What is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a type of fat that your body needs to function properly. But too much cholesterol can lead to health problems like coronary artery disease, heart attack or stroke.
It's not all bad
There are good and bad types of cholesterol in your blood:
- Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL) is known as "bad" cholesterol. LDL causes buildup of plaque on the walls of the arteries, which can restrict blood flow to your heart or brain. The more LDL there is in the blood, the greater the risk of heart disease.
- High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL) is known as "good" cholesterol. HDL helps the body get rid of the bad cholesterol in the blood. The higher the level of HDL, the better.
- Triglycerides are another type of fat that is carried in the blood. Excess calories or sugar in the body are converted into triglycerides and stored in fat cells throughout the body. The lower your triglycerides the better.
Know Your Numbers
Doctors recommend keeping your total cholesterol level under 200. The "bad" LDL cholesterol should be under 100. You should have your cholesterol checked at least once per year.
|"Bad" LDL cholesterol||Less than 100|
|"Good" HDL cholesterol||60 or higher|
|Triglycerides||Less than 150|
|Total Cholesterol||Less than 200|
How to manage your cholesterol
- Get a blood test to check your cholesterol levels
- Eat a healthy diet
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Exercise regularly
- Do not smoke
- Limit alcohol (two drinks for men and one drink for women per day)
- Treat high cholesterol with medication if necessary
If you need help managing your cholesterol, download HAP's cholesterol goals activity sheet to take to your next doctor appointment. You can learn more about cholesterol by visiting HAP's CareTrack website.