of fat and the “good” cholesterol is trying to solve this problem (as evidenced by a decrease in its level). Normally, the triglyceride level should be at least 1.13 mmol / L, but if the indicator is higher than 2.26 mmol / L (especially after a meal), then you should be alert. An increase in triglycerides indicates a high risk of heart attack. published by

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* Articles from are intended for informational and educational purposes only and do not replace professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult your doctor for any questions you may have about your health condition.

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