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.
Why Do I Need A Cholesterol Test
You will get a free NHS cholesterol test if you have a number of risk factors for high cholesterol including if youre over 40, have coronary heart disease or diabetes, have had a stroke or mini stroke, or have a family history of cardiovascular disease or a cholesterol-related condition.
Understanding your cholesterol levels
We hear a lot about the dangers of high cholesterol, but unless you have a blood test, you have …
Why Age Is A Factor
The recommended ranges for your cholesterol will vary based on age and gender. As people get older, cholesterol levels rise naturally. For example, people who have gone through menopause may have higher LDL and lower HDL cholesterol levels.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children’s cholesterol levels be checked between ages 9 and 11.
However, children with certain risk factors, such as those whose parents or grandparents have had heart attacks or been diagnosed with blocked arteries at age 55 or earlier in males or 65 or earlier in females, should be tested for cholesterol between ages 2 and 10.
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Salsa Pico De Gallo And More
Forget about mayo or ketchup. Get out your chefs knife and start chopping. Throw together fresh tomatoes, onion, garlic, cilantro, and other heart-healthy ingredients for fresh dips that make snacking healthier.
Be careful with store-bought salsa, which is often high in sodium. You may need to closely monitor your sodium intake if you have heart disease or high blood pressure.
How Is The Total Cholesterol Or Blood Cholesterol Test Done
A blood test is a routine test. A phlebotomist is the person whose job it is to draw blood. Blood is usually drawn from the vein in your arm. You will sit down and the phlebotomist will wrap a rubber band around your upper arm so that the vein in your elbow sticks out. Then they will use a needle to puncture the vein and remove blood. The blood is sent to the lab to be examined.
Youve probably been at health fairs where testing is offered. In that case, the person performing the test takes a drop of blood from your finger. The finger stick test uses a small blade to poke a hole in the tip of your finger to get the blood.
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Causes Of Changing Cholesterol Levels
Your cholesterol levels will change as you age, most likely increasing. There are a number of causes for changing cholesterol levels. They include:
If you eat foods high in saturated fat and cholesterol, it will make your total cholesterol level rise. The saturated fat is the main cause. This type of fat comes mainly from animal food products. You can find it in meat, dairy products, chocolate, baked goods, deep-fried foods, and processed foods. These foods make up a typical American diet, and consuming a lot of these foods is cautioned against.
Weight and physical activity
If you are overweight, your risk for heart disease increases and so do your cholesterol levels. Not being physically active also contributes to a risk for heart disease and high cholesterol levels. Exercising daily and losing weight can help lower your bad cholesterol, LDL, and increase your good cholesterol, HDL.
Smoking can lower your good cholesterol, HDL, making it harder for your body to remove cholesterol from your arteries.
Age and gender
As you age, your total cholesterol levels increase. Women have lower total cholesterol levels than men of the same age. But when a woman goes through menopause, her bad cholesterol, LDL, tends to rise.
Cholesterol Levels For Children
By comparison, acceptable levels of total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol in children are different.
- An acceptable range of total cholesterol for a child is less than 170 mg/dL. Borderline high total cholesterol for a child ranges from 170 to 199 mg/dL. Any reading of total cholesterol over 200 in a child is too high.
- A childs LDL cholesterol levels should also be lower than an adults. The optimal range of LDL cholesterol for a child is less than 110 mg/dL. Borderline high is from 110 to 129 mg/dL while high is over 130 mg/dL.
What Other Tests Might I Have Along With This Test
Your healthcare provider may also order other tests to look at how well your heart is working. These tests may include:
- Electrocardiogram, or ECG, which tests your heart’s electrical impulses to see if it is beating normally
- Stress test, in which you may have to exercise while being monitored by ECG
- Echocardiogram, which uses sound waves to make pictures of your heart
- Cardiac catheterization. For this test, a healthcare provider puts a tube into your blood vessels and injects dye. X-rays are then done to look for clogs in the arteries of the heart
Your provider may also order tests for high blood pressure or blood sugar, or glucose.
What Affects My Cholesterol Levels
A variety of things can affect cholesterol levels. These are some things you can do to lower your cholesterol levels:
- Diet. Saturated fat and cholesterol in the food you eat make your blood cholesterol level rise. Saturated fat is the main problem, but cholesterol in foods also matters. Reducing the amount of saturated fat in your diet helps lower your blood cholesterol level. Foods that have high levels of saturated fats include some meats, dairy products, chocolate, baked goods, and deep-fried and processed foods.
