What is VLDL cholesterol?


Quick Answer

Very low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, or VLDL, is one of several types of cholesterol routinely measured and monitored in humans in order to assess an individual's risk of coronary artery disease. Lipoproteins are a mixture of fats and proteins that transport cholesterol and fats in the blood to and from different parts of the body. VLDL's primary function is to distribute triglycerides from the liver, WebMD explains.

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What is VLDL cholesterol?
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Full Answer

VLDL contains a small amount of protein and the highest amount of triglycerides of all lipoproteins, according to MedlinePlus. Mayo Clinic indicates that elevated VLDL levels in someone's blood is associated with a higher risk of developing coronary artery disease and high blood pressure. Because triglycerides and cholesterol are sticky substances, excess triglycerides in the blood can cause the blood to thicken, which in turn contributes to the build-up of cholesterol on arterial walls. Consequently, MedlinePlus classifies VLDL as a "bad" cholesterol.

Whereas high levels of VLDL are undesirable, high levels of another lipoprotein, high-density lipoprotein, are desired. Higher levels of HDL, otherwise known as the "good" cholesterol, according to MedlinePlus, prevents the development of heart disease. WebMD explains that HDL binds with fat in the bloodstream and transports it to the liver, which removes the fat from the body.

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