Q: What do my cholesterol numbers really mean? – R.M.
A: This is a great question because you need to know your numbers!
LDL cholesterol builds up on the walls of your arteries and increases your chances of having heart disease. This is referred to as the “bad” cholesterol. The lower your LDL, the lower your risk of heart disease. You want your LDL number to be 190 or less. If it is higher than that you may be prescribed statin drugs to help lower your cholesterol levels.
HDL cholesterol protects against heart disease. This is referred to as the “good” cholesterol. HDL removes the LDL and prevents it from building up in your arteries. You want your HDL to be 60 or more. If it is low statins will help increase HDL.
Triglycerides (TG) are the form in which most fat exists in food and the body. A high TG level has been linked to higher risk of coronary heart disease. You want your TG level to be 150 or less.
Your total blood cholesterol is a measure of LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol and other lipid components. Your doctor will use your total cholesterol number when determining your risk of heart disease and how best to manage it.