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High Cholesterol

Cholesterol is one of many substances that our body creates and uses to keep us healthy. Some of the cholesterol we need is produced naturally, and some of it comes from the food we eat.











There are two types of cholesterol, and it is important to know what these are. Too much of one type or not enough of another can put you at risk for heart disease and stroke.

Low-density lipoprotein (LDL)  "Bad" When too much LDL (bad) cholesterol circulates in the blood, it can slowly build up in the inner walls of the arteries that feed the heart and brain. Together with other substances, it can form plaque, a thick, hard deposit that can narrow the arteries. This condition is known as atherosclerosis. If a clot forms and blocks a narrowed artery, it can cause a heart attack or stroke.

High-density lipoprotein (HDL) "Good" HDL is called "good" cholesterol, because high levels of HDL protect against heart attack. Low levels of HDL (less than 40 mg/dL for men and less than 50 mg/dL for women) also increase the risk of heart disease. HDL appears to carry cholesterol away from the arteries and back to the liver, where it is then passed from the body, which can help slow the buildup of plaque.


What are Triglycerides?
When you get a blood test to check your cholesterol, which can be referred to as a lipid panel, your health care provider may also check your triglycerides.

A triglyceride is a form of fat made in the body. Elevated triglycerides can be due to overweight/obesity, physical inactivity, cigarette smoking, excess alcohol consumption, and a diet high in carbohydrates. People with high triglycerides often have a high total cholesterol level, including a high LDL (bad) level and a low HDL (good) level. Many people with heart disease and/or diabetes also have high triglyceride levels.


Your Cholesterol Levels

Total Cholesterol Level:
          Less than 200 mg/dL   =   Desirable level that puts you at lower risk for coronary heart disease
          200 to 239 mg/dL         =   Borderline high
          240 mg/dL and above  =  High blood cholesterol

HDL Cholesterol Level: (Higher levels are better)

Men: Less than 40 mg/DL

Low HDL, major risk factor for heart disease

Women: Less than 50 mg/DL

Low HDL, major risk factor for heart disease

60 mg/DL and above

High HDL, protective against heart disease

LDL Cholesterol Level: (Lower levels are better)
          Less than 100 mg/dL  = Optimal
          100 to 129 mg/dL        = Near or above optimal
          130 to 159 mg/dL        = Borderline high
          160 to 189 mg/dL        = High
          190 mg/dL and above = Very high

Triglyceride Level: 
          Less than 100 mg/dL   = Optimal
          Less than 150 mg/dL   = Normal
          150–199 mg/dL            = Borderline high
          200–499 mg/dL            = High
          500 mg/dL and above = Very high

Prevention and Treatment
The good news is, you can lower your cholesterol and reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke.  Your health care provider may prescribe medications or give advice about diet and lifestyle changes to help manage your cholesterol. Be sure to carefully follow these recommendations.


Source: American Heart Association