Do conversations about cholesterol often overwhelm you? Do you feel like you don’t know enough about this condition to understand why people work towards maintaining their cholesterol levels? Cholesterol is always present in our body in varying amounts and types. Its levels vary according to age, gender, and weight, and it is measured in three categories, good cholesterol, bad cholesterol, and total cholesterol.
According to health care experts, with age, a person’s body tends to produce more cholesterol. This means that all adults should get their cholesterol levels checked from time to time to ensure that they have normal cholesterol levels.
Most people who struggle with cholesterol face difficulty in maintaining a balance between good cholesterol (HDL) and bad cholesterol (LDL). Ideally, the total and LDL levels should be low in the body and the HDL levels should be in a healthy range to help prevent heart attacks and strokes.
Normal Cholesterol Level: A Quick Glance
Here is a cholesterol level chart that will give you all the information you need.
|Type of Cholesterol||Ideal||Borderline||Risk|
|Adults||Total||Less than 200 mg/dl||200-239 mg/dl||More than 200 mg/dl|
|LDL||Less than 100 mg/dl||130-159 mg/dl||More than 160 mg/dl|
|HDL||More than 60 mg/dl||41-59 mg/dl||Less than 40mg/dl|
|Children||Total||Less than 170 mg/dl||170-199 mg/dl||More than 200 mg/dl|
|LDL||Less than 110 mg/dl||110-129 mg/dl||More than 130 mg/dl|
|HDL||More than 40 mg/dl||45 mg/dl||Less than 40 mg/dl|
Cholesterol Levels: Do Your Age and Gender Matter?
What are the recommended levels of cholesterol with respect to your age and gender? Do they matter in gaining an understanding of what one’s cholesterol levels should be? As already mentioned, cholesterol levels tend to increase with age. This is why doctors ask people to keep levels within the cholesterol normal range right from an early age. Years of unmanaged cholesterol is very tricky to handle and can lead to serious health problems later in life.
Men are typically more likely to have high levels of cholesterol as compared to women of the same age. Men’s cholesterol levels generally increase with age while women’s show an increase after menopause.
Children are considered the safest people in terms of normal blood cholesterol levels in the body. They are less likely to have high levels of cholesterol in their bodies unless a child has a hereditary problem of cholesterol and heart diseases. In that case, they should be monitored frequently. Otherwise, checking cholesterol once and twice before the age of 18 is more than enough to tackle this health problem.
Also Read: What Causes High Cholesterol Level?
What Are the Acceptable Cholesterol Levels?
Now that the influence of age and gender are out of the way, what are the acceptable cholesterol levels that we should aim to maintain? Doctors have defined the healthy limit of all types of cholesterol for adults.
Slight swaying from these numbers is considered manageable and is often treated with medication and exercise. The following are the recommended cholesterol levels for adults followed by that of children.
- Total Cholesterol: Total cholesterol is considered to be in the normal range if it is less than 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl). A reading that falls between 200-239 mg/dl is considered borderline high and any reading above 240 mg/dl is considered high.
- LDL Cholesterol (Bad Cholesterol): In adults, LDL levels should be less than 100 mg/dl to be considered healthy. In healthy individuals, an LDL level between 100-129 mg/dl is considered acceptable, but it is risky for those who have heart disease or have a higher risk of heart disease. Readings from 130-159 mg/dl are considered borderline high and 160-189 is high. Further, a reading of 190 mg/dl and above is considered very high.
- HDL Cholesterol (Good Cholesterol): HDL is the good cholesterol and should always be high in the body. So, the lower level of this cholesterol is bad for health. An HDL level of 40 mg/dl and less is considered as a major risk for heart disease. The reading between 41-59 mg/dl is considered borderline low. The optimal reading for HDL levels in adults is 60 mg/dl or higher.
Can one’s cholesterol levels be brought to normal? Can certain medication or diet help achieve this? Is Cholesterol Management and Treatment Easy?
The good news is that cholesterol can be reduced using medication and certain lifestyle changes which include diet, exercise, and weight management. A diet low in saturated fats and trans fats is good for lowering cholesterol. Read more on cholesterol diet
According to doctors, people with cholesterol should monitor their calories and consume enough to maintain a healthy weight. Further, an exercise regimen of 30 minutes every day can go a long way in cholesterol management.
Drug therapy for cholesterol includes statins, bile acid sequestrants, cholesterol absorption inhibitors, vitamin supplements, and omega 3 fatty acids. A doctor may use a few or all the above methods to help a patient maintain normal cholesterol levels and live a healthy life.
Read More: 6 Simple Ways to Reduce Cholesterol