Everyone has heard about the importance of monitoring cholesterol levels today. However, not everyone knows exactly what that means. There are different numbers included in a cholesterol screening, and some need to be high while others should be low. This article will provide a comprehensive overview of cholesterol levels so you can understand your next screening at the doctor’s office a little bit better.
Cholesterol travels through the body by attaching itself to a special kind of protein. There are two types of cholesterol-protein combinations known as lipoproteins; the high density and the low density. One delivers cholesterol to the bloodstream and the other carries it away. It is important to differentiate between the two cholesterol levels when studying about it. One should be higher, while the other will be lower for a healthy cardiovascular system.
Important things about HDL Cholesterol Levels
HDL stands for high density lipoprotein, and this is the cholesterol that helps the body get rid of “bad” cholesterol in the bloodstream. The HDL cholesterol levels should be higher, since lower number will increase your risk of cardiovascular disease. A good target number to shoot for is 60 because the risk of cardiovascular disease is less at this levels. Anything lower than 40 puts you in a high risk category.
LDL Cholesterol Levels
Low density lipoprotein or LDL is capable of delivering cholesterol into the bloodstream. While your body needs some cholesterol to build cell membranes, it usually has more of this substance than it needs. A buildup of cholesterol remains in the arteries, forming plaque that makes it harder for blood to pass through freely. The LDL cholesterol levels should be as low as possible. The normal cholesterol levels for LDL are generally between 100 and 129, with anything lower than 100 considered ideal. Those in the range between 130 and 159 are considered borderline high and anything above 160 is in the high risk category.
Cholesterol levels will also combine these two readings for one total cholesterol number. This figure should be less than 200 to assure a healthy cardiovascular system. Over 200 to 239 is considered borderline high and should be monitored very carefully. If the number is over 240, the patient is placed in the high risk category for cardiovascular disease.
Understanding cholesterol levels is the first step to a healthier cardiovascular system. By monitoring cholesterol on a regular schedule, you will be able to take steps to reduce cholesterol levels as soon as they begin to creep up.