What Is the Difference Between LDL and HDL Cholesterol?

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Higher levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol is beneficial to the body's blood stream, while too much low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in a person's blood stream can lead to serious health issues. This is due to the fact that HDL cholesterol helps to lower the amount of LDL cholesterol buildup in the blood stream, which is a leading cause of cardiovascular disease and other health issues, according to WebMD.

Since having high levels of LDL cholesterol can lead to serious health issues, such as heart disease or heart attacks, it is important to get cholesterol levels checked. When getting these levels checked, the results should show the amount of total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and HDL cholesterol in the blood.

It is recommended that a healthy patient have a total cholesterol level of less than 200 mg/dL, according to WebMD. A total level of 200 mg/dL to 239 mg/dL is considered borderline high, and anything over 240 mg/dL is considered high. LDL cholesterol levels should be under 190 mg/dL to not be at a high risk for health issues like a heart attack or stroke.

Since HDL cholesterol helps to fight LDL cholesterol, it is ideal to see higher numbers of HDL cholesterol in the blood. If the patient has an HDL cholesterol level less than 40 mg/dL, he or she is at risk for health issues. Ideally, HDL cholesterol levels will be higher than 60 mg/dL.