The Highs and Lows of Healthy Cholesterol

by Millennium Physician Group

 

By Brian Zelis, M.D.

Family Medicine Physician

HDL… LDL… Triglycerides… so many letters and numbers! September is National Cholesterol Education Month and the CDC reports about 38 percent of American adults have high cholesterol. Having high cholesterol puts you at risk for heart disease and stroke, two leading causes of death in the United States.

 Most of the time, you won’t know if you have high cholesterol unless you do the screening. For people with no real family history or heart disease risk factors, cholesterol screenings should start around 35 years old. If you do have some risk factors like family history, smoking, or sugar trouble, you should start screening as early as 20.

A lipid profile or lipid panel is a simple blood test that will measure your HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides. To help you remember which is good and bad, HDL is H for happy and H for the higher the better. Then the LDL is L for lousy, and the lower the better.

Men Over 20 

Type of Cholesterol    Healthy Level (mg/dL)

Total Cholesterol        125 to 200

LDL                              Less than 100

HDL                             40 or higher

Women Over 20

Type of Cholesterol    Healthy Level (mg/dL)

Total Cholesterol        125 to 200

LDL                              Less than 100

HDL                             50 or higher

Triglycerides are not a type of cholesterol but are another form of fat in your blood that can raise your risk for heart disease, especially in women. They are part of a lipid panel, and you want your triglyceride level to be below 150.

Understanding the numbers and knowing your numbers are the first steps to taking control of your cholesterol. Everybody is different, and given the right information your doctor should be able to assess your 10-year risk percentage for having a cardiac event, and that can be life-saving information.

Millennium Physician Group

Brian D. Zelis, M.D.

10201 Arcos Ave, Ste 105

Estero, FL 33928

(239) 938-9298

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