Cholesterol 101

Do you know your cholesterol levels? High cholesterol can put you at a higher risk for coronary artery disease, heart attacks, stroke and Alzheimer’s disease. And since there are usually no signs and symptoms of high cholesterol, it’s important to get it checked every 4 to 6 years (as recommended by the American Heart Association).
Cholesterol is transported through the bloodstream by carriers called lipoproteins. There are two main types of lipoproteins: Low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and High-density lipoproteins (HDL). LDL is sometimes referred to as “bad” cholesterol because it contributes to plaque that can clog arteries, resulting in heart attack or stroke. HDL acts as a scavenger, carrying LDL cholesterol away from the arteries and back to the liver, where it is broken down and passed from the body. Triglycerides are another type of fat, used to store excess energy from your diet. People with high triglycerides often have high LDL and low HDL cholesterol levels. All three (LDL, HDL and triglycerides) are measured in a standard cholesterol level test.
Cholesterol levels are measured by the following:
Source: National Cholesterol Education Program, American Heart Association