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What Should Your Cholesterol Be

Causes Of Changing Cholesterol Levels

What should my cholesterol level be?

Your cholesterol levels will change as you age, most likely increasing. There are a number of causes for changing cholesterol levels. They include:

Diet

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

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.

Heredity

Its important to know your family history of heart disease and cancers if applicable. How much cholesterol your body makes is partly determined by your genes. High cholesterol can run in your family.

Bad Cholesterol Numbersldl Is Your Enemy

As we mentioned above, HDLs job is to eliminate LDL, or low density lipoprotein. LDL is what builds up in artery walls, causing plaque and leading to heart disease and potential stroke. So those are the bad cholesterol numbers. As you might have guessed, we want these numbers to be as low as possible. The lower your LDL, the lower your risk of heart disease. Its not a direct correlation, as there are other factors including CRP levels, homocysteine and triglycerides, but generally speaking, the lower your LDL the better.

So what should those numbers be? The recommendations for LDL are much more specific than those for HDL. Anything less than 100 mg/dL is considered optimal. Up to about 129 mg/dL is close to ideal. Once you get to about 130 and above thats when it is considered high. If you are above 190 thats very high and is considered a risk.

Its interesting to note that if your LDL levels are high, it can be balanced out by high HDL levels. So its not so bad of you have elevated LDL concentrations if you have optimal HDL concentrations to counteract that. Thats why the cholesterol ratio is the most important number to look at.

We tend to focus on the total cholesterol number, i.e. anything over 200 mg/dL is considered a higher riskbut this number has become much less important as doctors are recognizing the importance of the concentrations of LDL and HDL, and not just the total amount.

What Is A Healthy Normal Cholesterol Level In The Uk

Your cholesterol level is measured in units called millimoles per litre of blood, often shortened to mmol/L.

It is recommended that healthy adults should have a total cholesterol level below 5 mmol/L. In the UK, three out of five adults have a total cholesterol level of 5 mmol/L or above, and the average cholesterol level is about 5.7 mmol/L, which can be a risk factor in the development of coronary heart disease.

However, its important to remember that as well as your cholesterol level, other factors such as smoking and high blood pressure are risk factors for the development of coronary heart disease.

The total cholesterol level includes LDL and HDL . The risk of coronary heart disease is particularly high if you have a high level of LDL cholesterol and a low level of HDL cholesterol. Individual levels of LDL and HDL cholesterol will vary and your doctor will be able to give you specific advice based on your own results.

In the UK, components of cholesterol are measured in units called millimoles per litre of blood . As a guide, these are the values healthy adults should aim for

Total cholesterol

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What Should My Total Cholesterol Level Be

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.

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What Are The Types Of Cholesterol

How to Calculate Total Cholesterol.

Cholesterol moves throughout the body carried by lipoproteins in the blood. These lipoproteins include:

  • Low-density lipoprotein is one of the two main lipoproteins. LDL is often called the bad cholesterol.
  • High-density lipoprotein is the other main lipoprotein. HDL is often called the good cholesterol.
  • Very-low-density lipoproteins are particles in the blood that carry triglycerides.

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How Can I Keep Healthy Blood Cholesterol Levels

Talk to your doctor about your numbers. Your risk of disease depends on other factors, too, in combination with high cholesterol. To keep your cholesterol managed, you should do the following:

  • Choose healthy foods. Limit foods that are high in saturated or trans fats, sugar, and sodium . Choose foods high in fiber, such as fresh fruits and veggies, and in unsaturated fats, such as avocados and nuts. Learn more about healthy eatingexternal icon.
  • Stay physically active. You should get at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate exercise, such as biking or brisk walking, every week.6Learn more about physical activityexternal icon.
  • Dont smoke. Smoking damages the blood vessels and greatly increases the risk for heart disease and stroke. If you dont smoke, dont start. If you smoke, learn how to quit.
  • Take medicine if necessary. A healthy diet and physical activity can help many people reach healthy cholesterol levels, but some people may need medicines to lower their cholesterol. Always take your medicine as prescribed.

Learn more about ways to prevent high cholesterol.

