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Understanding Your Cholesterol Level (cont.)

Cholesterol Charts (What the Numbers Mean)

Total cholesterol is the sum of all the cholesterol in your blood. Your risk for heart attack and stroke increases with higher cholesterol levels. Other risk factors include smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, and family history of heart disease or stroke.

Total cholesterol
Less than 200 mg/dL: desirable
200-239 mg/dL: borderline high risk
240 and over: high risk

HDL (high density lipoprotein) is considered the "good" cholesterol because it may help decrease the cholesterol buildup in the walls of arteries that causes narrowing of their openings.

HDL (high density lipoprotein)
Less than 40 mg/dL (men), less than 50 mg/dL (women): increased risk of heart disease
Greater than 60mg/dL: some protection against heart disease

LDL (low density lipoprotein) is considered "bad" cholesterol. The risk of heart disease goes up if you have a high level of LDL cholesterol in your blood because of increased potential for narrowing of blood vessels.

LDL (low density lipoprotein)
Less than 100 mg/dL: optimal
100-129 mg/dL: near optimal/above optimal
130-159 mg/dL: borderline high
160- 189 mg/dL: high
190 mg/dL and above: very high

Triglycerides are another type of fat in the bloodstream. High levels are a risk factor for narrowing arteries in the body.

Triglycerides
Less than n150 mg/dL: normal
150-199 mg/dL: borderline to high
200-499mg/dL: high
Above 500 mg/dL: very high
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/19/2014

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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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