Making Sense of Cholesterol Numbers

One indication of your heart health, and in fact your overall health and well-being, is by determining how high or low your total cholesterol level is. If you think this only applies to the older generation then think again: worldwide standards have now indicated that people over the age of 20 should be tested for their cholesterol levels at least once every five years. A series of lipid profile tests are usually carried out in these types of circumstances, with some of the most common being the lipoprotein test. As men and women reach their 35th and 45th year, this is the time where a routine and yearly screening for lipid levels are recommended by doctors everywhere.

Many may not be familiar with the lipid profile test, but some of you may have heard of the terms “LDL” and “HDL” being bandied around. “LDL” basically means “low density lipoprotein” cholesterol, which is supposed to be the “bad” cholesterol, although it has numerous very important jobs in the body delivering cholesterol where it’s needed. “HDL”, on the other hand, means “high density lipoprotein” cholesterol, which is the “good” kind of cholesterol. It delivers cholesterol from the body’s tissues back to the liver when it’s no longer needed. There is also a very unfamiliar term that is also supposed to be a part of this test; the “VLDL” or the “very low-density lipoprotein” cholesterol, which is also commonly known as “triglycerides”.A Triglycerides are also the compounds that what we commonly think of when somebody mentions the word “fats” to us.

So, here now comes the hard part of this: how will we know exactly if the results that have been drawn off us are really “normal?” It is quite simple; as long as you understand the functions of what these seemingly random acronyms stand for–LDL, HDL, and VLDL–then you’re going to be fine.

Let’s focus first on the LDL cholesterol. When LDL accumulates inside the body, it can oxidize, cause inflammation and block off the walls of your arteries, which also means that normal circulation will be constricted inside the body. Coincidentally, this is also an indicator if you’re indeed at risk for heart disease. Now that you understand how grave it is to have high LDL levels, all you need to remember is that your LDL should be less than 100. If it’s below 70, then it’s so much the better.

For your HDL levels, it basically works in the inverse way to finding out your LDL level; the lower you HDL levels are, the worse it is supposed to be for you. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, the optimal number for HDL should be 60 and above. It’s because the HDL is what regulates the LDL levels inside your body. Hence, the higher your HDL is, the lower is your risk for heart disease.??

For the VLDL or your triglycerides, you should try to keep your numbers down for this one; if you have drawn a result of 150 or less, then you’re good. But even if you have a level of slightly above 150, it may mean that you’re already risking yourself for a coronary artery disease.

Finally, your total blood cholesterol is the measured average of all of your LDL, HDL, VLDL levels. If it’s less than 200, then it means that you have achieved the desirable number for the total cholesterol levels.

But just remember, even if you have managed to draw a “normal” result, you’re not free to celebrate with eating the wrong foods or rest on your laurels; it will not last long if you don’t try to maintain or live a healthy lifestyle.