There is only one type of cholesterol, but it is carried around the body by different ‘carriers’ (lipoproteins) that have different tasks. There are two types of carriers: LDL (low density lipoprotein) and HDL (high density lipoprotein).
- Known as ‘bad’ cholesterol
- The role of LDL in the body is to transport cholesterol to all organs for use in building cells
- LDL is like a large ‘dump truck’, and dumps cholesterol in the artery walls.
- HDL cholesterol is like a ‘pick up’ truck that picks up and transports cholesterol from the blood stream to the liver, which gets rid of it
- The role of HDL in the body is to carry extra cholesterol away from the arteries to the liver
- Known as ‘good’ cholesterol.
Triglycerides are the most common form of fat in your body. The role of triglycerides is to store and transport fat in the blood. Extra energy from food and alcohol that your body does not need is changed to triglycerides. High triglycerides increase your risk of heart attack and stroke.
Total cholesterol is a rough measure of all the cholesterol and triglycerides in your blood.
Total cholesterol/HDL cholesterol ratio is the ratio of your total cholesterol to your HDL cholesterol. This ratio is used to measure your risk of heart attack and stroke.