- Weight. Being overweight is a risk factor for heart disease. It also tends to increase your cholesterol. Losing weight can help lower your LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. It also raises your HDL cholesterol level.
- Physical Activity. Not being physically active is a risk factor for heart disease. Regular physical activity can help lower LDL cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol levels. It also helps you lose weight. You should try to be physically active for 30 minutes on most, if not all, days.
- Smoking.Cigarette smoking lowers your HDL cholesterol. HDL helps to remove bad cholesterol from your arteries. So a lower HDL can contribute to a higher level of bad cholesterol.
Things outside of your control that can also affect cholesterol levels include:
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Who Should Have A Cholesterol Test
Anyone can have their blood cholesterol level tested, but its particularly important for people that are over 40 years old, have high blood pressure, are overweight, or have a family history of coronary heart disease.
Adults aged between 4074 years, living in England are eligible for a free NHS Health Check which includes a blood cholesterol check. If you have a history of heart disease in the family or youre concerned you have high cholesterol, speak with your doctor who will be able to offer some advice.
Making Sense Of Your Cholesterol Numbers
It’s important to know your cholesterol levels and what they mean so you can take action to protect your heart health.
Good cholesterol, bad cholesterol, high LDL, low HDL: Understanding your cholesterol levels can be confusing. Even though its complicated, learning how to make sense of your cholesterol numbers is important. It’s the key to knowing what steps you need to take to keep your heart healthy.
Unfortunately, high cholesterol has no warning signs. But if your levels of cholesterol a fat-like substance in the body are too high, that can seriously increase your risk of heart disease. Thats why certain blood tests are necessary to measure the amount of cholesterol in your blood. “The earlier we can address cholesterol issues, the more likely we are to prevent the development of heart disease,” says David Frid, MD, a cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic.
Cholesterol Tests and What They Mean
It’s recommended that all adults older than 20 have a fasting lipoprotein profile, a blood test performed after 9 to 12 hours of fasting, once every five years. The test provides the following breakdown of your cholesterol in milligrams per deciliter of blood, or mg/dL:
2 Other Ways to Assess Cholesterol
Frid notes, however, that this test is expensive. In most cases, he believes doing a basic cholesterol test and knowing patients’ risk factors are enough.
Taking Control of Your Cholesterol Numbers
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Why High Cholesterol Matters
High cholesterol puts you at risk for heart disease and stroke, leading causes of death in the U.S. High levels of LDL cholesterol can contribute to plaque buildup on the walls of the arteries, narrowing the arteries and restricting blood flow. If some of this plaque breaks off and gets stuck in a narrowed artery, it can block the artery and cut off blood supply to the heart or brain, resulting in heart attack or stroke.
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The purpose of the Southern Cross Medical Library is to provide information of a general nature to help you better understand certain medical conditions. Always seek specific medical advice for treatment appropriate to you. This information is not intended to relate specifically to insurance or healthcare services provided by Southern Cross. For more articles go to the Medical Library index page.
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What Does A Cholesterol Score Measure
The American Heart Association recommends adults age 20 and older have cholesterol levels checked every four to six years.
A cholesterol score usually contains three measurements:
- Low density lipoproteins
- Bad cholesterol
- Too much LDL can deposit in the artery walls
- This buildup can form plaque that narrows arteries and restricts blood flow, which lead to coronary artery disease
What Kind Of Test Measures Cholesterol
Everyone over the age of 20 should get their cholesterol levels measured at least once every five years. Your healthcare provider will order a blood test that will indicate how much cholesterol is carried in your bloodstream. This test will give your cholesterol levels. Your provider might also order what is called a lipid panel or a lipid profile. The panel gives you the following numbers:
- Total cholesterol.
- Non-HDL cholesterol.
- Ratio between cholesterol and HDL.
There are advanced tests that break down the size and shapes of LDL cholesterol levels, and also give the LDL particle number, but those are not normally ordered. Some test makers say that the more advanced tests are better at indicating who is at risk for heart disease, but most providers still feel that the usual tests are adequate.
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How Is High Cholesterol Diagnosed
A blood test, specifically a lipid panel or lipid profile, will show your total cholesterol levels.
The measured total cholesterol level is made up of your LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol and 20% of triglycerides .
For an accurate reading, you should not eat or drink anything between nine and twelve hours before the sample is taken.
In Australia, cholesterol levels are measured in millimoles per litre .
The range below is a guide for a healthy blood cholesterol level.
