Healthy Cholesterol Levels

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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Healthy cholesterol levels, we are told by the American Heart Association, are a problem for as many as 140 million Americans. They are too high, we are told. But what are they? How high is too high? The answers depend on a host of factors, among them what kind of cholesterol you have, how old you are, and more.

But first, how high is too high in healthy cholesterol levels? Remember, there are two types of cholesterol, LDL, or low density lipoproteins, and HDL, or high density lipoproteins. It's easy enough to remember if you think in terms of wanting the low density levels to be lower and the high density levels to be higher.

Cholesterol levels are measured in mg/dL, that is, milligrams per deciliter. To unite metric and American units, a milligram is one-thousandth of one-twenty-eighth of an ounce and a deciliter is one-tenth of something more than a quart. That is, cholesterol is measured in minute units.

Healthy Cholesterol Levels: What Numbers Do You Want?

For healthy cholesterol levels of LDL, optimal is less than 100 mg/dL, borderline optimal is 100 to 129, borderline high is 130 to 159, high is 160 to 189, and above 190 is very high. For healthy cholesterol levels of HDL, the average for men is from 40 to 50 mg/dL, and the average for women from 50 to 60 mg/dL. Lower than 40 mg/dL is a problem. Higher than 60 mg/dL is good. For total cholesterol, desirable is less than 200 mg/dL, from 200 to 239 is borderline high risk, and higher than 240 is very high risk.

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