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 Are Normal Cholesterol Levels For Teens And Children

Certain risk factors can put a child at risk for having high cholesterol. This includes diabetes, obesity, or a family history of high cholesterol. In contrast, Healthline states that children who are physically active, eat a healthy diet, are not overweight, and dont have a family history are at a lower risk. Here are the normal cholesterol levels for teens and children :

  • Total cholesterol: less than 170 mg/dL
  • Non-HDL cholesterol: less than 120 mg/dL
  • LDL cholesterol: less than 110 mg/dL
  • HDL cholesterol: more than 45 mg/dL

Keep in mind, all children should have their cholesterol checked between the ages of 9 and 11 and then again at 17 and 21. That said, children who have risk factors for high cholesterol should have theirs checked at ages 2 and 8 and then again between ages 12 and 16.

How Is High Cholesterol Diagnosed

What should be your Ideal Cholesterol Level? Dr. Hemant Madan

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

This is one of the key checks that we do on the mobile Heart Health Check Tour, along with checking your blood pressure and sugar levels. This visual cholesterol guide is also available as a PDF to .

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What’s Considered As Normal Cholesterol Levels

Many factors influence what your personal cholesterol or lipid targets should be, and so cholesterol tests should be interpreted in the context of your personal risk.

Your doctor can help you understand your results and guide you on strategies to not only lower your cholesterol but lower your risk of heart disease.

What Complications Are Possible If You Dont Treat High Cholesterol Levels In Your Blood

The main reason to treat high cholesterol is to prevent or treat coronary heart disease , also called coronary artery disease or CAD. CHD happens when heart is not able to get enough oxygen-rich blood to function well and kills more people in the U.S. than any other cause of death. CHD usually refers to the large arteries, but there is also a condition called coronary microvascular disease that affects the small vessels and causes damage.

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How To Lower Cholesterol: Know Your Fats

The American Heart Association recommends that just 25% to 35% of your daily calories come from fats such as those found in fish, nuts, and vegetable oils. For healthy people, saturated fat should comprise no more than 7% of your total calories. On a 2,000 calorie-a-day diet, that’s about 140 calories worth of saturated fat. If you need to lower your LDL cholesterol, limit saturated fat to 5% to 6% of calories, or about 11 to 13 grams of saturated fat on a 2,000-calorie diet. Reduce trans fats to less than 1% of your total daily calories. This means avoiding fried foods and many junk foods.

When Should You Contact Your Healthcare Provider About Your Cholesterol Levels

#cholesterollevelschart how to calculate your cholesterol ratio?

In truth, your healthcare provider will probably talk to you about your numbers first. As always, contact your provider if you have any new or worsening pain or other uncomfortable feelings. Make sure you know what medications you take and what they are expected to do. Call the provider if you have a reaction to the medicine.

Before you go to the office, and after you have had a cholesterol test, it helps to have a list of questions prepared about your test results and any proposed treatment.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

When considering cholesterol numbers, its important to remember that you really have the ability to make those numbers go in your favor. What you choose to eat, how much you are able to move and how you deal with lifes ups and downs are things that you can influence.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 07/31/2020.

References

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What Should Your Cholesterol Levels Be At Every Age

You have likely heard about cholesterol but do you know exactly what it is and what it does? Healthline describes cholesterol as a waxy fat-like substance that moves through the body in your blood. Cholesterol is essential for the formation of hormones, cells, and vitamin D.

Your body naturally produces cholesterol but you can also get it from eating certain foods. While cholesterol is essential for everyone, having too much can cause serious health problems such as heart disease. This is why monitoring your cholesterol levels is important. In this article, we take a look at the different types of cholesterol, the normal cholesterol levels by age, and how to test your cholesterol.

Cholesterol Levels For Men And Women

HDL levels differ for men and women

Women naturally have higher HDL cholesterol levels than men due to differences in the genes. Women should aim for an HDL cholesterol level above 1.2mmol/L while men should aim for above 1mmol/L.

Cholesterol levels can rise during pregnancy

During pregnancy, both cholesterol and triglyceride levels can significantly rise. We don’t recommend getting a cholesterol test during pregnancy because your results won’t be accurate. Our advice is to wait until at least 6-8 weeks after your baby is born or after you stop breastfeeding to get a cholesterol test. This means you don’t need to worry unnecessarily. Find out more about pregnancy and blood fats.

Cholesterol levels rise during the menopause

Women may also find their cholesterol levels rise during the menopause.

