Debunking the myth: HDL vs LDL

By Dr. Maysa Ahmed, General practitioner


Dr. Maysa Ahmed
General practitioner

June 27, 2020

There are two types of lipoproteins which carry cholesterol to and from the cells. One is Low-Density Lipoprotein, also called LDL. The other is High-Density Lipoprotein, commonly called HDL. The levels of both LDL & HDL in your body can be measured through a simple blood test.

LDL cholesterol is viewed as 'bad cholesterol' since it adds to fatty build-ups in the arteries (atherosclerosis). This condition narrows the arteries which in turn increases the risk of a Heart Attack, Stroke and Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD).

HDL cholesterol can be thought of as the 'good cholesterol'. In the case of HDL cholesterol; the higher the level, the better.

Experts believe that HDL acts as a scavenger, carrying LDL (bad) cholesterol away from the arteries and back to the liver, where the LDL is broken down and passed from the body. But HDL cholesterol does not completely eliminate LDL cholesterol. Only one-third to one-fourth of blood cholesterol is carried by HDL.

A healthy HDL cholesterol level may protect against heart attack and stroke. Studies show that low levels of HDL cholesterol increase the risk of heart disease.



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