What is the Difference Between HDL and LDL Cholesterol?

 Do you know the difference?

Sanaz Majd, MD

Why is it that some people with cholesterol over 200 don’t have heart attacks, whereas others with levels of under 200 do?

The answer is in the types of cholesterol that each person has. There are 3 types:

High Density Lipoproteins (HDL)

Low Density Lipoproteins (LDL)

Very Low Density Lipoproteins (VLDL)

High LDL is associated with higher risk of heart disease, while a high HDL is associated with a lower risk. The VLDL, which is mainly triglycerides, has a much smaller effect than the HDL and LDL. LDL is commonly referred to as bad cholesterol, and HDL as good cholesterol. You have to wonder how long these politically-incorrect names will be used. LDL’s self-image must be shot by now with all the praise being heaped on HDL.

Patient and Doctor image courtesy of Shutterstock

About the Author

Sanaz Majd, MD

Dr. Sanaz Majd, a board-certified Family Medicine physician who graduated from Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia. She sees everything from pediatrics to geriatrics, but her special interests are women's health and patient education. She also loves to teach, and has been doing so since her college days.

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