HDL cholesterol is the high density lipoprotein cholesterol.
Lipoproteins are the combination of lipids (fats) and proteins.
High lipoproteins carry about 30% of the cholesterol from tissues of the body to liver.
HDL will remove cholesterol from the atheroma in the arteries.
Then this cholesterol is transported to the liver for reutilization or for excretion.
This is the reason HDL is called as good cholesterol. If you have high level of HDL cholesterol, (HDL-c) then you will have less risk of cardiovascular diseases.
How much raise in HDL cholesterol level help in avoiding the risk of heart diseases?
If your body has even small increase of HDL cholesterol then also you can reduce the risk of heart attack.
You can reduce from 2 to 4% of the risk of coronary heart disease, if your HDL cholesterol (HDL-c) level is increased by 1mg/dl. The test for HDL cholesterol is done along with the other lipid tests. These tests are used for estimating the risks of heart problems.
From this test, if you have high level of cholesterol then it is better than low level cholesterol. If you have less than 40mg/dl of HDL level, then you will have risk of heart disease.
If you have more than 40mg/dl HDL level, then you will have average risk of heart disease. If you have HDL level of more than 60mg/dl, then you will have less than average risk of heart disease.
Higher your HDL level so that your LDL level is reduced in your blood. If you have high level of cholesterol, then you can reduce the risk of coronary artery disease to half.
Your lifestyle changes will have greatest impact on the HDL cholesterol:
You should not smoke as it reduces your HDL cholesterol level and your blood tends to clot.
You should maintain healthy weight: If you have excess pounds, then this charges on the HDL cholesterol. There is one advantage that, if you are overweight, then a small reduction in your weight will improve your HDL cholesterol level.
If you lose two pounds of weight then your HDL-c level will rise by 0.35mg/dl and for loss of six pounds you can improve 1mg/dl HDL-c level. For maintaining healthy weight, you should make permanent changes in your eating habits and exercise habits.
You should reduce more weight, which results in the healthier heart and improves your self-respect and energy.
Perform more physical activity: You can improve your HDL cholesterol from 3 to 9% by doing aerobic exercises (brisk walking, swimming and cycling).
Select healthier fats to eat: You can take healthier fats, but only upto certain limit that is from 25 to 35% of your total calories. You should take saturated fats only about 7% of your total calories.
You should avoid taking trans fat as these foods increases LDL cholesterol and reduces HDL cholesterol level. You can take mono saturated fats (olive, peanut and canola oils) for healthy body. You can also take nuts, fish and other omega-3fatty acids for being healthy.
Maintain HDL cholesterol level for healthy heart.