Hdl Cholesterol Levels

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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"The higher the better" is the catch phrase for HDL cholesterol levels. HDL are high density lipoproteins. We never seem to have quite enough of them. Their role is to carry cholesterol away from body tissues after LDL has carried it to them. Because LDL outnumbers HDL by about 3 to 1, we're much better off if we can raise our HDL cholesterol levels.

There are several ways to achieve this. On the list are smoking, alcohol, body weight, exercise and medications. Let's look at the numbers. Remember that the smallest changes in HDL levels are significant. It would be going to far to say exponential, but a 1 mg/dL increase in HDL cholesterol levels means as much as a 2 to 4 percent reduction in risk of heart disease.

The Numbers on HDL Cholesterol Levels

In thinking about HDL remember that the numbers are different for men and women. Nominally, the average figure is 40 mg/dL for what one wants in HDL cholesterol levels. That is certainly the range to think in terms of.

But let us go from risky to average to ideal. The too-low danger flag goes out at 37 mg/dL for men and at 47 mg/dL for women. The normal range for men is 40 to 50 mg/dL, and for women 50 to 60 mg/dL. The target range for HDL cholesterol levels—and remember that nothing is set in stone—is about 60 mg/dL. A reasonable goal we can all set is and should be to increase HDL cholesterol levels by 10 mg/dL.

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