ZocdocAnswersWill a high-density lipoprotein test tell me about my bad cholesterol too?

Question

Will a high-density lipoprotein test tell me about my bad cholesterol too?

I am 21 and going to have my cholesterol tested. Will it tell me good and bad?

Answer

I should first say a little about the “good” form of cholesterol, known as high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. HDL works in a number of ways, but importantly it helps transport other cholesterol particles from tissues and blood back to the liver, including helping to remove “bad” or low-density liopoprotein (LDL) cholesterol from plaques in arteries. High concentrations of LDL cholesterol are associated with increased plaque formation in the arteries, and it is these plaques that can narrow arteries or rupture and cause heart attacks and strokes. The levels of cholesterol are usually measured in total cholesterol, LDL, HDL, and triglycerides. When you have your blood drawn, most physicians will check all of them. If you are healthy and do not have any medical problems the current guidelines suggest a goal LDL below 130mg/dL, but if you have certain medical problems such as heart disease,diabetes or strokes the goal can be as low as 70. For HDL the goal is more straight forward 45mg/dL and the higher the better. Your primary care physician or cardiologist can best discuss your results to help you meet your goals. Good luck!

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