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Cholesterol (cont.)

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How can levels of HDL cholesterol be increased?

The first step in increasing HDL cholesterol levels (and decreasing LDL/HDL ratios) is by implementing therapeutic life style changes. Regular aerobic exercise, loss of excess weight (fat), and smoking cessation will increase HDL cholesterol levels. Regular alcohol consumption (such as one drink a day) will also raise HDL cholesterol. Because of other adverse health consequences of excessive alcohol consumption, alcohol is not recommended as a standard treatment for low HDL cholesterol.

What are triglycerides and VLDL?

Triglyceride is a fatty substance that is composed of three fatty acids. Like cholesterol, triglyceride in the blood either comes from the diet or the liver. Also, like cholesterol, triglyceride cannot dissolve and circulate in the blood without combining with a lipoprotein.

The liver removes triglyceride from the blood and it synthesizes and packages triglyceride into VLDL (very low-density lipoprotein) particles and releases them back into the blood circulation.

Do high triglyceride levels cause atherosclerosis?

Whether elevated triglyceride levels in the blood lead to atherosclerosis and heart attacks is controversial. While abnormally high triglyceride levels may be a risk factor for atherosclerosis, it is difficult to conclusively prove that elevated triglyceride by itself can cause atherosclerosis. Elevated triglyceride levels are often associated with other conditions that increase the risk of atherosclerosis, including obesity, low levels of HDL cholesterol, insulin resistance, poorly-controlled diabetes, and small, dense LDL cholesterol particles.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/13/2014


Cholesterol Management

Tips to keep it under control.

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