In a world of good and bad cholesterol, LDL is the bad one. LDL collects in the walls of blood vessels, causing the blockages of atherosclerosis. Higher LDL levels put you at greater risk for a heart attack from a sudden blood clot in an artery narrowed by atherosclerosis.
Getting your LDL cholesterol checked helps determine your risk for heart disease. If your LDL cholesterol is high, treatment can reduce your chance of having a heart attack.
What Is LDL Cholesterol?
Cholesterol isn't all bad. Itís an essential fat that your bodies' cells need. Some cholesterol comes from diet and some is made by the liver. Cholesterol can't dissolve in blood, so proteins in the blood carry it where it needs to go. These carriers are called lipoproteins.
Acting like a microscopic bus fleet, lipoproteins pick up and carry loads of cholesterol through the blood. Each form of lipoprotein has different preferences for cholesterol, and behaves differently with the cholesterol it carries.
An LDL particle is a microscopic blob consisting of an outer rim of lipoprotein surrounding a cholesterol center. LDL is called low-density lipoprotein because LDL particles tend to be less dense than other kinds of cholesterol particles.