Cholesterol
    What is cholesterol?
    Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance made in the liver and found in certain foods,
    such as food from animals, like dairy products (whole milk), eggs and meat.

    The body needs some cholesterol in order to function properly. Its cell walls, or
    membranes, need cholesterol in order to produce hormones, vitamin D and the bile
    acids that help to digest fat. But, the body needs only a small amount of cholesterol to
    meet its needs. When too much is present health problems such as coronary heart
    disease may develop.

    High Cholesterol: Understanding Cholesterol Numbers
    Cholesterol levels should be measured at least once every five years by everyone
    over the age of 20. The test that is usually performed is a blood test called a
    lipoprotein profile. The lipoprotein profile includes:

  • LDL (low density lipoprotein cholesterol, also called "bad" cholesterol)
  • HDL (high density lipoprotein cholesterol, also called "good" cholesterol)
  • Triglycerides (fats carried in the blood from the food we eat. Excess calories, alcohol
    or sugar in the body are converted into triglycerides and stored in fat cells throughout
    the body.)


Results of your blood test will come in the forms of numbers.
Here is how to interpret your cholesterol numbers:

LDL Cholesterol
LDL cholesterol can build up on the walls of your arteries and increase your chances of
getting heart disease. That is why LDL cholesterol is referred to as "bad" cholesterol. The
lower your LDL cholesterol number, the better it is for your health. The table below explains
what the numbers mean.

    LDL Cholesterol                   LDL-Cholesterol Category  
    Less than 100.......................Optimal
    100 - 129..............................Near optimal/above optimal
    130 - 159..............................Borderline high
    160 - 189..............................High
    190 and above......................Very high

If you have heart disease or blood vessel disease, some experts recommend that you
should try to get your LDL cholesterol below 70. For people with diabetes or other multiple
risk factors for heart disease, the treatment goal is to reach an LDL of less than 100.


HDL Cholesterol
When it comes to HDL cholesterol -- "good" cholesterol -- the higher the number, the better
it is for your health. This is because HDL cholesterol protects against heart disease by
taking the "bad" cholesterol out of your blood and keeping it from building up in your
arteries. The table below explains what the numbers mean.

HDL Cholesterol  HDL-Cholesterol Category  
60 and above Optimal; 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


Triglycerides
Triglycerides are the chemical form 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. Here's the breakdown.


    Triglycerides                        Triglyceride Category  
    Less than 150........................Normal
    150 - 199...............................Borderline high
    200 - 499...............................High
    500 or higher.........................Very high


Total Cholesterol
Your total blood cholesterol is a measure of LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol and other lipid
components. Doctors recommend total cholesterol levels below 200

    Total Cholesterol                 Category  
    Less than 200.......................Desirable
    200 - 239..............................Borderline High
    240 and above......................High