Managing your cholesterol levels can help to keep you healthy as you age, here are some factors to take into account:
- For individuals younger than 19 years, the first test must be done between 9 and 11 years of age. The cholesterol test must be repeated hereafter every five years. Some children may have this test starting at age two if there is a family history of high blood cholesterol, heart attack, or stroke.
- Younger adults (20-45 years) may have the test every five years.
- Men aged 45-65 years and women aged 55-65 years may undergo tests every one to two years.
- Young adults may need to have total cholesterol less than 170 mg/dL.
- Adults who have total cholesterol levels less than 200 mg/dL are considered healthy.
- If total cholesterol is between 200 and 239 mg/dL, it is borderline high.
- If total cholesterol is 240 mg/dL and above, it is considered high and harmful.
Bad cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein [LDL]):
- LDL cholesterol levels should be less than 100 mg/dL.
- 100-129 mg/dL is acceptable for people with no health problems but maybe a concern for anyone with heart diseases or heart disease risk factors.
- 130-159 mg/dL is borderline high.
- 160 mg/dL and above is considered high and harmful.
Good cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein [HDL]):
- Young adults may need to have HDL more than 45 mg/dL.
- The optimal reading for HDL levels is of 60 mg/dL or higher.
- If HDL is less than 40 mg/dL, it can be a major risk factor for heart disease.
- Young adults may need to have non-HDL cholesterol levels less than 120 mg/dL. Adults may need to maintain less than 130 mg/dL.
- A normal triglyceride level is below 150 mg/dL. A person may need treatment if they have triglyceride levels that are borderline high (150-199 mg/dL) or high (200 mg/dL or more).
What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is an important substance found in all cells of the body. It is a waxy, fat-like substance required by the body to build healthy cells, hormones, vitamin D, and substances that help in digestion of food. Excess cholesterol is harmful to the body. Cholesterol usually comes from the following sources:
- Liver: It makes the cholesterol that is required for the body.
- Food: The remainder of the cholesterol in the body comes from foods derived from animals (meat, poultry, and full-fat dairy products). These foods are usually high in saturated and trans fats. These fats may cause the liver to produce more cholesterol; this added production means excess cholesterol, which is harmful for the body.
- Some tropical oils: Oils such as palm oil, palm kernel oil, and coconut oil if consumed may trigger the liver to produce more cholesterol. These oils are often found in baked goods.
How do we diagnose high cholesterol?
Lipoprotein panel is a type of blood test that can measure cholesterol levels. Before the test, the patient may need to fast (not eat or drink anything but water) for 9-12 hours. The test gives information about different types of cholesterol:
- Total cholesterol: It shows the total amount of cholesterol in the blood. It includes both low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.
- LDL (bad) cholesterol: It transports cholesterol particles throughout the body. LDL cholesterol is often called “the bad cholesterol” because it builds up in the walls of the arteries, making them hard and narrow.
- HDL (good) cholesterol: It picks up excess cholesterol and takes it back to your liver.
- Non-HDL: This number is total cholesterol minus HDL. Non-HDL includes LDL and other types of cholesterol such as very low–density lipoprotein (VLDL).
- Triglycerides: Another form of fat in the blood that can increase your risk for heart diseases, especially in women, is triglycerides.
Too much of the bad kind, or not enough of the good kind, increases the risk that cholesterol will slowly build up in the inner walls of the arteries that feed the heart and brain.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Top Cholesterol Levels: What You Need to Know? Related Articles
Cholesterol Drugs SlidesWhen diet and exercise aren't enough, should you turn to drugs? Learn cholesterol basics, drug classes, and available drugs along with their benefits and side effects.
Cholesterol SlideshowDo you know the different cholesterol levels and what they mean? Learn the alphabet soup of cholesterol testing: LDL, HDL, good, bad, and triglycerides. Pictures show tests, treatments, and critical foods from eggs to avocados.
Cholesterol (Lowering Your Cholesterol)High cholesterol and triglyceride levels increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Getting your cholesterol and triglyceride levels in an optimal range will help protect your heart and blood vessels. Cholesterol management may include lifestyle interventions (diet and exercise) as well as medications to get your total cholesterol, LDL, HDL, and triglycerides in an optimal range.
Cholesterol PictureCholesterol carried in particles of low density (LDL cholesterol) is referred to as the "bad" cholesterol because elevated levels of LDL cholesterol are associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease. See a picture of Cholesterol and learn more about the health topic.
Ezallor (rosuvastatin)Ezallor Sprinkle (rosuvastatin) is a prescription medicine used in adults along with diet to lower the level of your “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and lower the level of fat in your blood (triglycerides). This treats a variety of cardiovascular problems and reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke.
