When it comes to cholesterol, there’s good and there’s bad. And research says, for a healthy heart, you need to manage both.
To fully understand cholesterol, it helps to have a deeper sense of what your individual levels mean—especially when it comes to the bad kind of cholesterol, LDL cholesterol (also known as LDL-C).
If you have other health conditions, such as high blood pressure or diabetes, you have an increased chance of developing cardiovascular disease, and even more of a reason to pay closer attention to your numbers.
It’s important to get your LDL-C measured to learn what’s ideal for you and when it’s time to make a change. Together, you and your healthcare provider may decide on a cholesterol goal. Here are a few suggestions from the National Lipid Association (NLA):
|NLA CLASSIFICATIONS FOR LDL-C LEVELS|
|100-129 mg/dL||ABOVE DESIRABLE|
|130-159 mg/dL||BORDERLINE HIGH|
|≥190 mg/dL||VERY HIGH|
For most adults, an LDL-C level below 100 mg/dL is considered optimal. But if you have other conditions, like hypertension or diabetes, or experienced a cardiovascular event that increases your risk, a 50% reduction or LDL-C goal of less than 70 mg/dL may be suggested.
|NLA CLASSIFICATIONS FOR HDL-C LEVELS|
|<40 mg/dL (MEN)||LOW|
|<50 mg/dL (WOMEN)||LOW|
|NLA CLASSIFICATIONS FOR TRIGLYCERIDE LEVELS|
|150-199 mg/dL||BORDERLINE HIGH|
|≥500 mg/dL||VERY HIGH|
|Standard total cholesterol goals for adults|
|200 - 239 mg/dL||BORDERLINE|
Triglycerides and HDL are part of your total cholesterol count, and healthy levels can often be reached through diet and exercise. LDL-C, on the other hand, is a bit more stubborn, and may require cholesterol-lowering medication to help reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.