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What Should Your Good Cholesterol Number Be

Does Age Make A Difference To Recommended Cholesterol Levels

Cholesterol levels. What should your numbers be? Dr. Merle Myerson at St. Luke’s Hospital in NYC

No, recommended cholesterol levels do not change based on age. It was once thought that high cholesterol becomes less of a problem as one ages. However, there is now good evidence that lowering high cholesterol is of benefit even in the elderly.

Previously, there was also concern that some cholesterol-lowering drugs like statins may interfere with ones cognitive function and that this might be more of an issue in the elderly. This has now been debunked. Nevertheless, it is worth starting with a low dose and gradually increasing to avoid any potential side effects.

How To Get Tested

There are several different ways that HDL cholesterol levels can be tested.

Your doctor may prescribe a laboratory test, which requires taking a blood sample from a vein in your arm in a medical office or hospital.

Some clinics, doctors offices, pharmacies, and events like health fairs also offer on-site cholesterol testing. Known as point-of-care testing, this test analyzes a drop of blood that comes from pricking your fingertip with a very small needle.

Normal Cholesterol Levels By Age

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that plays many roles in the body, including synthesizing hormones and vitamin D. It also assists in the transporting of lipids. Cholesterol is found in the foods you eat, but it is also made by the liver.

We need some cholesterol to build healthy cells, but an accumulation of the bad kind can be problematic, increasing the risk of atherosclerosis. The recommended ranges for your cholesterol will depend on your age. Find out what cholesterol levels are, why age is a factor, and how to keep your levels within a healthy range.

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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.

Whats A Healthy Cholesterol Level

8 Ways to Reduce Bad Cholesterol without Medication
  • LDL cholesterol for adults should be below 100 mg/dL.
  • HDL cholesterol for men should be over 40 mg/dL.
  • HDL cholesterol for women should be over 50 mg/dL.
  • Total cholesterol should be between 125 and 200 mg/dL.

Cholesterol levels typically increase with age, which means that it becomes increasingly important to monitor cholesterol levels and take steps to manage your cholesterol as you get older.

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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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What Is The Difference Between Mmol/l And Mg/dl

In the United States your blood cholesterol level is measured in mg/dl or milligrams per decilitre but in the United Kingdom and Europe blood cholesterol level is measured in mmol/I or mill moles per litreHow do you convert your blood cholesterol levels mmol/l to mg/dl?Use this formula, mg/dl Cholesterol=38.6xmmol/lmmol Cholesterol ÷ 38.6 mg/dl

Key Lifestyle Actions To Raise Hdl :

Cholesterol Numbers – Mayo Clinic
  • Exercise regularly: 1) Aerobic exercise daily, a minimum of 30 minutes and optimally 60 to 90 minutes, alternating moderate-intensity days with vigorous-intensity days 2) Full-body resistance routine two to three times weekly and 3) Stretching exercises daily to greatly enhance your overall flexibility and ability to exercise more freely.
  • Lose excess weight.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Eat fewer trans fats .
  • Drink alcohol in moderation. For women, no more than 4 drinks weekly . For men, no more than 7 drinks weekly .

Unfortunately, no medication has been shown to significantly and safely raise HDL. Lifestyle improvements appear more effective.

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Are Cholesterol Test Kits Reliable

The FDA does regulate some cholesterol tests, but not all. Reliability of kits can vary, and your results may not always be accurate. However, if you feel at-home cholesterol testing is preferable, ask your doctor to recommend a reliable kit. FDA approved home tests kits meet standards for accuracy.

Many test kits only provide total cholesterol levels, or information about HDL or triglycerides. Your LDL is not directly measured but can be calculated. You cant use cholesterol home tests to evaluate your overall heart risk yourself, as many risk factors â such as age, weight, gender, family history, and lifestyle â are used in this determination and should be performed by a doctor.

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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 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.

Good Bad And Total Cholesterol: What Does It All Mean

Cholesterol Levels Explained: HDL, LDL, Total ...

If youve discussed cholesterol with your primary care physician, you know there are different types of cholesterol that affect your body in different ways. However, many people havent been educated about cholesterol. Is there really good cholesterol and bad cholesterol? What is a healthy cholesterol level, and how do you manage cholesterol? Heres some information to help you understand what cholesterol is all about.

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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.

High Total Cholesterol Normal Ldl High Hdl Normal Triglycerides

In this case, the high total cholesterol is less troublesome since it’s largely due to elevated HDL . The fact that HDL is high and LDL is normal also makes for a favorable HDL:LDL ratio. Although, extremely high levels of HDL cholesterol can be due to genetics. Generally, HDL levels shouldn’t exceed 116 mg/dL for men and 135 mg/dL for women.2

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Your Total Cholesterol Figure Divided By The Hdl

Whats healthy? The lower this figure, the better. Ideally 4.5, while above 6 is considered high risk.

