What is good and bad cholesterol?

Cholesterol is naturally found in the body, but there are two different varieties of it and an improper diet can lead to the second, known as LDL, which is bad for you can, in turn, lead to a high risk of heart disease and eventually even a fatal heart attack if you do not take proper care of yourself.

Although high cholesterol is inherited and genetic, a simple test to see if you have it can help you control it before it becomes a problem in your life. Of course, understanding cholesterol can also help you combat it and help you enrich your diet so that it never becomes a major problem to your health as well.

As mentioned, there are two kinds of cholesterol, HDL which is your good cholesterol, and LDL the bad cholesterol. When your body starts to form an excess of LDL this is an indication that you are probably developing blockages in your heart arteries which makes it harder for blood to circulate to and from the heart.

When the blockage becomes too severe, which happens when your LDL levels are extremely high, your artery will spasm and stop working which is what causes a heart attack which can be fatal if not treated promptly.

On the other hand, when you have high levels of HDL, the good cholesterol helps prevents blockages from forming, this is a sign that you are a very low risk for future heart disease.  The best way to find out your current level of cholesterol is by heading to your primary care provider or local health fair and asking for a blood cholesterol test if you have not already had one.

Keep in mind however there are still other risk factors for heart disease that may affect you even with normal cholesterol such as diabetes, smoking, and high blood pressure so be sure to mention these to your doctor as well.

If you find out that you have high cholesterol you may or may not have to take medication to control the future continual elevation of your LDL levels.  If you have a high cholesterol level of HDL but also a high LDL level your doctor may suggest that you improve your diet and current amount of daily exercise.  However, if you have a history of heart disease in your family even with an LDL level that is high you may still be advised to take medication.

Outside of medication, you are the sole person who can control the amount of cholesterol in your body.  Eating a low fat healthy diet that is low on saturated fats and cholesterol can help alter your cholesterol levels immensely.  A proper exercise routine is also instrumental in keeping your cholesterol levels down and your heart safe from disease.