Understanding Cholesterol Levels: The Key To Good Health

understanding cholesterol levels

We know that rise in cholesterol levels contribute to many diseases. It is important to know its role in our body as it might help us keep it in check. Most people are ignorant of it and its impact on health. Here we have shared all facts that you need to know.

Measuring Cholesterol Levels

Cholesterol measurements are classified into the following three categories:

  • Total Cholesterol
  • Good Cholesterol (HDL)
  • Bad Cholesterol (LDL)

HDL stands for high density lipoprotein cholesterol. LDL stands for low density lipoprotein cholesterol. Total cholesterol count is the sum of LDL and HDL in the body. The challenge is to maintain a balance between these two types of cholesterol. Most fats exist in the human body in the form of triglycerides. It has been observed that people with more triglycerides in their body also have more bad cholesterol in their body.

Good Cholesterol And Bad Cholesterol: The Difference

Few know the difference between good cholesterol and bad cholesterol. Here we hope to describe the same:

  • HDL (High Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol) is referred to as good cholesterol. Studies show that the greater presence of this cholesterol lowers the chances of stroke and diabetes. This is because HDL enables LDL to be carried away to the liver where they are broken down and flushed out.
  • LDL (Low Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol) is referred to as bad cholesterol. These are the cholesterol responsible for the fatty build-ups in the body. The fatty build-up may result in arteriosclerosis. This in turn could increase the chances of stroke, diabetes and heart disease.

Cholesterol Level By Age

The cholesterol levels acceptable to the body vary as per age. Based on the age and metabolism rates, the acceptable range of cholesterol in the body also varies. The cholesterol intake for adults and that for children are different.

1. In Adults

The total cholesterol level in an adult should be less than 200mg/dL. If the total level come in the range 200 to 239mg/dL, it is regarded as borderline high. A total cholesterol reading of 240mg/dL is regarded as high.

The acceptable level of LDL in adults is 100mg/dL. The LDL level in the range of 100mg/dL is acceptable for people with zero existing health issues. This level is not acceptable with people who have a heart health history in the family or greater risk factors associated with heart health.

The levels of HDL in the body should be higher. The acceptable levels of HDL in the body of adults is 60 mg/dL or higher. If the HDL level goes below 40 mg/dL, it is regarded a high-risk factor for heart disease. An HDL reading of 41 mg/dL to 59 mg/dL is regarded as borderline measurement.

2. In Children

The total cholesterol levels acceptable in children is 170 mg/dL. A cholesterol range of 170 mg/dL to 199 mg/dL is regarded as borderline in children. Any cholesterol level above 200 mg/dL is regarded as high for children.

Risk Factors

There are many factors that contribute to high cholesterol levels in individuals. Here we have listed these out for our readers:

  • Obesity and overweight lead to increase in triglycerides in the body. This in turn increases the cholesterol count.
  • Excessive smoking is also known as a risk factor.
  • Drinking alcohol beyond acceptable limits could be another contributing factor for cholesterol increase.
  • People who are physically inactive tend to have increased level of cholesterol in their body.
  • People who consume foods rich in carbohydrates are also more prone to cholesterol increase.

When To Consult A Doctor?

Children should get it checked once or twice before reaching the age of 18 years. For adult, it’s once in 5-6 years. You need to seek the doctor’s consultation when the test results reveal:

  • Cholesterol in the borderline range or high range.
  • If the person has a family history of cholesterol related health problems.
  • If the person is overweight.
  • If the person has a family history of heart health problems.

Diagnosis

There are several tests that doctors may conduct to evaluate your cholesterol; like a blood test. He may also conduct a full medical examination checking how your heart is performing. He may check your blood pressure. He may also evaluate your family health history.

These tests will help the doctor identify the causes of increase in levels. He may suggest some medicines if the levels are very high. Otherwise, he may simply suggest some diet and lifestyle changes.

Possible Health Problems

There are a number of health problems that may arise due to increase in cholesterol levels. Here we have listed a few of these:

  • It’s directly connected with heart health problems like stroke and heart attack.
  • It also alter the blood pressure levels in the body.
  • Diabetes is yet another condition that may arise due to increased cholesterol.

These diseases can be quite critical if timely action is not taken. That is why it is vital to keep the cholesterol levels in check.

How To Keep Cholesterol Levels In Check?

There are some measures you can take to keep the cholesterol levels in check. Here we have listed these out:

  • Avoid consumption of junk foods. Replace these with foods that provide ample nutrition.
  • Avoid smoking and drinking. These habits can affect your health adversely in the long run.
  • Exercise on a regular basis. Regular exercise helps to keep the body weight in check. It also ensures better blood circulation and metabolism.
  • Maintain your body weight. Overweight and obese people are more prone to diseases related to increased cholesterol levels.

Timely measures can help prevent spike in cholesterol levels.

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