Font Size
A
A
A
1

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, and triglycerides. Your health-care professional 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 5/23/2016

Must Read Articles Related to Understanding Your Cholesterol Level

High Cholesterol and Children
Cholesterol and Children High cholesterol is a risk factor for coronary heart disease in adults, but some children may be at risk for premature coronary heart disease if they have high ...learn more >>
Cholesterol FAQs
Cholesterol FAQs Test your cholesterol IQ by reading abou...learn more >>

Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Cholesterol Charts (What the Numbers Mean):

High Cholesterol - Treatment

What was the treatment for your high cholesterol?

Cholesterol Levels - Experience

Please describe your experience with cholesterol levels.

How to Lower Cholesterol with Diet and Exercise

High blood cholesterol can lead to heart attack. stroke, and peripheral artery disease. Check out these tips to lower cholesterol with lifestyle changes:

  • Reduce all fats in your diet. Pay particular attention to saturated fats.
  • Try to exercise 30 minutes a day. Go for a walk around the block after lunch or dinner, spend time in the garden, or ride bikes with the kids. If you can't get in 30 minutes, remember that any exercise is better than none.

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 »


Medical Dictionary