Ten Keys to Healthy Living - #6 - Lower LDL Cholesterol#6 - Lower LDL Cholesterol

Cholesterol itself isn't bad. In fact, according to the American Heart Association, cholesterol is just one of the many substances created and used by our bodies to keep us healthy. Some of the cholesterol we need is produced naturally (and can be affected by your family health history), while some of it comes from the food we eat.

There are two types of cholesterol: "good" and "bad." It's important to understand the difference, and to know the levels of "good" and "bad" cholesterol in your blood. Too much of one type — or not enough of another — can put you at risk for coronary heart disease, heart attack or stroke.

LDL cholesterol is the "bad" cholesterol. When too much of it circulates in the blood, it can clog arteries, increasing your risk of heart attack and stroke.

LDL cholesterol is produced naturally by the body, but many people inherit genes from their mother, father or even grandparents that cause them to make too much. Eating saturated fat, trans fats and dietary cholesterol also increases how much you have. If high blood cholesterol runs in your family, lifestyle modifications may not be enough to help lower your LDL blood cholesterol. Everyone is different, so work with your doctor to find a treatment plan that's best for you.

When there is too much cholesterol (a fat-like substance) in your blood cholesterol and other substances build up in the walls of your arteries. When arteries become narrowed, blood flow to the heart slows down. A high LDL level places you at increased risk for heart disease and stroke.

Ten Keys to Healthy Living - #6 - Lower LDL Cholesterol

Additional resources:

American Heart Association - Cholesterol
Heart UK