Diet and Nutrition

What is the Ideal Cholesterol Level?

What is the Ideal Cholesterol Level?

Key Takeaways

  • There are both good and bad cholesterol levels.
  • Knowing about the ideal cholesterol ratio is crucial to having a healthy balance of cholesterol.
  • Cholesterol levels are essential to preventing heart disease.

Ideal Cholesterol Level

Last week when you went for the regular check up the doctor told you that your ‘bad’ cholesterol levels are high. What does that mean? Is good and bad cholesterol the same thing? Yes, cholesterol is needed for maintaining good health. If the levels of low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol or ‘bad’ cholesterol is more while the high density lipoprotein (HDL) or ‘good’ cholesterol is less, it may lead to cardiovascular diseases. So maintaining the right proportion or ratio in the cholesterol levels is very important. To understand what that ratio is for you, one should know about the levels of cholesterol in blood. Based on that measure, one can work out a person's ideal cholesterol levels.

Generally, when you check the cholesterol levels you get different measures like LDL levels, HDL levels, and total cholesterol levels. The total cholesterol levels will be more than the sum of LDL and HDL cholesterol levels. High levels of LDL cholesterol may lead to heart problems and one should meet the physician and find measures to reduce the levels. If the level of HDL is more it may not be of much concern. HDL levels should be optimal at around 60 mg/dL. For LDL cholesterol the level should be ideally below 100 mg/dL.

Cholesterol ratio is found by dividing the total cholesterol level by HDL level. As per the recommendation of American Heart Association, the ideal cholesterol ratio is 3.5:1. One should try to keep the ratio below 5:1. Doctors use the total cholesterol numbers to plan the type of care to be extended to the patient.

Maintaining the cholesterol levels and ratio is very essential to prevent diseases like heart attack and stroke. Cholesterol levels can be managed by:

  • Following regular exercise or any other physical activities – This will help to increase the HDL level and reduce the dreaded ‘bad’ cholesterol.
  • Having a healthy diet – Having foods that are low in saturated fat, cholesterol and trans fat is the first step towards a healthy life. Have more of foods containing soluble fibres like oats, pectin and psyllium to reduce the levels of LDL.
  • Medications – Cholesterol-lowering drugs like statins are often recommended for people with high cholesterol levels. This will help to reduce the risk of heart diseases in people.

Do put in an effort to reduce the cholesterol levels if you have high LDL numbers. Life style changes and medications are very important in achieving the optimum levels of this compound. Any effort in this regard will fetch healthy results!