Check Your Cholesterol Levels And Save Your Heart

Before we delve into what cholesterol levels mean, it will be good to refresh our minds of what cholesterol really is. Your body needs cholesterol to build cell walls, make hormones and perform other important jobs.

So your liver manufactures its own on a daily basis which is more than enough for the needed body functions.

After it is made, it has to be carried to various parts of the body through the blood for its beneficial needs, but cholesterol is a waxy candle-like lipid (fats) that can't dissolve in the blood so it becomes difficult for it to be transported around.

To solve this problem, it mixes with proteins to become lipoproteins that can easily move this waxy substance from place to place. These lipoproteins are classed in two, namely - Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and High-density lipoprotein (HDL).

What Does Cholesterol Levels Mean

Simply put, cholesterol levels is the measurement of LDL and HDL to arrive at a desirable or not so desirable level.

Everyone should make a goal to keep their cholesterol levels at desirable numbers. But how can you set a goal if you don't know your numbers? Well the solution is simple. Have your doctor do a blood test to determine your numbers or levels.

The National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) recommends that all adults aged 20 years and over should have a yearly cholesterol check, or at the very least, every 5 years. So if you are over 20 years and haven't had a check, it will be wise to do so now.

Measuring Your Cholesterol Levels: Measurement for cholesterol are calculated in three-fold - meaning that when your blood sample is drawn, the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) level and high-density lipoprotein(HDL)level in the blood will be tested and measured separately. Both numbers are then added to arrive at the total level.

Your total cholesterol number represents the general risk of developing heart disease. However, your doctor may choose to focus on your triglyceride and LDL level because that is considered a better measure of risk than your total cholesterol number.

Total Cholesterol: This number reflects the total amount of cholesterol found in the lipoproteins (LDL, HDL and VLDL)circulating in the blood.

LDL Cholesterol: The higher your LDL number, the greater your risk of developing heart disease. That’s because too much LDL cholesterol in your bloodstream can build up in your arteries, increasing your risk of heart disease.

HDL Levels: The higher your HDL, the lower your risk of developing heart disease. High concentration particles in the blood keeps your heart and blood vessels in top shape.

Levels (Numbers) You Should Be Happy Or Concerned About

Total Cholesterol Levels

Below 200 mg/dL = Desirable

200-239 mg/dL = Borderline high

240 mg/dL and above = High

LDL cholesterol

Below 70 mg/dL = Desirable

Below 100 mg/dL = Ideal

100-129 mg/dL = Near ideal

130-159 mg/dL = Borderline high

160-189 mg/dL = High (At risk for heart disease)

Above 190 mg/dL = Very high (Extreme risk for heart)

HDL Cholesterol

Below 60 mg/dL = Poor

50-59 mg/dL = Better

60 mg/dL or higher = Best

Triglycerides Below 150 mg/dL = Desirable

150-199 mg/dL = Borderline high

200-499 mg/dL = High

500 mg/dL and above = Very high

If you find that you fall in the high risk levels after reviewing the numbers above, click here for the best way to lower your cholesterol

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