What should I do? This reading will help your GP work out whether your overall cholesterol levels are healthy, which in turn helps them calculate your risk of CVD – another reason why its important to have full cholesterol results, not just TC. It could be high if your TC, LDL-C and non-HDL cholesterol levels are too high, or if your HDL-C is too low, or a combination of both. Maintaining a healthy TC:HDL ratio long-term can help reduce your risk of CVD in future. You can do this by following the advice above.

Are Test Results Accurate

Cholesterol: Know Your Numbers

HDL cholesterol testing is extremely common and frequently used to evaluate cardiovascular risk. Like any test, though, HDL cholesterol tests are not perfectly accurate. Certain factors that can influence accuracy of any single test include:

  • Individual variability: There can be some differences in HDL cholesterol levels based on individual factors like stress or posture during the test. Minor variation can also occur between laboratories.
  • Acute illness: Levels of cholesterol in the blood are affected by inflammation, so infections or other illnesses that produce inflammation may interfere with the accuracy of HDL cholesterol tests.
  • Certain blood disorders: Some conditions that affect blood cells cause an increase in a type of protein, known as an M protein, in the blood. In people with these conditions, HDL cholesterol tests may show a lower level of HDL cholesterol than is actually present in their blood.

Point-of-care and at-home tests that use a fingerstick blood sample are nearly as accurate as laboratory testing, but there may be more variability in accuracy based on the brand and the quality of its test.

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Further Information And Support

For assessment and treatment of high cholesterol levels see a doctor. For ideas about how to lower high cholesterol levels a doctor or dietitian can assist.

Our Heart disease diet and Heart disease exercise pages provide practical ideas and ways to get started with healthier lifestyles in general, including cholesterol reduction.

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

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How To Compute Non

Most standard lipid panels nowadays include your non-HDL number, but if your panel does not, its easy to figure out.

Heres the formula:

Non-HDL cholesterol is: Total cholesterol minus HDL cholesterol. So if your total cholesterol is 190 and your HDL cholesterol is 40, your non-HDL cholesterol is 150.

What Happens Now

How High Should Your Good Cholesterol Be ...

Theres no specific cholesterol level at which you will or wont have a heart attack, but they do help form part of a bigger picture. Your GP uses these numbers alongside other risk factors, such as your family history, weight, age, sex and ethnicity, plus whether you smoke or have high blood pressure, to calculate your risk of CVD.

Once your risk has been worked out, your doctor will suggest a number of options to help you maintain healthy cholesterol levels and reduce your risk of developing CVD. But whatever your cholesterol reading, its always worth following a healthy lifestyle to help keep your cholesterol in check.

Still have some questions? Speak to your doctor, or visit the British Heart Foundation and Heart UK, the cholesterol charity.

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Why Is Ldl Bad

LDL is known as the bad cholesterol because too much of it can lead to hardening of the arteries.

According to the American Heart Association, LDL leads to plaque accumulation on the walls of your arteries. When this plaque builds up, it can cause two separate, and equally bad, issues.

First, it can narrow the blood vessels, straining the flow of oxygen-rich blood throughout the body. Second, it can lead to blood clots, which can break loose and block the flow of blood, causing a heart attack or stroke.

When it comes to your cholesterol numbers, your LDL is the one you want to keep low ideally less than 100 milligrams per deciliter .

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.

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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

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 .

Whats The Relationship Between Gender And Sex

How often should cholesterol be checked?

Gender and sex can be related for some.

The expectation that if youre assigned male at birth, youre a man, and that if youre assigned female at birth, youre a woman, lines up for people who are cisgender.

But for people who are trans and gender non-conforming, the sex theyre assigned at birth may not align with the gender they know themselves to be. They may identify with a different sex than what they were assigned at birth.

Ultimately, the concepts of gender and sex are socially constructed. This means that we as a society assign sex and gender to people based on socially agreed-upon characteristics. This doesnt mean that body parts and functions are made up it just means that the way we categorize and define each of these things could actually be different.

People often like to separate gender and sex by saying things like gender is in the brain and sex is in the pants. Although accepting someone as their correct gender is a good first step, beliefs like these can actually be harmful to trans people.

When trans people are understood to be the sex they were assigned at birth and not the sex they truly are it can have a significant impact on their physical, mental, and emotional health.

For example, this can make it difficult to obtain fundamental rights, such as healthcare, and even access to basic necessities, such as public bathrooms.

Gender identity is your own personal understanding of your gender and how you want the world to see you.

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