What Your Cholesterol Numbers Mean
Maintaining healthy cholesterol is one step in the right direction towards having a healthy heart. If you’ve already been diagnosed with heart disease, keeping your cholesterol down is an important part of controlling your condition. When your cardiologist tells you about your cholesterol, he or she probably lists a few different figures.
Total Blood Cholesterol
Your total cholesterol is the sum of HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and 20 percent of your triglycerides. This overall number, which is reported in milligrams per deciliter of blood, gives you a general overview of your cholesterol, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. Although your cardiologist generally will suggest that you aim to have your total cholesterol at less than 180 mg/dL, the specific numbers that go into that total are very significant.
HDL and LDL Cholesterol
HDL cholesterol is often referred to as good cholesterol. High levels of HDL cholesterol are associated with better overall health, as this type of cholesterol helps to remove plaque from blood vessels. LDL cholesterol—or bad cholesterol—contributes to artery blockages and heart disease. Being overweight, smoking, and being inactive all lead to higher LDL cholesterol levels. In your total cholesterol, aim to have a high HDL number and a low LDL number.
Triglycerides are a type of fat. When triglyceride levels are high—especially alongside high LDL cholesterol and low HDL cholesterol—the risk of plaque artery build-up is increased. Your target rate for triglycerides will depend on your age and sex, so talk to your cardiologist about a healthy range for you.
Cholesterol is one that adds up to good heart health. Ask your cardiologist about your cholesterol, blood pressure, and more at your next appointment at Cardiac Solutions. We have heart clinics in Phoenix, Glendale, Peoria, Sun City West, and Avondale. Make your appointment today by calling (623) 208-5305.