- Total cholesterol should be between: 3.9 5.5 mmol/L
- HDL should be between: 0.9 2.1 mmol/L
- LDL should be between: 1.7-3.5 mmol/L
- Triglycerides should be between: 0.5 1.7 mmol/L
Healthy Cholesterol Levels By Age
The following table was adapted from the Cleveland Clinic :3
|Cholesterol Levels by Age: Normal, Borderline, and High|
|More than 45 mg/dL|
|Greater than or equal to 200 mg/dL||Greater than or equal to 130 mg/dL|
|Males 20 and older||More than 40 mg/dL|
|Greater than or equal to 239 mg/dL||160189 mg/dL|
|More than 45 mg/dL|
|Greater than or equal to 200 mg/dL||Greater than or equal to 130 mg/dL|
|Females 20 and older||More than 50 mg/dL|
|Greater than or equal to 239 mg/dL||160189 mg/dL|
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What Is The Role Of Ldl Cholesterol In The Blood
LDL cholesterol is also known as the Bad cholesterol because it is the responsible to carry cholesterol from the liver to the bloodstream. LDL binds to cholesterol for that transport.
Cholesterol is an essential type of fat for the bodys cells because it is part of the cell membrane. Cholesterol is also the precursor of vitamin D, myelin and some hormones.
That is the reason why cholesterol is present in the bloodstream. The cholesterol must be available to the cells to perform all those tasks.
Ldl Cholesterol: ‘bad’ Cholesterol
Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, often referred to as “bad” cholesterol, is the type that tends to deposit on the walls of the arteries. White blood cells combine with the LDL cholesterol, forming artery-narrowing plaque, which restricts blood flow. The optimal level of LDL cholesterol for most people is 100 mg/dL or lower. If you have heart disease, you may need to strive for LDL levels of 70 mg/dL or lower.
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What About Triglycerides
Triglycerides are another common source of fat found in the bloodstream, which provide a major source of energy. If you consume more energy from foods and beverages than what you need throughout the day, this energy is converted into triglycerides by the liver and stored within fat cells, ready for use later.
If you are consistently eating more energy than you burn, over time it is likely that you will have high triglycerides.
High triglycerides can lower levels of HDL and increase heart disease risk and have been linked to atherosclerosis and inflammation of the pancreas.
The good news is that you can lower your triglycerides rapidly through dietary changes.
Good And Bad Cholesterol
There’s only one kind of cholesterol but it is carried around the body by different carriers called lipoproteins, notably:
- Low density lipoprotein
- High density lipoprotein
In simple terms, cholesterol carried by LDLs is considered bad because when theres too much of it circulating in your blood it contributes to plaque build-up that clogs arteries and makes them less flexible . If you have high blood cholesterol your goal will be to reduce LDL levels in your blood.
On the other hand, cholesterol carried by HDLs is considered good because it carries cholesterol away from the arteries and back to the liver, where it is broken down and passed from the body. Any lifestyle changes or treatment for high blood cholesterol will aim to ensure HDL levels are increased or maintained at healthy levels.
When blood cholesterol tests are done, the level of triglycerides in your blood is also measured. Triglycerides are the most common type of fat that exists in food and in the body. When calories ingested in a meal are not used immediately by the body, they are converted to triglycerides and are transported to the fat cells to be stored. It is thought that elevated triglyceride levels may increase the risk of developing heart disease, particularly when associated with high LDL-cholesterol levels.
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What Is A Healthy Cholesterol Level
This table is a general guide for ideal cholesterol and triglyceride levels for healthy adults in the UK. If you have a condition such as heart disease or diabetes, your target levels may be lower your doctor will be able to tell you your individual targets.
|Above 6 is considered high risk – the lower this figure is the better||Above 6 is considered high risk – the lower this figure is the better|
Another Type Of Fat Found In The Blood Mainly From The Food We Eat
Whats healthy? Less than 1.7 mmol/L ideally on a fasting sample, or less than 2.3 mmol/L on a non-fasting sample.
What should I do? Very high triglyceride levels can cause a painful condition called pancreatitis. People can have raised levels for many reasons, but the most common reasons are lifestyle-related:
- Being apple-shaped .
- Developing or having type 2 diabetes.
Excessive alcohol consumption.
You can keep your triglyceride levels low by losing weight, being more active and eating sensibly, especially by cutting back on alcohol, sugary foods and saturated fats, and eating more fruits, vegetables, pulses and wholegrains.
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