What Do My Cholesterol Levels Mean?
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Since high blood cholesterol signals a higher risk of heart attack, it's
important to have your cholesterol levels checked regularly and discuss them
with your doctor. "Desirable levels" presented here are meant for the general
population. Your particular profile is unique and your doctor will be able to
interpret your results and how it relates to your health.
TOTAL BLOOD CHOLESTEROL is a first step in determining risk for heart
|Desrable Level:||Less than 200 mg/dl (milligrams per deciliter of
|Borderline High:||200 to 239 mg/dl|
|High Risk:||240 mg/dl and higher
Knowing your HDL ("good") CHOLESTEROL is a critical 2nd step
in determination of risk.
HDL stands for high density lipoprotein. HDL is considered the "good"
cholesterol because it seems to protect you from having a heart attack. That
means (unlike other cholesterol levels) the higher your HDL, the better.
You can raise your HDL by quitting smoking, losing excess weight, consuming a
proper diet, and being more active. If you make healthful lifestyle changes you
can raise your HDL and reduce your risk of heart attack.
| ||For Men||For Women|
|Desirable Level:||45 mg/dl or higher||55 mg/dl or higher
|At Risk:||Less than 35 mg/dl||Less than 45 mg/dl|
Your LDL ("bad") CHOLESTEROL level is also critical in determination of
LDL stands for low density lipoprotein. This is the main carrier of harmful
cholesterol in your blood. A high level of LDL means there is a higher risk of
heart disease. Your optimal level of LDL cholesterol is measured by your
physician who considers your personal and family medical history, other risk
factors, and your level of HDL cholesterol.
|Desirable Level:||Less than 130 mg/dl|
|Borderline:||130 to 159 mg/dl|
|High:||160 mg/dl or higher|
If you already have heart or vascular disease, or if you are diabetic, the
desirable level for LDL is less than 100 mg/dl. Many physicians now believe that
patients with known vascular disease should have LDL levels less than 70 mg/dl,
or even lower.
What should my TRIGLYCERIDE level be?
High triglyceride levels can result from being overweight, drinking a lot of
alcohol, consumption of refined carbohydrates and saturated fats, or other
disorders. Triglycerides are also affected by certain medical conditions like
diabetes. Elevated triglycerides are linked to the occurrence of coronary
artery disease, and are often associated with low HDL levels, and with high
blood pressure and diabetes.
|Normal:||Less than 150 mg/dl|
|High:||150 to 400 mg/dl|
|Very High:||Greater than 400 mg/dl|