Cholesterol and Your Heart
Lots of numbers may signal luck to you—your birthday, the number of kids you have, the address of your first house. But do you know the key cholesterol numbers that can bring your heart luck?
Know the Numbers
The higher your low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad,” cholesterol, the greater your risk for heart disease. LDL can build up on the inner walls of arteries, narrowing and clogging the blood vessels. Eventually, a blockage may occur. If an artery in or near the heart is blocked, the result is a heart attack. If an artery supplying blood to the brain gets blocked, the result is a stroke.
High-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good,” cholesterol has the opposite effect. HDL helps prevent cholesterol buildup in arteries by carrying bad cholesterol to the liver for removal.
Have your cholesterol checked at least every four to six years starting at age 20. The ideal ranges are:
- Total cholesterol: less than 200 mg/dl
- LDL: less than 100 mg/dl
- HDL: at least 60 mg/dl
5 Changes to Lower Cholesterol
Lifestyle changes can help improve your numbers:
- Exercise regularly
- Limit saturated and trans fats
- Lose weight (if you’re overweight)
- Manage stress
- Quit smoking
Your health care provider might also recommend medications, such as statins, to get your levels under control.
Help for the Heart
For expert multidisciplinary cardiovascular care, look no further than our WCHN heart and vascular disease team. From screening services to advances procedures, we support our patients every step of the way.