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What is hdl cholesterol?

Dr Louisa Draper

"The NHS recommends that hdl cholesterol levels for an adult should be 1 mmol/L (millimoles per litre) or more. Adopting healthy lifestyle choices will help you to maintain this level of hdl cholesterol."

Dr Louisa Draper


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Cholesterol is a type of lipid called a sterol, that is largely produced by your liver. Cholesterol has important functions in hormone production and digestion. It is used by cells all over your body, transported to where it is needed via your blood. However, cholesterol is insoluble in water, so it cannot travel in the bloodstream unaided. 

Lipoproteins are molecules formed of lipid (fat) and protein that attach to cholesterol and help carry it around the body. There are several different types of lipoproteins. Hdl, which stands for high density lipoprotein, is one of those that form attachments to cholesterol.