Normal Cholesterol Levels – What Are They?
What are normal cholesterol levels? To understand the answer to this question you must first of all understand a little about cholesterol in general, and how it functions in your body.
Cholesterol — It’s Not the Enemy!
The first thing to know is that cholesterol is not bad. Your body needs cholesterol. It travels around your body in two proteins, that are called high density and low density proteins.
The high density cholesterol is the good type, and once your body has all that it requires, these high density proteins take the bad cholesterol (low density) back to your liver to deal with and flush out of your body. Under normal conditions your body has its own way of maintaining balance.
Here’s a way to remember which is good and which is bad:
HDL — you want this kind of cholesterol to be High.
LDL — you want this type of cholesterol to be Low.
But Watch Out for LDL Cholesterol
However, if you have too much bad cholesterol in your system then this cannot be gotten rid of effectively by the good cholesterol and it builds up, this is what causes the problems. It can clog up your arteries. Too much of this bad cholesterol can cause heart problems, heart disease, strokes and even diabetes.
Why a Balance is Important
This is why it is so important to maintain normal cholesterol levels in your body. You need to have enough of the good stuff to handle the bad stuff. You can do this making sure that you do not put to many fatty foods into your body and by exercising regularly to help burn up any excess fat that you may be storing. In general a healthy diet and lifestyle should in itself maintain normal cholesterol levels in your body.
Your blood cholesterol is measured in units called millimoles per litre of blood, often shortened to mmol/L.
Getting Your Blood Cholesterol Levels
But how do you know what your cholesterol levels are? A blood test will tell you your levels. Sometimes you can buy these yourself but most people have their doctor or nurse carry out this simple painless procedure. You should have these tests regularly, and take remedial action if you see any rise in levels so that you can catch it and treat it early.
Numbers to Shoot For
The numbers to shoot for for healthy blood cholesterol levels are:
Total Cholesterol — 200 or less
HDL — at least 60
LDL — 40 or lower
Cholesterol Levels are for Everyone!
A common misconception is that only overweight or obese people will have above normal cholesterol levels. Weight is not necessarily an indication of high cholesterol, and while obesity may sometimes be linked with unhealthy amounts of cholesterol in the body, the slim and thin are by no means exempt.