What Are Normal Levels Of Cholesterol
Normal levels of cholesterol are different depending on your age and sex. These guidelines show desirable total, non-HDL,LDL and HDL levels by age and sex.
Table 1: Target cholesterol levels by age and sex
|Age and sex|
People aged 19 years and younger Men aged 20 years and olderWomen aged 20 years and older
The table above spells out the numbers for normal cholesterol levels. The table below shows you cholesterol levels that are higher than normal. High cholesterol numbers vary by age group and sex, and may be different for those who have heart disease. These guidelines represent high cholesterol numbers for those who do not have heart disease.
Table 2: High total, non-HDL and LDL cholesterol levels by age and sex
|Age and sex|
|People aged 19 years and younger|
Borderline: 170-199 mg/dL
High: Greater than or equal to 200 mg/dL
Borderline: 120-144 mg/dL
High: Greater than or equal to 145 mg/dL
Borderline: 110-129 mg/dL
High: Greater than or equal to 130 mg/dL
High: Greater than or equal to 239 mg/dL
Near optimal or above optimal: 100-129 mg/dL
Borderline high: 130-159 mg/dL
Very high: Greater than 189 mg/dL
High: Greater than or equal to 239 mg/dL
Near optimal or above optimal: 100-129 mg/dL
Borderline high: 130-159 mg/dL
Very high: Greater than 189 mg/dL
LDL cholesterol levels
If you do not have heart disease or blood vessel disease, and you are not at high risk for developing heart disease, the optimal number is less than 100 mg/dL.
Ask The Doctor: Can Hdl Cholesterol Be Too High
Q.I know I need to keep my LDL cholesterol low and my HDL cholesterol high, but can HDL ever be too high?
A. For high-density lipoprotein levels, it does appear that the higher, the betterat least to a point. But you should also think about how you achieve that level. HDL is known as the “good” cholesterol particle because it functions to clear cholesterol from the arteries and deliver it back to the liver. Higher HDL levels are associated with a lower risk of heart disease. HDL levels lower than 40 milligrams per deciliter are considered worrisome, and levels higher than 60 mg/dL are considered excellent.
One recent study that examined high levels of HDL reported the benefits extended until 90 mg/dL in men, but then leveled off, which suggests no further benefit even with higher levels. A man’s HDL level is predominantly determined by genetics, or inherited factors. Moderate-intensity exercise, three to four times a week, is an important mechanism to raise HDL with the bonus of other health benefits. Other methods to raise HDL are not so healthy. For instance, medications or supplements, like niacin, have shown disappointing results in controlled studies. Alcohol intake is known to increase HDL, but consuming more than two standard drinks a day can raise your risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke.
–William Kormos, MD
What Causes Low Hdl Cholesterol Levels
While having low;triglycerides;and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol can have a positive effect on your heart health, having low levels of;high-density lipoprotein ;cholesterol may count against you. That’s because;HDL is considered “good cholesterol.”
HDL;plays an interesting role in that it actually removes LDL cholesterol from the walls of your arteries. This may protect your arteries from clogging up and causing conditions like a heart attack or stroke.
In fact, studies have shown that low HDL levels;are linked to an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease. This is especially true if other;lipids,;such as;LDL cholesterol;and triglycerides, in your blood are also high. Likewise, research suggests that to a certain extent, high HDL levels are linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.
It’s important to understand that there is no direct causal relationship found between HDL levels and having a heart attack or strokehinting that other factors are at play, and a person’s HDL level is one piece of the puzzle.
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Cholesterol Levels For Adults
- Total cholesterol levels less than 200 milligrams per deciliter are considered desirable for adults. A reading between 200 and 239 mg/dL is considered borderline high and a reading of 240 mg/dL and above is considered high.
- LDL cholesterol levels should be less than 100 mg/dL. Levels of 100 to 129 mg/dL are acceptable for people with no health issues but may be of more concern for those with heart disease or heart disease risk factors. A reading of 130 to 159 mg/dL is borderline high and 160 to 189 mg/dL is high. A reading of 190 mg/dL or higher is considered very high.
- HDL levels should be kept higher. A reading of less than 40 mg/dL is considered a major risk factor for heart disease. A reading from 41 mg/dL to 59 mg/dL is considered borderline low. The optimal reading for HDL levels is of 60 mg/dL or higher.
How Can You Prevent High Cholesterol Levels And Coronary Heart Disease
Prevention methods are very much the same as treatment methods. First, dont smoke. If you do smoke, make plans to quit now. Find ways to add physical activity to each of your days. Take steps to keep your weight in a healthy range. Eat well. Consider following the Mediterranean diet. It is the only diet proven to reduce the risk of heart disease. Take care of any other medical conditions you might have by following your healthcare providers advice and instructions. Learn to really relax and calm down.
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Symptoms Of High Blood Cholesterol
Usually, the first symptom of high cholesterol is the simply the consequence of harboring an undetected heart issue that results in a heart attack or other peripheral vascular disease.
