Your doctor probably checks your cholesterol annually as part of your preventative care routine. Knowing these numbers can help you make choices that can lead to a longer, healthier life. Here’s what good and bad cholesterol numbers mean, and what you can do to improve them.
What Is Bad Cholesterol?
Low-density-lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol is also known as “bad” cholesterol. You want this number to be low. Less than 100 mg/dL is ideal, although below 129 mg/dL is acceptable if not accompanied by other heart health issues or a family history of heart disease. Anything between 130 and 159 mg/dL is cause for concern, and the doctor will recommend lifestyle changes to reduce it as part of your regular preventative care. An LDL reading above 160 mg/dL is high and may require a prescription to keep in check.
Reducing your intake of foods high in saturated fats such as red meat and full-fat dairy products can lower LDL levels. Adding whey protein, fiber, and good fats like omega-3 fatty acids will also create a balanced diet and reduce your body’s ability to absorb bad fats.
What Is Good Cholesterol?
High-density-lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol is known as “good” cholesterol because it can actually help to lower your risk of heart disease and heart-related conditions. Ideally, a doctor will want to see an HDL of 60 mg/dL or higher. Anything lower than 40 mg/DL is considered too low. A preventative care routine to raise these levels includes increasing your exercise to four or more times a week for a minimum of 30 minutes a day. If you smoke, quitting will not only reduce your cancer risk but will also raise your HDL and lower your chances of a heart attack. Talk with the doctor about getting to and maintaining a healthy weight. The benefits of this change will improve your cholesterol today, and help you have a longer, healthier life in the future.
Santiam Hospital in Oregon’s Mid-Willamette Valley area offers preventative care for the whole family. This hospital has served the community since 1953, helping patients adopt healthier lifestyles and providing personalized solutions to wellness concerns. With short emergency room wait times and warm, friendly patient service, you’ll see why people choose Santiam Hospital for their routine and specialized needs. Call (503) 749-4734 to schedule an appointment or find a provider online.