Have you had your cholesterol checked lately? High cholesterol can lead to heart disease, stroke, diabetes and a number of other conditions that can lower your quality of life and cause untimely death.
Your cholesterol levels should be checked with a lipoprotien profile blood test at least once every five years. The lipoprotein profile includes:
- LDL (low density lipoprotein cholesterol - "bad" cholesterol)
- Triglycerides (fats carried in the blood from the food we eat.)
- HDL (high density lipoprotein cholesterol - "good" cholesterol)
Results of your blood test will provide you with a lot of numbers. But what do they mean? Here is how to interpret your cholesterol numbers:
LDL cholesterol builds up on the walls of your arteries, increasing your chances of getting heart disease. That is why LDL cholesterol is called "bad" cholesterol. The lower your LDL cholesterol number, the better it is for your health. Please note that your LDL cholesterol goal depends on your personal risk factors for coronary artery disease (CAD). Talk to your physician about the best LDL target for you.
Triglycerides are the chemical state in which most fat exists in food and the body. A high triglyceride level has been linked to the occurrence of coronary artery disease in some people.
|Less than 150
|150 - 199
|200 - 499
|500 or higher
HDL cholesterol is the "good" cholesterol. The higher the number, the better it is for your health. HDL cholesterol protects against heart disease by taking the "bad" cholesterol out of your blood, preventing it from building up in your arteries.
|60 and above
||High: helps to lower risk of heart disease
|Less than 40 in men and less than 50 in women
||Low: considered a risk factor for heart disease
Your total blood cholesterol is a measure of LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol and other lipid components. Doctors generally recommend total cholesterol levels below 200.
||Total cholesterol category
|Less than 200
|200 - 239
|240 and above