Interpretation of Your Cholesterol Count
If you have had a cholesterol test, you know there are four cholesterol numbers included in your report (or lipoprotein profile).
These are the TC or total cholesterol, the LDL or low density lipoproteins, the HDL or high density lipoproteins, and the TG or triglycerides level.
Do you know your cholesterol ratio?
The ideal cholesterol numbers for TC are anything that is less than 200mg/dL. If your TC falls between 200 and 239mg/dL, you are not yet in serious trouble but the risk is definitely there.
You may have to take steps to lower your cholesterol count. If your total cholesterol level – TC – surpasses 240mg/dL, you will already be in the high risk category for heart problems and other cholesterol-related health issues.
The following table is helpful in showing what your cholesterol numbers and levels mean, by Heart.org
|Total Cholesterol Level||Category|
|Less than 200 mg/dL||Desirable level that puts you at lower risk for coronary heart disease. A cholesterol level of 200 mg/dL or higher raises your risk.|
|200 to 239 mg/dL||Borderline high|
|240 mg/dL and above||High blood cholesterol. A person with this level has more than twice the risk of coronary heart disease as someone whose cholesterol is below 200 mg/dL.|
|HDL Cholesterol Level||Category|
|Less than 40 mg/dL (for men)
Less than 50 mg/dL (for women)
|Low HDL cholesterol. A major risk factor for heart disease.|
|60 mg/dL and above||High HDL cholesterol. An HDL of 60 mg/dL and above is considered protective against heart disease.|
|LDL Cholesterol Level||Category|
|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|
|Less than 100 mg/dL||Optimal|
|Less than 150 mg/dL||Normal|
|150–199 mg/dL||Borderline high|
|500 mg/dL and above||Very high|
Factors That Affect Your Cholesterol Numbers
There are many factors that can affect your cholesterol count, including ones you have no control over, like age and genetics and ones you do have control over, such as diet and lifestyle.
However, if high cholesterol runs in your family that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything to control it. You can still maintain healthy cholesterol levels by managing your weight, exercising regularly, eating the right types of foods and quitting smoking and drinking.
Cholesterol numbers generally increase as you get older, but this is no reason to resign yourself to living with high cholesterol and its risks.
The Lowdown on Bad and Good Cholesterol
Have you ever noticed how many food products there are today that are labelled as being “low cholesterol” or “cholesterol-free”? The reason for this is the growing awareness of the general public about the health risks associated with cholesterol.
Anyone watching their diet, doesn’t want to increase their cholesterol numbers by buying the wrong types of foods, so food manufacturers advertise to let shoppers know that their products have little or no cholesterol content. What many people don’t realize is that we actually need cholesterol for our bodies to function properly.
Adequate amounts of good cholesterol is necessary in order to counteract the effects of bad cholesterol, which include risks of heart disease and other cardiovascular problems. The only cholesterol we need to limit is the LDL cholesterol, which is commonly found in saturated fats and trans fats.
Low Density Lipoproteins — The Bad Cholesterol
Low density lipoproteins, more commonly known as LDL, can block up your arteries if found in excessive amounts in your bloodstream. Once your arteries are blocked, your heart will need to work harder and your risk for many different health problems will increase tremendously.
As you can see in the chart, if you can keep your LDL cholesterol count under 100mg/dL you are in the optimal range. If your LDL falls between 100 and 129mg/dL, you should start watching what you eat so that your cholesterol number will reduce. Once your LDL count exceeds 130mg/dL, you can look at ways to reduce it.
If you are seeing a doctor they will probably prescribe statins to control your cholesterol levels, however, there are also natural choices you can make and natural cholesterol supplements to help lower cholesterol levels.
Look At Your Diet
In order to bring down your LDL cholesterol and keep it within the healthy range, your doctor should also advise that a healthy diet is your first best choice.
Most doctors agree that the best thing to do would be to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, while cutting down on processed meats and fatty foods at the same time. Whole grains and plenty of water is also recommended.
Along with making improvements to your daily diet, you should also begin to exercise more regularly. If you are a smoker, it is strongly recommended that you try to stop smoking. You can read your cholesterol numbers and you can be happy about them, or you can make changes to improve them…the choice is yours!