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What do LDL cholesterol test results mean?

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Heart attacks are unpredictable, but higher levels of LDL raise your odds of heart disease. Until recently, guidelines for cutting those odds put an emphasis on lowering this "bad" cholesterol to a specific number. Nowadays, you and your doctor work together to develop a personal strategy to lower your LDL by a certain percentage. It's based on your how likely it is you’ll have heart disease or a stroke. To figure it out, doctors use a calculator to estimate your chance of those problems in the next 10 years.

From: LDL: The 'Bad' Cholesterol WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

American Heart Association: "LDL and HDL Cholesterol: What's Bad and What's Good?"

Tabas, I.   2002. Journal of Clinical Investigation,

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: "High Blood Cholesterol: What You Need to Know."

Jenkins, D.K.   July 23, 2003. JAMA,

Stefanick, M.L.   1998. New England Journal of Medicine,

American Heart Association: "Good Cholesterol vs. Bad Cholesterol."

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine: "Carbohydrates: Complex Carbs vs Simple Carbs."

Reviewed by James Beckerman on May 7, 2019

SOURCES:

American Heart Association: "LDL and HDL Cholesterol: What's Bad and What's Good?"

Tabas, I.   2002. Journal of Clinical Investigation,

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: "High Blood Cholesterol: What You Need to Know."

Jenkins, D.K.   July 23, 2003. JAMA,

Stefanick, M.L.   1998. New England Journal of Medicine,

American Heart Association: "Good Cholesterol vs. Bad Cholesterol."

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine: "Carbohydrates: Complex Carbs vs Simple Carbs."

Reviewed by James Beckerman on May 7, 2019

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What can you do to lower LDL levels?

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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

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