Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a fatty, waxy substance, that is found in all cells in the body and travels through the bloodstream and can leave deposits on the walls of your arteries. Your body uses it to protect nerves, make cell tissues, and produce certain hormones. Your liver makes all the cholesterol your body needs, however you also get cholesterol directly from the food you eat (such as eggs, meats, and dairy products). Too much cholesterol can have negative impacts on your health.

It’s important to know your cholesterol numbers and everyone should check their levels regularly (at least every 4-6 years). A simple blood test can determine the levels of cholesterol and certain fats in your blood.

The test measures:

  • High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (“good” cholesterol that helps get rid of “bad” LDL cholesterol)
  • Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol and the main source of blockages in the arteries)
  • Total cholesterol is the combined amount of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol in your blood.
  • Triglycerides is a type of fat found in your blood
  • Very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) cholesterol (another “bad” cholesterol)

Healthy cholesterol numbers depend on a number of factors such as age, weight, and gender. Generally, levels should be in the following ranges:

LDL (bad) cholesterol < 100 mg/dL HDL (good) cholesterol > 40 mg/dL
Total Cholesterol < 200 mg/dL

Contact your physicians office to arrange for a simple cholesterol test and learn more about cholesterol at the following websites:

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
American Heart Association

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NOTE: The health information provided on this website is designed to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the guidance of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional before starting a new treatment or to answer questions about a medical condition.