What is Good Cholesterol & Bad Cholesterol ?

Before knowing what is a good/bad cholesterol ,first we should know what is cholesterol
is a steroid,carried in the bloodstream as a lipoprotien. It is necessary for
cell membrane functioning & as a precursor to bile
acids,progesterone, vitamin D , estrogens , glucocorticoids &
mineralocorticocoids.Cholesterol can’t dissolve in the blood.It has to be transported to and from the cells by carriers called lipoproteins.

High- Density Lipoprotein (HDL) – Good Cholesterol

HDL is produced by the liver & consists of mainly
cholesterol,protein & phospolipid. About one-fourth to one-third of blood
cholesterol is carried by high-density Lipoprotein (HDL).HDL is known as Good Cholesterol,because high levels of HDL seems to protect against heart
attack.Low levels of HDL (Less than 40 mg/dl for men and less than 50 mg/dl for
women) all increase the risk of heart disease.Medical experts think that HDL
tends to carry cholesterol away  from the arteries and back to the
liver,where it is passed from the body.Some experts believe that HDL remove
excess cholesterol from arterial plaque,slowing its buildup.

Reference values for  High- Density Lipoprotein (HDL) – Good Cholesterol

HDL Cholesterol Level


<40 mg/dl

  Major risk factor for heart disease

40 – 60 mg/dl

  “The higher,the better”

>60 mg/dl

  Considered protective against heart disease

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Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL)

LDL cholesterol is produced by the metabolism of VLDL cholesterol & consists of mainly cholesterol,protein
& phospolipids that carry cholesterol in the bloodstream from the liver to
the peripheral tissues. When too
much LDL (bad) cholesterol circulates in the blood, it can slowly build up in
the inner walls of the arteries that feed the heart and brain. Together with
other substances, it can form plaque, a thick, hard deposit that can narrow the
arteries and make them less flexible. This condition is known as atherosclerosis. If a clot
forms and blocks a narrowed artery, heart attack or stroke can result.

Reference values for  Low- Density Lipoprotein (LDL) – Bad Cholesterol

LDL Cholesterol Level


<100 mg/dl


100 – 129 mg/dl

Near optimal

130 – 159 mg/dl

Borderline high

160 – 189 mg/dl


>190 mg/dl

Very high

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