Individuals who suffer from extremely high cholesterol levels sometimes develop deposits of fat under the skin and in tendons, a condition called xanthomas. Spleen, liver or pancreas problems may also emerge when cholesterol levels are out of control.
Undergoing blood tests and comparing cholesterol numbers to a cholesterol chart is the most accurate and reliable method to use when deciding whether high cholesterol levels exist.
If Cholesterol Is Necessary Why Do We Have To Worry About How Much We Have
Having enough cholesterol to meet your needs is important. Having too much cholesterol can cause problems. If your cholesterol levels are high, the condition is called hypercholesterolemia. If your cholesterol levels are low, the condition is called hypocholesterolemia. It is not common to have cholesterol levels that are too low, but it can happen.
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What Makes Hdl Cholesterol So Good
HDL is short for high-density lipoprotein. Each bit of HDL cholesterol is a microscopic blob that consists of a rim of lipoprotein surrounding a cholesterol center. The HDL cholesterol particle is dense compared to other types of cholesterol particles, so it’s called high-density.
Cholesterol isn’t all bad. In fact, cholesterol is an essential fat. It provides stability in every cell of your body.
To travel through the bloodstream, cholesterol has to be transported by helper molecules called lipoproteins. Each lipoprotein has its own preferences for cholesterol, and each acts differently with the cholesterol it carries.
Experts believe HDL cholesterol may act in a variety of helpful ways that tend to reduce the risk for heart disease:
- HDL cholesterol scavenges and removes LDL — or “bad” — cholesterol.
- HDL reduces, reuses, and recycles LDL cholesterol by transporting it to the liver where it can be reprocessed.
- HDL cholesterol acts as a maintenance crew for the inner walls of blood vessels. Damage to the inner walls is the first step in the process of atherosclerosis, which causes heart attacks and strokes. HDL scrubs the wall clean and keeps it healthy
Can I Take The Test At Home
At-home tests are available that measure HDL cholesterol. There are various options for at-home HDL cholesterol testing.
An at-home self-test involves a fingerstick blood sample that provides results without having to send your sample to a lab. In these self-tests, a drop of blood is applied to a special test paper. The test paper either changes color based on your cholesterol levels or is inserted into a small device that analyzes your blood.
A self-collection test involves taking a fingerstick blood sample at home and then mailing it to a laboratory that measures the level of HDL cholesterol.
Some at-home tests only measure total cholesterol and do not provide a result for HDL cholesterol. For this reason, it is important to look closely at the test to determine if it includes a measurement of HDL-C.
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Add Coconut Oil To The Diet
Studies have shown that coconut oil may reduce appetite, increase metabolic rate, and help protect brain health, among other benefits.
Some people may be concerned about coconut oils effects on heart health due to its high saturated fat content. However, it appears that coconut oil is actually quite heart-healthy.
Some studies have shown that coconut oil tends to raise HDL cholesterol more than many other types of fat.
In addition, some studies have shown that coconut oil may improve the ratio of low-density lipoprotein , or bad, cholesterol to HDL cholesterol. Improving this ratio reduces heart disease risk .
One study examined the health effects of coconut oil consumption in 40 females with excess abdominal fat. The researchers found that those who took coconut oil daily had increased HDL cholesterol and a lower LDL-to-HDL ratio.
In contrast, the group who took soybean oil daily had a decrease in HDL cholesterol and an increase in the LDL-to-HDL ratio .
However, more recent reviews suggest that the research into coconut oil and cholesterol is of poor quality, is not conclusive, and often reports that coconut oil can raise the levels of LDL cholesterol. Therefore, more research is needed .
Most studies have found that these health benefits occur at a dosage of about 2 tbsp of coconut oil per day. It is best to incorporate this into cooking rather than eating spoonfuls of coconut oil on their own.
How Do I Know What My Hdl Level Is
A blood test can measure your cholesterol levels, including HDL. When and how often you should get this test depends on your age, risk factors, and family history. The general recommendations are:
For people who are age 19 or younger:
- The first test should be between ages 9 to 11
- Children should have the test again every 5 years
- Some children may have this test starting at age 2 if there is a family history of high blood cholesterol, heart attack, or stroke
For people who are age 20 or older:
- Younger adults should have the test every 5 years
- Men ages 45 to 65 and women ages 55 to 65 should have it every 1 to 2 years
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Can You Get Rid Of Cholesterol Deposits
Researchers are working on ways to eliminate plaque from coronary arteries. One method that has been proposed involves using combinations of medicines in healthy people aged 25 to 55 years. It is suggested that getting the levels of cholesterol down very low will allow arteries to clear up and heal up.
Several researchers believe that the way to reverse heart disease, and to prevent it in the first place, is found in a whole food, plant-based diet. Studies have been done that have shown that limiting nutrition to whole foods that are plant-based have been successful in reducing blood cholesterol and even, in some cases, lessening plaque buildup.
What Are Hdl And Ldl
HDL and LDL are two types of lipoproteins.They are a combination of fat and protein. The lipids need to be attached to the proteins so they can move through the blood. HDL and LDL have different purposes:
- HDL stands for high-density lipoproteins. It is sometimes called the “good” cholesterol because it carries cholesterol from other parts of your body back to your liver. Your liver then removes the cholesterol from your body.
