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Understanding Your Cholesterol Numbers

Oct 9, 2007
One of the most useful tests an adult can take is the cholesterol test. The results of this test can indicate a potential problem when taken in combination with other risk factors. The usual cholesterol test is the lipoprotein profile. Cholesterol is made in your body by your liver.

Cholesterol is a fatty substance that combines with protein and travels in bile into the intestine where it is absorbed and enters the bloodstream to help make and maintain cells, make hormones and strengthens nerves. However, bad cholesterol builds plaque in the arteries blocking blood flow and causes heart disease and heart attacks.

The Importance of Your Cholesterol Reading

If you are older than 20 of age, your doctor has probably already taken a cholesterol test as part of a physical exam. You should have probably already had your cholesterol reading explained to you and, if necessary; have discussed any necessary actions you need to take to change your lifestyle. You should understand how your cholesterol reading impacts your life by now.

The Numbers

The results of the test will show cholesterol numbers such as low density lipoprotein (LDL), high density protein (HDL) and triglycerides as well as the total of all cholesterol. LDL is bad cholesterol. The density is the ratio of fatty cholesterol to protein.

Low density means that the ratio of protein is low and the cholesterol is high in fat. HDL, of course is the good cholesterol with high protein ratios. Triglycerides are fats traveling in the blood. Extra calories, alcohol and sugar convert to triglycerides and are stored in fat cells. So far, only the HDL is good.

Your cholesterol reading should have LDL levels under 100 for the best results and below 130 is still acceptable. LDL is the bad cholesterol and you should keep that number low. If your cholesterol reading shows LDL of 130 or above, your doctor will suggest some action for you to improve the diet or exercise.

Your cholesterol reading should have HDL levels over 60. You have to keep HDL number high. If you are a man and your HDL is below 40 (50 for a woman); your doctor will provide you advices to improve it. Your cholesterol reading for triglycerides should be under 150. Lastly, your total cholesterol reading should be below 200.

Understanding the Cause of Your High Cholesterol

Your doctor will ask you about your important cholesterol information. Know your numbers: Get a cholesterol test and find out how much HDL and LDL cholesterol you have. Like so many other medical problems, high cholesterol is made worse by smoking.

Your medical history also played an important part for the cholesterol information. If you found that your blood pressure is high, it may be due to high cholesterol. Some medical conditions, such as diabetes, can increase cholesterol as well. Your family medical history is just as important.

While you may not know the cholesterol numbers of your families, their medical conditions can give your doctor a good idea of possible problems and whether they can be avoided by change of lifestyle or will require medication.

Information about your lifestyle is also important: To play your part well, you should have a healthy diet, keep your weight under control and exercise regularly..

However, your body needs some cholesterol to function and your liver manufactures it. Good cholesterol information includes where to find cholesterol in your food. Since cholesterol comes from your liver, a good rule of thumb is if your food had a liver, it contains cholesterol.

As for dairy products, cholesterol is found in the fat part of the food. Whole milk contains more cholesterol than non-fat milk. Cholesterol also found in the egg yolks. If your food has a nutrition label, look at the listing for saturated fat. The best amount is zero grams. Besides meat and dairy products, palm and cocoanut oils contain saturated fats.

Here's some good cholesterol information: polyunsaturated fats are not bad for you unless they are hydrogenated. This is done to keep them stable in manufactured foods.

Get the cholesterol information you need now to stay healthy.
About the Author
Cindy Heller is a professional writer. Visit high cholesterol cure to learn more about cause of high cholesterol and how to maintain healthy cholesterol level.
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