What You Must Know About Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance carried in the bloodstream. It comes from two sources. (1) It is produced by an enzyme in our body (a liver enzyme called HMG-CoA reductase), (2) It also comes from the food we eat. The human body needs some cholesterol because it is essential to form cell membranes, some hormone, and other needed tissue. But an abnormally high level of cholesterol in the blood (hypercholesterolemia) is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, which leads to heart attacks and stroke, the number one cause of death in many countries around the world.

Cholesterol and other fats cannot dissolve in the blood; they have to be transported in the bloodstream by special carriers of lipids and proteins called lipoproteins. There are several kinds of lipoproteins. The two most important ones are low-density lipoprotein (LDL), high-density lipoprotein (HDL), which carries one-third to one-fourth of blood cholesterol.

A high level of LDL reflects an increased risk of heart disease, and that is why LDL is often referred to as “bad” cholesterol. Conversely, scientific and medical research has determined that HDL carries cholesterol away from the arteries and back to the liver, where it is processed. HDL is therefore known as “good” cholesterol

What Do the Cholesterol Levels and Numbers Mean?

TC – TOTAL CHOLESTEROL

– Less than 200 mg/dL-Desirable

– From 200 to 239 mg/dL-Moderate Risk (lifestyle & diet changes recommended)

– From 240 to 299 mg/dL-Elevated Risk (consult with a health care provider)

– Above 300 mg/dL-High Risk (must be under treatment by a medical doctor)

LDL – BAD CHOLESTEROL

– Less than 100 mg/dL-Optimal

– From 100 to 129 mg/dL-Less than optimal (consult with a health care provider)

– From 130 to 159 mg/dL-Moderately High (consult with a health care provider)

– From 160 to 189 mg/dL-High (must be under treatment by a medical doctor)

– Above 190 mg/dL-Very high (must be under treatment by a medical doctor)

HDL – GOOD CHOLESTEROL

– Less than 40 mg/dL-Low (consult with a health care provider)

– Above 60 mg/dL-High (good, the higher the better)

– General Suggestions for LDL HDL Cholesterol Levels Management

Check your cholesterol levels frequently.

Watch what you eat.

Exercise and control your stress levels.

Make sure you are taking-in an adequate amount of basic nutrients on a daily basis

Consider going on a cholesterol-reducing regimen or treatment.

By Suzana