High Cholesterol: Frequently Asked Questions (cont.)

4) How Much Cholesterol Is Too Much?

Doctors recommend your cholesterol stay below 200. Here is the breakdown:

Total CholesterolCategory
Less than 200Desirable
200-239Borderline High
240 and aboveHigh

LDL CholesterolLDL - Cholesterol Category
Less than 100Optimal
100-129Near optimal/above optimal
130-159Borderline high
190 and aboveVery high

HDL (good) cholesterol protects against heart disease, so for HDL, higher numbers are better. A level less than 40 is low and is considered a major risk factor because it increases your risk for developing heart disease. HDL levels of 60 or more help to lower your risk for heart disease.

Triglyceride levels that are borderline high (150-199) or high (200 or more) may require treatment in some people.

5) Can I Lower My Risk for Heart Disease If I Lower My Cholesterol?

Your risk for heart disease is lower when you have low total cholesterol and low LDL.

6) What Makes My Cholesterol Levels Go Up?

Eating foods such as meats, whole milk dairy products, egg yolks, and some kinds of fish can make your cholesterol levels go up. Being overweight can make your bad cholesterol go up and your good cholesterol go down. Also, after women go through menopause, their bad cholesterol levels tend to go up.

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