Precision Journalism

The Interplay of Good and Bad Cholesterol

Sandra Santiago

According to Medline Plus “Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that’s found in all the cells in your body. Your body needs some cholesterol to make hormones, vitamin D, and substances that help you digest foods. Your body makes all the cholesterol it needs. Cholesterol is also found in foods from animal sources.” Therefore, Cholesterol is a needed thing for the body. So how can it be good and bad at the same time?


According to NIH MedlinePlus “While cholesterol is needed for our body to function properly, too much of it can be bad. High cholesterol can cause serious problems in our blood, like clots, plus heart and brain issues.” Agreed that cholesterol is beneficial for the body; however, to much Cholesterol can cause harm to the body.

Cholesterol can be classified as good and bad. According to The CDC “Cholesterol travels through the blood on proteins called “lipoproteins.” Two types of lipoproteins carry cholesterol throughout the body.” Those two types of Cholesterol are LDL and HDL. LDL stands for low- density lipoprotein, also know as the bad Cholesterol.  Leaving HDL as the good Cholesterol. HDL stands for high-density lipoprotein. 

According to WebMDHDL cholesterol is the well-behaved “good cholesterol.” This friendly scavenger cruises the bloodstream. As it does, it removes harmful bad cholesterol from where it doesn’t belong. High HDL levels reduce the risk for heart disease — but low levels increase the risk.” So, HDL and LDL have a relationship between one another. HDL is in charge of removing high amounts of LDL from certain places in the body. HDL has to stay at a constant level.  So, having it so low can cause heart problems and, having it too high, can lower that risk.

For example, according to Cleveland Clinic “Men ages 20 years and older should have their cholesterol level from 125 mg/dL to 200 mg/dL. Leaving their LDL levels less than 100 mg/dL and their HDL levels 40 mg/dL or higher.” Meaning that a person around this age and higher should watch what they eat so they don’t disturb their cholesterol levels.

According to The American Heart Association “HDL carries LDL (bad) cholesterol away from the arteries and back to the liver, where the LDL is broken down and passed from the body. But HDL cholesterol doesn’t completely eliminate LDL cholesterol. Only one-third to one-fourth of blood cholesterol is carried by HDL.”  So, HDL doesn’t take away all of the LDL in the body. It still carries a bit of it but not a huge amount to harm the body.

According to WebMDLDL cholesterol is often called the “bad” cholesterol because it collects in the walls of your blood vessels, raising your chances of health problems like a heart attack or stroke. Most of the cholesterol in your body is LDL.” Bad cholesterol builds up in the vessels wall causing them to thin. Therefore, blocking and clogging the blood vessels and blood flow. This blockage is what will cause strokes and heart attacks.

Cholesterol Video


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