FloLipid (simvastatin)FloLipid Oral Suspension is a lipid-lowering agent that is derived synthetically from a fermentation product of Aspergillus terreus. FloLipid is used to reduce elevated total cholesterol (total-C), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), apolipoprotein B (Apo B), and triglycerides (TG), and to increase high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C).
Cholesterol QuizHigh cholesterol can be a dangerous condition. Take the Cholesterol Quiz to understand what high cholesterol means in terms of your health risks.
High Cholesterol: Frequently Asked QuestionsCholesterol occurs naturally in the body. High blood cholesterol levels increase a person's risk of developing heart disease, heart attacks, strokes, TIAs, and more. In addition to medication (fibrates, statins, bile acid sequestrants, and niacin), lifestyle changes can be made to lower blood cholesterol levels
High Triglycerides FoodsHigh triglycerides increase the risk of heart disease. Lower triglyceride levels and reduce cholesterol by eating foods that promote heart health. Reduce your intake of fat and sugar and do not eat excess calories. Get adequate nutrition by eating fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats.
Liptruzet (ezetimibe and atorvastatin)Liptruzet is indicated for the reduction of elevated total cholesterol (total-C), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), apolipoprotein B (Apo B), triglycerides (TG), and non-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (non-HDL-C), and to increase high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C).
Livalo (pitavastatin)Livalo (pitavastatin) is a statin drug used to improve blood cholesterol levels in persons with elevated or abnormal blood cholesterol levels. Livalo is indicated as an adjunctive therapy to diet in adult patients with primary hyperlipidemia or mixed dyslipidemia to reduce elevated total cholesterol (TC), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), apolipoprotein B (Apo B), triglycerides (TG), and to increase high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C).
Lower Cholesterol Levels with Diet and Medications
Cholesterol is naturally produced by the body, and is a building block for cell membranes and hormones. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol is the "bad" cholesterol, and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol is the "good" cholesterol. High levels of LDL and low levels of HDL cholesterol put a person at risk for heart attack, stroke, transient ischemic attack (TIA or mini stroke), and peripheral artery disease.
High cholesterol can be lowered by eating foods that lower cholesterol, for example, eat more high soluble fiber foods (oatmeal, oat bran, vegetables, and certain fruits), use olive oil, eat foods fortified with plant sterols and stanols, soy, nuts, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Foods that raise LDL or bad cholesterol include foods high in saturated and trans fats, fatty meats, limit egg yolks, limit milk products, limit crackers, muffins, and snacks, and avoid unhealthy fast foods that are high in fat and sugar
High cholesterol treatment includes lifestyle changes (diet and exercise), and medications such as statins, bile acid resins, and fibric acid derivatives.
Lower Cholesterol TipsNeed to lower your cholesterol levels? Use these smart diet tips to quickly and easily lower your blood cholesterol levels. Choose heart-healthy foods to lower cholesterol and improve your heart health.
Nikita (pitavastatin)Nikita (pitavastatin) is indicated as an adjunctive therapy to diet in adult patients with primary hyperlipidemia or mixed dyslipidemia (high cholesterol) to reduce elevated total cholesterol (TC), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), apolipoprotein B (Apo B), triglycerides (TG), and to increase high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C). This lowers cardiovascular risk.
Pravachol (pravastatin)Pravachol is a prescription medicine used to treat the symptoms of high cholesterol, to lower blood levels of “bad” cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein or LDL), to increase levels of "good" cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein, or HDL) and to lower triglycerides. Pravachol may be used alone or with other medications. Pravachol belongs to a class of drugs called Lipid-Lowering Agents, Statins, HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors.
What Does Bergamot Taste Like?Bergamot is a fruit native to Southern Italy that is about the size of an orange. It has a citrusy taste and smell. It has been used by people (most commonly in Italy) as a folklore remedy to relieve anxiety, improve heart health and boost immunity.
What Does It Mean to Have Hyperlipidemia?Hyperlipidemia is a common issue that affects many people and has serious complications if left untreated. Learn the signs of hyperlipidemia, what causes it, how doctors diagnose it, and what you can do to treat it.
What Is the Normal Range for Cholesterol Levels?What is the normal range for cholesterol levels? Learn what cholesterol levels are, why cholesterol levels change, how doctors diagnose cholesterol levels, and what you can do to treat high cholesterol levels.
Zypitamag (pitavastatin)Zypitamag (pitavastatin) tablets are an HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor indicated for patients with primary hyperlipidemia or mixed dyslipidemia as an adjunctive therapy to diet to reduce elevated total cholesterol (TC), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), apolipoprotein B (Apo B), triglycerides (TG), and to increase high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C). It is a synthetic lipid-lowering agent for oral administration.