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How Is The Total Cholesterol Or Blood Cholesterol Test Done

A blood test is a routine test. A phlebotomist is a person whose job 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.

What Are The Normal Cholesterol Levels For Men And Women

How often should cholesterol be checked?

A cholesterol test generally determines 4 distinct numbers: Total cholesterol, LDL, HDL, and triglycerides. Cholesterol being fat, it is not soluble in water. So it cannot circulate freely in the blood. But, the fact is that nature has devised a way to make water-soluble cholesterol, and transport it through the blood. This is by lipoproteins. The LDL or Low-density lipoprotein and the HDL or high-density lipoprotein are the 2 fundamental cholesterol carriers but to make things simpler, they are considered as cholesterol types. In addition, the lipid panel appraises the triglycerides . They have an impact on health in the same manners as cholesterol. At last, the total cholesterol is integrated as well in the results. Apart from these 4 general lipid levels, your doctor may want to access your very low-density lipoprotein or VLDL that is considered bad when high.

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What Are Normal Cholesterol Levels For Women

Women typically have lower cholesterol levels than men, until they reach menopause. After menopause, womens LDL levels often rise and HDL levels drop. Here are the normal cholesterol levels for women :

  • Total cholesterol: 125 mg/dL to 200 mg/dL
  • Non-HDL cholesterol: less than 130 mg/dL
  • LDL cholesterol: less than 100 mg/dL
  • HDL cholesterol: 50 mg/dL or higher

What To Look For On Nutrition Labels

Nutrition labels on foods tell you how much of each nutrient or fat is in the item, based on the recommended serving size. The numbers and percentages are written for a 2,000 calorie/day diet. Youll find a label on the back of packaged, canned, or bottled items that says Nutrition Facts.

Heres how to read the label properly:

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What Are Risk Factors For High Blood Cholesterol

Lifestyle, some health conditions, and family history can raise your risk for high cholesterol. Your doctor may suggest you have your cholesterol checked more often if you have risk factors, such as the following:

  • A family history of heart disease or high blood cholesterol. You are more at risk of having high cholesterol if other people in your family have it. This may be due to genetics, but it may also be that families share the same unhealthy lifestyle habits. Some people also have a genetic condition called familial hypercholesterolemia, which can cause high levels of low-density lipoprotein , or bad, cholesterol from a young age.
  • Diabetes. Type 2 diabetes raises bad cholesterol and lowers high-density lipoprotein , or good, cholesterol, raising the risk for heart disease and stroke.
  • Older age. As you age, your body cant clear cholesterol as well as it used to.
  • Being male. Men tend to have higher LDL and lower HDL cholesterol levels than women do. But after menopause , LDL cholesterol levels in women increase.4,5
  • Having overweight or obesity. Excess weight, unhealthy eating habits, and lack of physical activity can lead to high cholesterol.
  • Previously having had high cholesterol. If you have a history of high cholesterol, your doctor may want you to keep a closer watch on your cholesterol.

Your doctor may tell you not to eat or drink anything except water for 9 to 12 hours before the test.

Goals For Your Cholesterol Levels

Pin on Bad Cholesterol

It’s best to keep your total cholesterol level below 200. Women of any age should have an HDL level of 40 or higher.

If you already have heart disease or diabetes, or your doctor estimates that your 10-year risk of heart disease is 20 percent or higher, try to keep your LDL level below 100.

If you do not have heart disease or diabetes, but you have two major risk factors, try to keep your LDL cholesterol level below 130. Major risk factors are age over 55 cigarette smoking high blood pressure low HDL a father or brother with heart disease before age 55, or a mother or sister with heart disease before age 65.

If you have fewer than two major risk factors, try to keep your LDL level below 160.

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What Should My Cholesterol Level Be At My Age

Cholesterol levels differ depending on age, weight, and gender. Because a personâs body produces more cholesterol with time, all adults should have their cholesterol levels checked on a regular basis, preferably every 4 to 6 years.

Cholesterol is classified into three types:

Cholesterol total

LDL, or âbad cholesterol,â

HDL, or âgood cholesterol,â

Most people struggle with balancing these levels. While total and LDL cholesterol levels should be kept low, having higher HDL cholesterol can give some protection against developing heart-related illnesses such as heart attacks and strokes.

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