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42 Differences Between HDL And LDL Cholesterol


HDL and LDL are two types of lipoproteins that circulate in the bloodstream and transport cholesterol and other lipids. Cholesterol is required for many body activities, but having excessive levels of certain forms of cholesterol, notably LDL cholesterol, might increase the risk of heart disease.


High-density lipoprotein cholesterol, or HDL cholesterol, is a kind of cholesterol transported in the bloodstream by high-density lipoprotein particles. Because of its beneficial benefits on heart health, it is commonly referred to as “good” cholesterol. HDL cholesterol serves an important function in the body by removing excess cholesterol from the bloodstream and delivering it to the liver for processing and elimination. Here are some of the important characteristics and benefits of HDL cholesterol.

To keep your HDL cholesterol levels healthy, live an active lifestyle that includes daily physical activity, a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean proteins, and good fats, and avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol use. HDL cholesterol levels can also be influenced by genetics, age, and gender.

When determining cardiovascular risk, doctors frequently examine the total cholesterol to HDL cholesterol ratio. A lower ratio signifies a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. While having greater HDL cholesterol levels is generally helpful, having exceptionally high levels may not provide further protection and may be a symptom of an underlying disease.


LDL cholesterol is an acronym that refers to Low-Density Lipoprotein cholesterol. It is a cholesterol-carrying molecule found in the bloodstream. Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like molecule that is required for many body activities, including hormone generation and cell membrane construction. However, having high LDL cholesterol levels can trigger the development of atherosclerosis, a disease in which fatty deposits, including cholesterol, collect on the inner walls of arteries, causing them to narrow and harden.

LDL cholesterol is commonly referred to as “bad” cholesterol since high levels of it increase the risk of cardiovascular illnesses such as heart attacks and strokes. When LDL cholesterol levels are high in the bloodstream, these particles can penetrate and collect within the artery walls. This causes an inflammatory reaction, which results in the creation of plaque. This plaque can build up over time, narrowing the arteries and restricting blood flow to essential organs such as the heart and brain.

Also Read: Introns vs Exons- 25 Major Differences



HDL Cholesterol

LDL Cholesterol



High-density lipoprotein

Low-density lipoprotein



Contains more protein and less cholesterol

Contains more cholesterol and less protein



“Good” cholesterol

“Bad” cholesterol


Transport Function

Removes excess cholesterol from arteries

Carries cholesterol to cells and tissues


Atherosclerosis Risk

Associated with lower risk of atherosclerosis

Linked to higher risk of atherosclerosis


Cardiovascular Health

Protects against heart disease

Increases risk of heart disease


Cholesterol Clearance

Transports cholesterol to the liver for excretion

Deposits cholesterol in arteries


Influence on Blood Vessels

Helps keep blood vessels clear and flexible

Can lead to plaque buildup in arteries


Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Has anti-inflammatory effects

Promotes inflammation in blood vessels


Liver Interaction

Binds to liver receptors for removal

Binds to artery walls, contributing to plaque formation


Cholesterol Efflux

Promotes reverse cholesterol transport

Contributes to cholesterol deposition


HDL to Total Cholesterol Ratio

Higher ratio associated with lower risk

Lower ratio associated with higher risk


Lipoprotein Particle Size

Smaller, denser particles

Larger, less dense particles


Relationship to Heart Disease

Inverse relationship with heart disease risk

Direct relationship with heart disease risk


Triglyceride Influence

Generally inversely related to triglycerides

Can be influenced by high triglyceride levels


HDL-C Level Categories

Desirable: >60 mg/dL; Poor: <40 mg/dL

Optimal: <100 mg/dL; Elevated: >160 mg/dL


Lifestyle Influence

Increased by exercise, healthy fats, and moderate alcohol consumption

Increased by saturated fats and sedentary lifestyle


Hormone Production

Involved in hormone production and function

Not directly involved in hormone production


Cardiovascular Disease Risk

Lower risk of cardiovascular disease

Higher risk of cardiovascular disease


Target of Medications

Generally not targeted by medications

Often targeted by lipid-lowering medications


Metabolic Role

Helps remove excess cholesterol from cells

Contributes to cholesterol buildup in cells


Health Impact on Blood Vessels

Beneficial for endothelial health

Associated with endothelial dysfunction


Metabolism in Liver

Returns cholesterol to liver for processing

Metabolized in the liver


Genetic Factors

Genetic mutations can affect levels

Genetic factors can affect levels


Influence on Arterial Plaque

Inhibits plaque formation

Contributes to plaque formation


Relationship to Stroke Risk

Inverse relationship with stroke risk

Modestly associated with stroke risk


Role in Inflammation

Associated with anti-inflammatory effects

Associated with inflammation and oxidation


Medical Interventions

Often associated with positive outcomes

Focus of interventions to lower levels


Role in Lipid Metabolism

Supports reverse cholesterol transport

Involved in lipid metabolism


Cardioprotective Effects

Has cardioprotective effects

Lacks cardioprotective effects


Lipid Profile Interpretation

High HDL levels are generally favorable

High LDL levels are generally unfavorable


Impact on Blood Viscosity

Can have a positive impact on blood viscosity

May increase blood viscosity


Hormonal Regulation

Involved in hormone synthesis and regulation

Not involved in hormone synthesis


Diet and Nutrition

Beneficially influenced by healthy fats and oils

Negatively influenced by saturated fats and trans fats


Role in Reverse Cholesterol Transport

Facilitates movement of cholesterol from peripheral tissues to liver

Not involved in reverse cholesterol transport


Health Impact on Arteries

Can help keep arteries clear and flexible

Can lead to hardening and narrowing of arteries


Oxidation Susceptibility

Less susceptible to oxidation

More susceptible to oxidation


Genetic Disorders

Low HDL levels associated with certain genetic disorders

Elevated LDL levels associated with certain genetic disorders


Dietary Impact

Can be improved by healthy dietary choices

Can be worsened by unhealthy dietary choices


Cardiovascular Event Risk

Inversely related to cardiovascular event risk

Directly related to cardiovascular event risk


Impact on Plaque Stability

May stabilize plaque in arteries

May contribute to unstable plaque


Medical Interventions

Often associated with positive outcomes

Focus of interventions to lower levels

Also Read: B Cells vs T Cells- Definition and 25 Key Differences

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What role does LDL cholesterol play in the body?

LDL cholesterol transports cholesterol from the liver to cells all over the body. When LDL cholesterol levels are high or oxidised, it can cause plaque to build in arteries, narrowing them and raising the risk of heart disease.

What is a normal HDL cholesterol level?

A greater amount of HDL cholesterol in adults is typically thought to be preferable. A HDL level of 60 mg/dL or more is commonly thought to be protective against heart disease, whereas values less than 40 mg/dL (for men) and 50 mg/dL (for women) may be associated with an elevated risk.

What is a normal LDL cholesterol level?

The ideal level of LDL cholesterol varies according to an individual’s risk factors. Lower levels are generally preferable. A LDL level of less than 100 mg/dL is advised for persons at low risk. A LDL level of less than 70 mg/dL may be sought for people at higher risk, particularly those with pre-existing cardiac problems.

What can I do to increase my HDL cholesterol?

HDL levels are heavily influenced by lifestyle variables. Regular exercise, eating healthy fats (such as those found in olive oil, avocados, and almonds), and minimising trans fats can all help improve HDL levels.

Does genetics have an impact on cholesterol levels?

Yes, genetics do influence how your body processes cholesterol. Even if they live a healthy lifestyle, some people may have a genetic susceptibility to high cholesterol levels.

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