Lower Cholesterol to Reduce Heart Disease Risk
How Do I Find Out What My Cholesterol Numbers Are and What They Mean?
If you’re older than 20, your doctor should measure your cholesterol levels at least once every five years. All that’s needed for this is a simple blood test called a lipid profile. The test will show you your:
- Total cholesterol level
- LDL level
- HDL level
- Triglycerides level
Your numbers will help you and your doctor determine not only your risk for heart disease but also the best options for lowering it. For instance, an LDL level of 190 or above is considered very high, and your doctor will likely talk to you about taking medicine to lower it. And if your HDL level is 60 or above, excellent, your risk of heart disease is lowered. The goal is a lower LDL and a higher HDL to prevent and manage heart disease.
But remember, the cholesterol numbers are only one part of a larger equation. In addition to the numbers, the doctor will factor in your age, blood pressure, smoking history, and use of blood pressure medicines. All of these things plus whether you already have heart disease will give a picture of your chance of a major heart problem over the next 10 years. With that picture you and your doctor will develop a strategy to lower the risk. That strategy may involve lowering your cholesterol level with diet and possibly medicine.