Biomarker Series: The Infamous Cholesterol

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Cholesterol has been a keyword in mainstream cardiovascular health for many years now. No matter your level of medical knowledge, you can probably easily associate cholesterol with heart attack and stroke. However, as science advances, so does our understanding of cholesterol, its role in the body, and what’s really going on beneath the hood. For example, did you know there are actually two main types of cholesterol? And, even more shockingly, one of them is good for you?

Still, the lipid panel is one of the most important factors in preventative medicine because it tells us a lot. In today’s talk, our Medical Director Doctor Murdoc Khaleghi walks us through the lipid panel and why testing for cholesterol (the bad and the good) is so important.

As Dr. Murdoc pointed out, not all cholesterol is created equal. There’s high-density lipoproteins and low-density lipoproteins. The main difference is just what you might expect: one is big and fluffy and the other is small and dense. While LDL is responsible for clogging the blood vessels and contributing to cardiovascular disease, HDL’s job is to actually carry it’s evil brother away from the blood vessels and put it back into the liver, from where it originated. Blocking of the arteries can actually be reversed with the help of a certain type of cholesterol.

It should be noted that we only get 1/4 of the cholesterol in our bodies from food: the rest is made in the liver. Cholesterol medication is actually directed towards the liver to stop production of cholesterol. Still, we can control the portion that comes from food by being mindful of what we eat. If you want bad cholesterol, look no further than fried foods and heavy meats. But if good cholesterol makes you happier (which it should), nuts, certain oils, and fish will do you a world of good.

The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice of any kind. Any information in these posts should not be acted upon without consideration of primary source material and professional input from one's own healthcare professionals.

Mark says:

What exactly is a “heavy meat?”