Cholesterol Advice

What Is Small Dense LDL?



Put in simple words, small dense LDL can be described as a type of LDL that increases the risk of heart diseases. It is smaller as well as heavier than the regular LDL cholesterol. This LDL is an increasing risk factor in cardiovascular disease and increases the risk of arthrosclerosis.

Till now, it was believed that high level of LDL can increase the risk of heart attack. However, it is not just the quantity but the quality of LDL that matters too. Since this LDL is more atherogenic, it puts you at a higher risk of various heart diseases.

Do you have small dense LDL?
From young adults to the elderly, almost anyone can develop small dense LDL. To know if you are actually dealing with the problem, several tests need to be performed. However, these tests are not the typical cholesterol tests.

A test called LDL gradient gel electrophoresis is performed to measure the amount of small dense LDL present in the bloodstream. These tests need expertise and are hence not available at all medical facilities. Also, these tests can be fairly expensive.

What causes the development of small dense LDL?
Both lifestyle and hereditary factors can be responsible for the development of small dense LDL. Almost 35% to 45% cases of small dense LDL are caused as a result of hereditary factors. But, there are various lifestyle causes that can result in the development of the problem. These include:

* A carbohydrate rich diet
* Excessive consumption of trans fats
* Uncontrolled diabetes
* Low HDL coupled with high triglycerides
* Metabolic syndrome i.e. collective conditions that increase the risk of Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)

What you can do?
There are several small things that you can do to control the level of small dense LDL in your body. Making certain lifestyle changes can help control the formation of small dense LDL. These are:

* Reduce your carbohydrate intake by going in for a protein rich diet.
* Cut down on your intake of saturated fats and trans fats.
* Those suffering from diabetes, should try to keep the problem in control by using appropriate medication and opting for a healthy diet.
* Keep your weight in control. You can achieve this by going in for a diet that is low on both fats and carbohydrates. Also, indulge in moderate physical activity everyday.
* There are several medications also that can help reduce the formation of small dense LDL. These include fibrates and niacin. However, these medicines should be taken under the supervision of your health care provider only.