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HDL Or "Good" Cholesterol: A Biomarker of Health

By Thegenaboveme @TheGenAboveMe

Image by Wonderland via Creative Commons

Not all cholesterol are created equal. Some types are harmful, and some types are beneficial. Here is a simplified explanation of the difference between LDL and HDL cholesterol: 

Low-density lipoproteins deposit fat into the blood. High-density lipoproteins carry fat out of the blood.

This post is part of a series on biomarkers of health and longevity. 

Note: I am not a medical professional. This post does not offer medical advice; it's only intended to raise awareness. Please see a licensed medical professional if you have any concerns about your diet or health. 

Basically, if too much of the bad cholesterol enters the blood stream, it clings to arterial walls, causing plaques to form. Those plaques can inhibit the flow of blood (artherosclorosis), causing clots to form. Those clots can cause one of the following: 
  • An ischemic stroke
  • A heart attack
  • Peripheral arterial disease from clots in the legs. 

It's important to get regular screening for your cholesterol levels, since the symptoms are not often apparent until after dangerous clots form. 

Risk Factors

  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Excess weight
  • Diet high in trans fats
  • Uncontrolled diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Genetics
Lifestyle Choices for Increasing HDL or the "good" cholesterol
  • Exercise
  • Stop smoking 
  • Lose weight 
  • Add soluble fiber to your diet 
  • Diet with foods such as avocados, olive oil, oatmeal, salmon 
See this page from the Mayo Clinic for more foods. 
Be sure to consult with a licensed medical professional when making changes to your diet and exercise regime. 
For more information about HDL cholesterol and how it contrasts with LDL cholesterol, please view this 3-minute video from the National Institutes of Health that explains the process.

Biomarkers for Health and Longevity

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