Tuesday, January 22, 2013

What is cholesterol?

We hear a lot about cholesterol, but do you know what it is?  According to the Mayo Clinic cholesterol is a waxy substance that builds up in the blood stream and clogs the arteries and veins.  Having high cholesterol puts you at risk for health problems, such as heart disease. 

It is important to know what your cholesterol is and how to manage it. 
 Below are the numbers used to measure cholesterol:

 Healthy: Less than 200
Borderline: 200-239
High: More than 240
High, alert: More than 400

 There are two different types of cholesterol that is measured when you are tested.  HDLs (stands for high-density lipoprotein) are a type of fat that can actually be good for your heart.  How can fat be good for your heart?  HDLs are like the garbage man of the blood.  They go around and collect excess cholesterol and take it to the liver to be processed and broken down.  LDLs (stands for low-density lipoprotein) on the other hand are not good for your heart.  They are like the delivery man from of the body.  LDLs go around dropping off cholesterol to organs.  If there is excess LDL cholesterol, it floats around in the body.

A healthy HDL number is over 40. 
LDL numbers are as follows:

Best: Less than 200
Good: 100-129
Borderline: 130-159
High: 160-189
Very high: More than 190.
The lower the LDL number the better.  The higher the HDL number the better.

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