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Understanding Cholesterol Levels

Cholesterol is a big part of good health today, and to make it easier to assess risk factors associated with cholesterol levels, doctors have developed a

Spacefill model of the Cholesterol molecule

Model of the Cholesterol molecule (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

cholesterol level scale. This tool helps doctors to accurately measure and compare cholesterol levels in your blood to ensure your numbers are where they should be. Since cholesterol levels can help to predict your risk for a variety of diseases and other health problems, the cholesterol level scale can be very handy in an overall health assessment. However, it helps if the patient understands the basics of the cholesterol level scale so he can take a bigger role in maintaining his good health.

What is Included
In simplest terms, a cholesterol level scale comprises the various levels of cholesterol, including the total cholesterol, the LDL or the “bad” cholesterol, and the HDL cholesterol level, which is considered the “good” cholesterol. Also included in the cholesterol level scale are the triglycerides and the ratio of all of the above. This information can be looked at both individually and as they relate to one another for the most accurate assessment of cholesterol in the body at the time of the test.

Total Cholesterol
The total cholesterol on the cholesterol level scale refers to all of the cholesterol that is found in the body. While a total cholesterol level of less that 200 is good, it is desirable to get that number under 180 when possible. Keep in mind that the lower the total number on the cholesterol level scale, the better shape that you are in. while a number of 200 or lower isn’t bad for an American diet, keep in mind that an American diet that is rich in fat, sugar and processed carbohydrate is never the healthiest choice for your cardiovascular system.

Total Cholesterol Table

Level Rating
Below 200mg Desirable
200-239 mg Borderline High
240 and above High
Below 200mg Desirable

The Good, The Bad and The Triglycerides
The “good” cholesterol is known as the HDL cholesterol, and it is responsible for carrying cholesterol out of the arteries and back to the liver, where it can be eliminated from the body. Good HDL numbers on a cholesterol level scale will be 50 or above. The “bad”, or LDL, cholesterol is responsible for depositing cholesterol into the arteries. The LDL numbers should be 150 or less. Triglycerides are fat plain and simple, like those love handles around your middle that you love to hate.  When you factor all of these numbers together on the cholesterol level scale, you will get a fairly accurate idea of the condition of your cardiovascular system. Using these numbers, your doctor can determine if you are at higher risk for some diseases and take proper precautions to lower those risks. A cholesterol scale is an important tool in keeping you as healthy as possible.

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