Cholesterol and triglycerides are essential for our body, but what are their main differences? Discover why they are necessary for our health.
Every time we carry out a routine blood test, it is normal that we find different parameters and values considered basic, which are included in the results of the analysis on a regular basis, since they are elements that indicate to the doctor how well you are. The person, so that any altered level (above or below) may be an indication of the existence of some disorder or health problem, whether mild or serious.
Within these different most common and common basic parameters we can find transaminases (liver parameters, which help to know if the liver is working correctly), bilirubin (which in high values could cause jaundice and is also an indication of liver and gallbladder function) or creatinine (useful to know if the kidneys are working properly).
But there are also parameters that help to know the levels of fats in the blood, useful to know if there is a high volume (which would be a health risk, by increasing the chances of suffering from a disease or cardiovascular accident), or if they are in optimal values. These are the cholesterol and triglyceride numbers.
What is cholesterol?
The cholesterol is a (or sterol) lipid found in different body tissues and blood plasma. We find it in high concentrations in the liver, pancreas, brain, and spinal cord. It is a fundamental substance for the proper functioning of our body, since among other aspects, it is essential for the creation of plasma membranes that regulate the entry and exit of substances into cells.
What are triglycerides?
The triglycerides become the main type of fat that is carried by the body in order to supply energy or to be stored as fat when this energy is not used by our body. After eating, the body digests the fats in the food eaten, then releasing the triglycerides into the blood. As with cholesterol, it is a type of lipid that is essential for the body.
What are their main differences?
Fundamentally, we find differences between cholesterol and triglycerides in the different functions in which they actively participate. Of course, we find a point in common: they are fundamental and essential for our body. Here are some of its distinctions:
- Cholesterol functions: precursor of the sex hormones of vitamin D and of corticosteroid hormones, essential for our cells as it is part of cell membranes, and is a basic component of bile salts. In addition, we must differentiate between LDL cholesterol and HDL cholesterol.
- Functions of triglycerides: it provides energy, becoming the main energy reserve of the body, hence its excess is stored in large deposits. By forming a layer of fat under the skin, it protects our body from extreme changes in temperature. It is essential for the absorption of vitamins A, D, E and K.
We also find distinctions in their values considered normal:
- Cholesterol values: less than 200 mg / dl (normal), 200-240 mg / dl (high limit), above 240 mg / dl (very high). In relation to LDL cholesterol, its normal values are below 130 mg / dl, 130-160 mg / dl (high limit), above 160 mg / dl (very high). In relation to HDL cholesterol, its optimal values are above 40 mg / dl (between 40 and 70 mg / dl), being low below 35 mg / dl.
- Triglyceride values: their normal values are between 40 to 160 mg / dl (in men) and 35 to 135 mg / dl (in women).
If you want to discover more about these and other values, I encourage you to read our useful article to understand a blood test.