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LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol is "bad" cholesterol, which carries mostly fat and only a small amount of protein from the liver to other parts of the body. A high LDL cholesterol level is considered a risk factor for coronary artery disease (CAD) because, under certain conditions, it can cause hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis).
Cholesterol is measured either in milligrams per deciliter of blood (mg/dL) or in millimoles per liter of blood (mmol/L).
People who have at least a moderate risk for developing heart disease (especially those who have diabetes) may benefit from lowering their LDL cholesterol levels. The specific target LDL level depends on a person's number and type of risk factors.
Last Revised: June 29, 2012
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Robert A. Kloner, MD, PhD - Cardiology & Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
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