2What are the types of cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a lipoprotein – means a mixture of both lipids and proteins. With different protein combinations cholesterol is present in several forms in the body. Good cholesterol and bad cholesterol are two main types. You may have health problems if your levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol are too high. Proteins transport cholesterol through the bloodstream. Lipoproteins are a combination of cholesterol and proteins.
- ‘Good cholesterol’ is high-density lipoproteins, or HDL. This is because it transports ‘bad’ cholesterol to the liver and helps remove it from your body. The liver takes back cholesterol from the body that isn’t needed and breaks it down to excrete out of your body.
- ‘Bad’ cholesterol is non-high-density lipoproteins, or non-HDL – also called LDL or low density lipoproteins. When it builds up too much inside blood vessels, it can cause them to rupture. As a result, arteries become narrowed, increasing your risk of having a stroke or heart attack.
Previously, LDL was used as the primary measurement of bad cholesterol; however, new research has shown that other non-HDL forms (very low density lipoprotein and triglycerides) can also be harmful.
Triglycerides are also present in our blood. The body stores this in its fat cells. Drinking too much alcohol, eating a lot of fatty and sugary foods, and being very overweight can make you more likely to have a high triglyceride level. Your risk for heart and blood vessels diseases is increased by high levels of triglycerides in the body.