What is cholesterol? Cholesterol is a waxy substance that your body uses to build cells.
Where does cholesterol come from? Cholesterol comes from two sources. Your liver creates some of the cholesterol your body needs to build new cells. Other cholesterol, known as dietary cholesterol, comes from foods we eat that come from animals - meat, poultry, dairy products etc. Eating a lot of these foods triggers your liver to produce more cholesterol.
When is cholesterol considered good or bad? Cholesterol is found in our blood, circulating with it. The higher the amount of cholesterol in the blood, the greater the health risk. LDL cholesterol is considered bad, HDL cholesterol is considered good. LDL stands for low-density lipoprotein, HDL stands for high-density lipoprotein. The lipoproteins carry cholesterol back and forth to the cells. Too much LDL cholesterol causes fat-build up in arteries, which can lead to increased risk of stroke and heart disease. LDLs and HDLs combine with triglycerides, the most common type of fat in the body.
What are good cholesterol levels?
- Total Cholesterol = less than 170 mg/dL
- Low LDL (bad cholesterol) = Less than 110 mg/dL
- High HDL (good cholesterol) = 35 mg/dL or higher
- Triglycerides = Less than 150 mg/dL
How can you lower or prevent high cholesterol? High cholesterol can be prevented through several steps without medication.
- Eat a clean, healthy diet, with foods low in cholesterol.
- Start a regular exercise regimen.
- Don't smoke.
- Get to and keep a healthy weight.
Beyond these steps, consult with your doctor to see if there is anything additional you need to do.
Your good health is key to your quality of life. Make good decisions.
- "September is National Cholesterol Education Month" - CDC
- "What Causes High Cholesterol", Markus MacGill, Daniel Murrell, MD reviewed, November 27, 2017; Medical News Today
- "About Cholesterol", American Heart Association
- "HDL (Good), LDL (Bad) Cholesterol and Triglycerides", American Heart Association