- LDL stands for low-density lipoproteins. It is sometimes called the “bad” cholesterol because a high LDL level leads to a buildup of cholesterol in your arteries.
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When High Cholesterol Is Good
There are two main types of cholesterol in the body, and only one of them is usually considered to be a risk to heart health.
Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol contributes to the fatty buildup that can clog the arteries. When this buildup clogs or narrows the arteries, a heart attack or stroke is more likely to occur. With LDL cholesterol, lower is better.
HDL cholesterol is useful for the heart. HDL cholesterol may remove LDL cholesterol from the blood and transport it to the liver, where it can be processed and eliminated. A higher HDL number is desirable because it usually signals a lower risk of heart disease.
Heart Uk Recommendations For People With High Levels Of Hdl
If you have a family history of early heart disease
Ideally your doctor should contact a lipid specialist for advice if:
- your HDL cholesterol level is higher than average with no obvious cause
- and other people in your family, such as a parent or sibling, have heart disease and were diagnosed below the age of 60.
If your total cholesterol and HDL cholesterol are high
If your total cholesterol is over 7.5mmol, with HDL over 2.5mmol, then your doctor should base their treatment decision mainly on your LDL cholesterol .
Raised LDL cholesterol puts your heart health at risk so it needs to be brought under control.
Note that the TC/HDL ratio may be misleading if your HDL is high.
Look after your overall health
If you have high cholesterol, its important to lower your risk of heart disease overall. Try to adopt a healthy diet and lifestyle and manage any other health problems you have that can lead to heart disease. For example:
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What Are The 5 Risk Factors Of Heart Disease
There are five important heart disease risk factors that you can control. A poor diet, high blood pressure and cholesterol, stress, smoking and obesity are factors shaped by your lifestyle and can be improved through behavior modifications. Risk factors that cannot be controlled include family history, age and gender.
Why Cholesterol Levels Differ In Men And Women
Healthy cholesterol levels are the same for boys and girls through childhood. But this changes when puberty hits. “Women have higher HDL cholesterol from puberty on. Boys have more testosterone, which lowers HDL,”Robert Eckel, MD, professor of medicine, emeritus, at the University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus, former president of the American Heart Association and president of the American Diabetes Association, tells LIVESTRONG.com.
Essentially, after puberty, women tend to have higher levels of “good” cholesterol than men. “Theoretically, this is why women live longer and tend to have heart attacks later in life ,” Dr. Eckel says.
Pregnant women or older women taking hormone-replacement therapy to manage menopausal symptoms tend to have higher average cholesterol, Dr. Eckel says. But this increase is actually caused by HDL, which can be quite high for these groups.
“It’s important to understand that, if HDL is high, it’s distributed in a form of cholesterol that we’re not concerned about,” he says. “In fact, it may be protecting women from the risk of heart attack, stroke or death from cardiovascular disease.”
This is why understanding the difference between HDL and LDL is so important simply having high total cholesterol may not be an issue if it’s caused by elevated levels of good cholesterol.
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Data From Observational Studies
HDL-C is popularly known as good cholesterol and high levels are associated with low cardiovascular risk, but the role of HDL in vascular disease is complex. Anti-atherosclerotic effects of HDL-C include increment in reverse cholesterol transport and macrophage cholesterol efflux, anti-inflammatory activity, inhibition of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol oxidation, endothelial cell apoptosis. It also interferes with the thrombotic component of atherosclerosis by inhibiting platelet aggregation and reducing expression of cellular adhesion molecules.
The protective effect of HDL on atherosclerosis is suggested by the observation in humans that plasma HDL-C concentrations above 75 mg/dL are associated with prolonged life and relative freedom from coronary heart disease.
Studies in animals have shown that overexpression of the apolipoprotein A-I gene prevents the development or progression of atherosclerosis.
Serum HDL-C inversely predicts the time to a first major cardiovascular event as well as the risk of coronary events in patients with known CHD across a broad range of LDL-cholesterol levels. Low HDL-C is also a stronger predictor of CHD events in patients with an LDL-C < 125 mg/dl.
When divided into quintiles, the highest quintile of HDL-C had 40% lower rates of CHD than the lowest quintile .
In a meta-analysis of studies in the Asia-Pacific region, there was a negative correlation between HDL-C and CHD events , again underscoring the role of low HDL-C.
How To Lower Cholesterol: Smart Protein
To reduce cholesterol, limit red meat and eat more fish and lean poultry.
How to Prepare Healthy Proteins
- Trim all fat from meats, and remove all skin from poultry before cooking.
- Broil or bake, don’t fry foods.
- Drain fat from any meats before serving.
- Avoid processed meats such as hot dogs or cold cuts, even those labeled “reduced fat,” as many are still high in saturated fats and calories.
- Oily fish such as salmon or trout are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which can reduce triglyceride levels and improve HDL cholesterol levels.
- Soy proteins can also have a beneficial effect and help to reduce LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, while raising HDL cholesterol levels.