How Much Cholesterol Is Okay
How much cholesterol? Well, you have received the bad news that your cholesterol is high. They give you a LDL number and HDL number and they talk about your triglycerides. But what on earth do those numbers mean? How much cholesterol is okay. Understanding your numbers is the first step before you can begin to treat high cholesterol.
LDL: LDL is short for Low Density Lipoproteints. LDL is the most common form of cholesterol and is known as the “bad cholesterol” . LDL is the stuff that clogs your arteries leading the atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis, in turn, leads to strokes and heart attacks. Diets high in saturated and trans fats often leads to elevated LDL.
LDL Numbers to Know:
- Less than 100 = normal
- 101-129= near normal, slightly high
- 130-159 = borderline
- 160-189 = high
- 190= severely high
HDL: HDL is short for High Density Lipoproteins. Approximately one-third of the cholesterol you carry in your body is HDL. HDL is called “good cholesterol” because its job is to remove LDL (the bad stuff). The higher your HDL number, the better. The higher the HDL the more bad LDL cholesterol is eliminated from your blood stream preventing it from building up in your arteries. People with higher HDL have far less risk of developing heart disease. Healthy fats such as olive oil and omega 3s can help raise your HDL levels.
HDL Numbers to Know:
- Greater than 60= ideal
- Less than 40= low for men
- Less than 50 = low for women
Triglycerides: Triglycerides are a fat that enters our blood stream from our foods then is stored as body fat. Our system converts excess calories, sugar, alcohol and carbs into triglycerides. People who are overweight, inactive, smokers, or drink large amounts of alcohol often have elevated triglycerides. Diets high in carbohydrates also leads to elevated triglycerides. Numbers over 150 put you at risk for metabolic syndrome which leads to heart disease and diabetes.
Triglycerides Numbers To Know:
- Less than 150 = ideal
- 151-199 = borderline
- 200+ = high
Total Cholesterol: Total cholesterol is a measurement of the total amount of LDL, HDL and VLDL(Precursors to LDL) in your blood stream. The total number should be below 200.
Knowing your numbers and understanding the components of cholesterol is the first step in being able to treat your condition. Diet and exercise has been proven to reverse high cholesterol in many people. Knowing your levels allows you to devise a diet and exercise plan that addresses your specific cholesterol problem. How much cholesterol is a question you need to ask yourself. Getting to the doctor to have a blood draw done will answer how much cholesterol you have.
For more information about cholesterol levels, nutrition and treatment plans, please refer to some of the following resources:
Knowing your cholesterol levels and what your numbers mean gives you the power to create a heart healthy lifestyle. Then you can enjoy a lifetime of good health. How much cholesterol do you have?