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Difference between LDL and HDL Cholesterol
- You want your LDL cholesterol to be lower and your HDL cholesterol to be higher
- LDL cholesterol can cause artery plaque leading to hardening arteries and poor blood circulation
- HDL cholesterol levels rely on your lifestyle. You should stop smoking and begin exercising
- Niacin is suggested to increase HDL cholesterol
If you have received a full physical from your primary physician in recent years you may have been told the results of your blood work, which would include your cholesterol levels. This can sometimes be confusing because your physician is likely to provide the information in several numbers, including one called your LDL (lower-density lipoprotein, or bad cholesterol) and another called HDL (higher-density lipoprotein, or good cholesterol). While you want your LDL number to be lower, boosting the HDL level is considered a good way to improve your overall health.
What are LDL and HDL Levels?
According to the American Heart Association (AHA, the LDL is one of the chief causes of atherosclerosis, which causes narrowing and hardening of arteries. Basically, LDL can cause a build-up of plaque along the artery walls. This build-up can reduce blood flow.
High levels of HDL cholesterol, on the other hand, seem to be connected with reducing your risk of heart disease. Although physicians do not understand the specific mechanism behind these results, they do know that people who have HDL cholesterol levels below 40 milligrams have an increased risk of developing heart disease.
Physicians also know that a higher HDL level is seen with lower LDL levels, which means the benefits to your health are doubled when you work on increasing HDL.
Boosting HDL Cholesterol
Your lifestyle has the biggest impact on your HDL cholesterol levels. That means you have a great deal of control when it comes to increasing or decreasing that number. The Mayo Clinic recommends a number of lifestyle changes that can positively effective the good cholesterol levels in your body.
Not smoking is very important. According to the Mayo Clinic, smoking will actually lower your HDL levels. It can also increase your risk of developing blood clots, which can lead to a greater chance for heart attack if you are suffering from atherosclerosis. If you stop smoking now, your HDL levels can increase by as much as 10 percent.
Losing weight and increasing physical activity can also be good for your HDL levels. For each 6 pounds of weight you lose, your HDL can be increased by about 1 milligram. If you are getting at least 120 minutes of aerobic exercise (swimming, running, walking, playing sports, etc.) every week, you can boost your HDL numbers by 5 percent.
Smart dietary decisions are also critical. Foods high in saturated fat, for example, are also high in LDL cholesterol, so you want to reduce the amount of these foods in your diet. Also try to avoid trans fat completely. Focus on increasing your monounsaturated, polyunsaturated fats and your omega-3 fatty acids. These are found in canola oils, olive oil, fish, nuts, and a number of other foods.
Niacin and HDL Cholesterol
Dr. Gerald Gau from the Mayo Clinic also recommends taking prescription niacin supplements as a way to significantly increase HDL cholesterol. Niacin, also known as vitamin B-3, helps your body effectively convert carbohydrates into energy. It also plays an important role in keeping most of your body’s systems working efficiently. While you can purchase over-the-counter supplements, these usually do not contain high enough doses to have much of an impact. Prescription levels of niacin, on the other hand, can increase your HDL cholesterol between 15 and 35 percent.
To improve blood circulation and maintain proper LDL cholesterol levels and HDL cholesterol levels you can try to use Cholesterol Success which is a natural supplement.
The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.
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