Cholesterol is a natural occurring substance in the body that is fatty and waxy yet useful in many ways in the human body. However, too much of it and it will adhere to the walls of the blood vessels, called plaque, and will narrow them to the point of heart attack or stroke. To prevent this buildup, most healthcare officials tell their patients to keep their cholesterol numbers low or normal. Do you know what your numbers mean?
Normal Cholesterol Ranges
According to experts at the National Cholesterol Education Program, your total cholesterol number should be in the under 200 mg/dl (milligrams per deciliter). This is normal blood cholesterol for the total number. Levels from 200-240 mg/dl is considered to be borderline high and needing diet, exercise, and sometimes medication to bring to a normal number. Those with a total cholesterol number over 240 mg/dl is considered to have high cholesterol and will definitely need both lifestyle changes and medication to control.
What the Cholesterol Numbers Mean
There are four different numbers that your doctor or healthcare professional may give you when you get a cholesterol screening. Many only know the correct range for their total cholesterol, but there are many other numbers to know the meaning of.
- Triglyceride # – Under 150 is good, 150-500 is borderline, and over 500 is high.
- LDL (Low density cholesterol) # – Under 130 is good, 130-160 is borderline, and over 160 is high.
- HDL (High density cholesterol) # – Over 50 is good, 50-35 is borderline, and under 35 is high.
- Total Cholesterol # – Under 200 is good, 200-240 is borderline, and over 240 is high.
According to Disabled World, if you are age 20 and above you should have your cholesterol tested every 5 years. This is a general guideline and that “cholesterol level testing should be more frequent if a person: is a man over age 45 or a woman over age 50, has total cholesterol of 200 mg/dL or more, has HDL (good) cholesterol less than 40 mg/dL, or is at risk of heart disease and stroke.”
Cholesterol testing is a simple blood test that can be done quickly and provide you a good snapshot over your heart attack and stroke risk. If your cholesterol is elevated, you should be screened for other risk factors as well. Keep in mind that cholesterol screenings is only one piece to the heart attack and stroke prevention puzzle.