What is the difference between cholesterol and triglycerides?
Cholesterol and triglycerides are separate types of fat that circulate in your blood. Cholesterol is used to build cells and certain hormones, and triglycerides provide your body with energy. Since cholesterol and triglycerides cannot dissolve in blood, they circulate throughout your body with the help of protein packages called lipoproteins.
Low-density lipoproteins: LDL, or "bad" cholesterol carries cholesterol throughout your body, depositing it along the walls of your arteries. Cholesterol buildup forms plaques that make arteries hard and narrow, increasing the risk of coronary artery disease.
High-density lipoproteins: HDL, or "good" cholesterol picks up excess cholesterol in your blood and takes it back to your liver for disposal. The higher your HDL, the less bad cholesterol you will have in your blood.
Triglycerides: Triglycerides are a type of fat found in your blood. When you eat, your body converts calories it doesn't need to use right away into triglycerides, which are stored in your fat cells. Later, triglycerides may be released for energy between meals. A high triglyceride level means that you regularly consume more calories than you burn.
What if my cholesterol levels are abnormal?
Abnormal cholesterol results should be discussed with your Primary Care Physician, however, making changes to daily habits can help improve LDL and HDL levels. These include:
Ways to help lower triglycerides include: