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What are some differences between good and bad cholesterol?

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Quick Answer

The difference between bad cholesterol and good cholesterol is that bad cholesterol causes plaque in the arteries, while good cholesterol helps remove bad cholesterol from the arteries, explains the American Heart Association. Bad cholesterol may lead to cardiovascular diseases, while good cholesterol protects against cardiovascular diseases, states WebMD.

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Full Answer

Low density lipoproteins, or bad cholesterol, infiltrate the arterial walls and deposit the cholesterol, according to Live Science. This cholesterol turns into plaque, which clogs the arteries. This leads to conditions such as atherosclerosis, heart attack and stroke, says the American Heart Association. LDL also becomes oxidized and damages the arterial lining, explains Dr. David Williams, which sets the stage for fat and mineral deposits.

High density lipoproteins, or good cholesterol, are denser and consist of proteins and cholesterol phospholipids, explains Live Science. They carry bad cholesterol to the liver where it is broken down and passed from the body, states the American Heart Association.

In order to reduce the risk of heart diseases, people should have less cholesterol and LDL and more HDL, states WebMD. For individuals who are at risk of heart disease, the levels of LDL should be less than 100 mg/dL, states Aging Care. The levels of HDL should be about 45 mg/dL in men and 55 mg/dL in women.

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