What Do Your Cholesterol Levels Mean?
If you’ve recently undergone cholesterol testing or you’re about to, you might be confused by all the numbers and abbreviations. Getting familiar with the standard terms related to cholesterol might take some reading, but it’s always going to benefit you to learn what your doctor will be referencing when you discuss the test results. Let’s have a closer look at cholesterol levels in general and what they mean:
What You’ll Be Testing For
You’re likely going to encounter several abbreviations in your test results. Your total blood cholesterol level shows the bigger picture, as it is a measure of several cholesterol components. However, it’s impossible to analyze and interpret its values without observing the benefits of the cholesterol components, too. They are:
- LDL — low-density lipoprotein, also known as “bad” cholesterol that is prone to building up on artery walls and increase the risk of heart disease;
- HDL — high-density lipoprotein or “good” cholesterol, which works against LDL and protects you from heart disease;
- VLDL — very low-density lipoprotein, the component of lipids that carries triglycerides which is the chemical form of fat; it forms plasma lipids.
Generally, the normal range of LDL varies depending on whether you already have blood vessel or heart disease. If you do, your treatment goal will be to bring down your LDL levels below 70. If you’re only high-risk, it should be less than 100. However, if you’re not suffering from any of these diseases and you’re not considered to be high risk, then these are the ranges you’ll be looking at:
- Less than 100 — optimal;
- Between 100 and 129 — near or above optimal;
- Between 130 and 159 — borderline high;
- Between 160 and 189 — high;
- Above 190 — very high.
HDL levels are somewhat easier to interpret, as there are only two options. If it’s less than 40, that’s considered to be low and could be a risk factor. However, HDL above 60 is a good thing, as it is the level at which HDL is effective at lowering the risk of heart disease.
The optimal time for measuring triglycerides is after an overnight fast, including both food and alcohol. An excess of triglycerides might be a risk factor of coronary artery disease, so keeping it low is a good thing. Here’s a breakdown of the numbers:
- Less than 150 — normal;
- Between 150 and 190 — borderline high;
- Between 200 and 499 — high;
- Above 500 — very high.
Keeping Cholesterol Levels Normal
Fortunately for those who find their results worrying, there are various ways of keeping your cholesterol levels under control. Since risk factors include alcohol consumption, smoking, obesity or being overweight, being physically inactive, and eating a diet high in carbs, cutting back on these behaviors will help get your levels in check.
However, if changing your diet and harmful habits overnight are proving too challenging, there’s the option of taking natural supplements that help fight cholesterol. Cholesterade is undoubtedly going to be a powerful ally in keeping your cholesterol levels healthy.