Cholesterol numbers refer to the measurement of cholesterol (in milligrams) per decilitre of your blood. The metric system may vary to millimoles per litre in some European nations. Doctors recommend a full-fledged lipoprotein profile, more commonly known as cholesterol level test, to anyone who has crossed 20 followed by check up tests every 5 years. Men aged 35 and above and women 45+, ought to be regularly screened for lipid disorders. This profiling leads us to obtain your cholesterol numbers for each type of cholesterol. To crack your cholesterol numbers and unearth what they precisely indicate, the first step involves understanding the different form cholesterol itself can take (these are documented in the profile). Cholesterol is broadly classified as:
- LDL (Low Density Lipoprotein cholesterol, infamously called “bad” cholesterol)
- HDL (High Density Lipoprotein cholesterol, also hailed as “good” cholesterol)
- Triglycerides (fat carried in the blood derived from the food we consume)
A total cholesterol number is generated through a combined study of the abovementioned components.
LDL: This accumulates on the walls of the arteries and disrupts smooth blood flow. After the passage of time, this can culminate in heart disease. Low LDL cholesterol levels are considered to be positive sign especially for individuals who already have certain conditions (heart disease risk factors) like diabetes, previous heart attack or stroke, arterial blockage in the neck, which can snowball the already severe adverse effects of high LDL levels. The following chart depicts the general analysis for LDL cholesterol levels.
|Below 70 mg/dL||Below 1.8 mmol/L||Ideal for people at very high risk of heart disease|
|Below 100 mg/dL||Below 2.6 mmol/L||Ideal for people at risk of heart disease|
|100-129 mg/dL||2.6-3.3 mmol/L||Near ideal|
|130-159 mg/dL||130-159 mg/dL||Borderline high|
|160-189 mg/dL||4.1-4.9 mmol/L||High|
|190 mg/dL and above||Above 4.9 mmol/L||Very high|
A high LDL level can be controlled largely by making lifestyle changes like quitting smoking, exercising, shedding weight, eating healthy etc. However, the event of an inability to control the level despite this, medication like statins maybe prescribed to help the process along.
HDL: This cholesterol obstructs LDL and prevents it from clogging the arteries. For this reason, higher levels of this cholesterol are considered to be desirable.
| Below 40 mg/dL (men)
Below 50 mg/dL (women)
|Below 1 mmol/L (men)
Below 1.3 mmol/L (women)
|50-59 mg/dL||1.3-1.5 mmol/L||Better|
|60 mg/dL and above||Above 1.5 mmol/L||Best|
Triglycerides: These features in the list of factors that increase risk of heart disease. Hence it is essential to keep their levels in check.
|Below 150 mg/dL||Below 1.7 mmol/L||Desirable|
|150-199 mg/dL||1.7-2.2 mmol/L||Borderline high|
|200-499 mg/dL||2.3-5.6 mmol/L||High|
|500 mg/dL and above||Above 5.6 mmol/L||Very High|
Total Cholesterol: Total cholesterol numbers are composed of the levels of LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and other lipid components. The following are the recommendations:
|Below 200 mg/dL||Below 5.2 mmol/L||Desirable|
|200-239 mg/dL||5.2-6.2 mmol/L||Borderline High|
|240 mg/dL and above||Above 6.2 mmol/L||High|
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