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Cholesterol Charts
(What the Numbers Mean)

What Is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that is naturally present in cell walls or membranes everywhere in the body. The body uses cholesterol to produce many hormones, vitamin D, and bile acids that help to digest fat. Too much cholesterol in your bloodstream can lead to narrowing of arteries in the body that cause heart attacks, strokes, and peripheral artery disease.

How Are Cholesterol Levels Checked?

Cholesterol levels are checked by a simple blood test. This test measures total cholesterol, low-density lipoproteins (LDL) cholesterol, high-density lipoproteins (HDL) cholesterol, andtriglycerides. Your health care practitioner will be able to help you interpret the blood test results to determine if your cholesterol levels are normal or require treatment.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/30/2015

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How to Lower Cholesterol: TLC Diet

The TLC (Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes) diet is recommended by the National Cholesterol Education Program of the U.S. National Institutes of Health. It calls for limiting saturated fats and avoiding trans fats in your diet.

  • You may get 25% to 35% of your daily calories from fat, mainly from unsaturated fat.
  • Most of the fat should be monounsaturated, and only 10% of the fat should be polyunsaturated fat.
  • Less than 7% of your daily calories should come from saturated fat.
  • Eat no more than 200 mg of dietary cholesterol a day.


Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

High HDL Cholesterol (Hyperalphalipoproteinemia) »

High-density lipoprotein (HDL) is positively associated with a decreased risk of coronary heart disease (CHD).

Read More on Medscape Reference »

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