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What is LDL?



LDL stands for low density lipoprotein. LDL is one of several lipoproteins carrying cholesterol in our bloodstream, and is sometimes referred to as the “bad” cholesterol. The reason being that it is responsible for transporting cholesterol from the liver where it is produced, to the various tissues in our bodies.

Cholesterol is essential for the production of several compounds in our body such as cortisol and testosterone, why a total elimination of cholesterol would be fatal. However, excessive amounts will create plaques in our arterial walls, eventually increasing the risk of events such as heart attacks and strokes.

Low levels of LDL indicate that you have a lower risk for developing cardiovascular diseases, while high levels indicate an increased risk.

Since high LDL levels are associated with increased risk for cardiovascular disease, the most important and prominent reason for measuring LDL together with other lipids is to identify and evaluate your risk value. Furthermore, you can monitor the effectiveness of medication or lifestyle changes by tracking your LDL levels.



Low levels of LDL



Low levels of LDL indicate reduced transport of excessive lipids and cholesterol to surrounding tissues from the liver. Since that is fundamental for the development of atherosclerosis, low levels of LDL are associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.

Important note: Extremely low levels can also indicate medical conditions such as malabsorption, hyperthyreosis and genetic predisposition which might need further investigation.



High levels of LDL



High levels of LDL means you have an increased amount of LDL circulating in your bloodstream. This over time most often results in an increased build-up of lipids in tissues including the arterial walls, causing plaque development (also known as atherosclerosis). Atherosclerosis is strongly associated with the development of cardiovascular diseases such as strokes and heart attacks.