Working...
This site is intended for US Consumers

Health Journey Support | LDL (Bad) Cholesterol and HDL (Good) Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a fat-like substance made by your liver and also comes from foods you intake that is then packaged into particles called lipoproteins. This brochure explains the differences between "bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and "good” high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, and their effects on the body.

Keyword must be at least 2 characters long You must enter a keyword(s) to search

If you are a health care professional affiliated with an employer, institution, or committee, or practicing in a state that restricts what items you may receive from manufacturers, we ask that you not accept or download any restricted items from this site. If you are a health care provider practicing in Vermont, we are required by state law to deny you permission to download any items or review any journal articles made available on this site.

Select language for viewing, sharing, and downloading

This information is intended for US Consumers

LDL (Bad) Cholesterol and HDL (Good) Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a fat-like substance made by your liver and also comes from foods you eat. Your liver packages it into particles called lipoproteins.

Why Cholesterol Is Important

Your body needs cholesterol to make:

  • Hormones
  • Vitamin D
  • Bile, a substance that helps you digest food

If you have been diagnosed with high cholesterol, it's important to understand what cholesterol is and why you need to keep it under control.

Ldl Hdl Cholesterol Br

"Bad" and "Good" Cholesterol

Ldl Hdl Cholesterol Br

There are two types of lipoproteins that carry cholesterol:

  • Low-density lipoprotein, or LDL cholesterol, also known as "bad" cholesterol
  • High-density lipoprotein, or HDL cholesterol, also known as "good" cholesterol

How LDL (Bad) Cholesterol Works

LDL travels through your bloodstream, delivering cholesterol to the cells that need it. If your body has too much LDL, it can build up in the walls of your arteries.

Ldl Hdl Cholesterol Br

LDL and other substances in your artery wall form a fatty deposit called plaque. Over time, plaque can narrow the artery and reduce blood flow. LDL carries cholesterol into the plaque, this is why LDL is called the "bad" cholesterol.

Ldl Hdl Cholesterol Br

This plaque buildup causes coronary artery disease and increases your risk of a heart attack.

Ldl Hdl Cholesterol Br

Plaque buildup in other arteries, such as the carotid arteries in your neck, can reduce blood flow to your brain and increase the risk of a stroke.

How HDL ("Good") Cholesterol Works

Your liver also makes high-density lipoprotein, or HDL, also known as the "good" cholesterol.

Ldl Hdl Cholesterol Br

HDL helps remove excess cholesterol from your cells, tissues and from plaque in your blood vessels. This is why HDL is called the "good" cholesterol.

Ldl Hdl Cholesterol Br

HDL returns the excess cholesterol to your liver, which removes it from your body.

Ldl Hdl Cholesterol Br

Speak to Your Healthcare Provider if You Have:

  • Questions about cholesterol
  • Questions about medications you have been prescribed to manage your cholesterol
  • Experienced any side effects from your medication

It is important to take your medications as directed by your provider, and report any side effects you experience.

The information in this handout has been created and peer reviewed by graduate-level medical illustrators, followed by reviews from medical subject experts, either physicians or PhDs on the Nucleus Medical Review Board, to ensure medical accuracy and audience level appropriateness.

The handout is intended to supplement the information you receive from your healthcare provider and should never be considered personal medical advice. Always contact your healthcare provider with health questions and concerns.