Many people think of their cholesterol levels as being just one three-digit number. But in actual fact there are several types of cholesterol that get measured when your doctor does his tests. It is imperative that you understand what each type means and how it can affect your health.
The total cholesterol number is the main one that people normally use to describe their cholesterol level. It is generally recommended that this particular number is below 200. However this is only one piece of the total picture of how healthy your heart is. To be able to properly understand your cholesterol completely, you need to know more about each type .
LDL (low density lipoprotein) is what is often referred to as bad cholesterol. Mostly a high LDL level is caused by eating foods high in saturated fat (from animal products). This is the type of cholesterol that clogs the arteries and causes a dangerous build up of plaque.
You can be sure that your doctor would like to see your LDL level below 100 and anything above 130 is considered as being high. You can lower this number naturally by eating a more healthy diet and consuming more plant-based foods. You can also purchase supplements such as fish oil and co enzyme Q10 to help reduce it. Niacin is another supplement you can add to your diet to help raise HDL. However before starting on a course of supplements it is important to discuss it with your doctor as they can sometimes interfere with medications and other health conditions.
HDL (high density lipoprotein) is the type of cholesterol that we call good cholesterol. This is very necessary for your body and actually helps to keep your heart healthy. This number should be at least 60 in order that it can do its job to properly in supplying your body with what it needs.
Problems occur when people find that their LDL is too high and their HDL is too low. If your HDL is low, there are several things you can do to help raise it. Adding exercise and improving your diet to your routine can help to raise your HDL. Surprisingly quitting smoking is said to help raise it by as much as 10%. You may want to think about nicotine replacement products if you smoke more than a pack a day to help you stop.
Triglycerides are another important measure of cholesterol levels that you should know about. Your doctor would like this number to be less than 150. If you lower the amount of carbohydrates in your diet it can help you with lowering your triglyceride numbers. It is known that supplements that lower LDL are also effective for triglycerides.
It’s important to properly know your own cholesterol numbers and to understand what they mean. Importantly you understand that not all cholesterol is bad for your body and that your various cholesterol levels can help you to make correct and healthy choices. In this way you can help control or even prevent heart disease.