What does your Cholesterol Count mean to your Health?

Cholesterol counts are something that we have been hearing quite a bit about in recent years. The problem is that much of the information on this topic is confusing to understand without taking the time to study and learn the basics of how cholesterol affects our overall health. The good news is that by getting familiar with a handful of terms and facts, you can acquire enough knowledge to take control of your cholesterol count - and your health. Since cholesterol is often something that can be managed through lifestyle choices, it is important to know which decisions you can make that will be good for you and your body.

Why is it Important to Know your Cholesterol Count?

The cholesterol level in your blood can have an impact on whether you are at risk for developing heart disease. Cholesterol is a substance like fat that can build up in your arteries, making it much more difficult for blood to flow through them freely. If the blood flow to your heart is affected by this narrowing of the arteries, you can be at much higher risk for having a heart attack. This risk factor can be increased if you have other health issues that can raise the risk, such as high blood pressure or obesity. Because cholesterol is such an important factor in keeping your heart healthy, it is important to have your cholesterol count checked regularly through your doctor's office.

What is a Good Cholesterol Count?

Your cholesterol count is broken down into three categories. The first is the LDL, or bad, cholesterol. This is the cholesterol source that causes the buildup and potential blockages in your arteries. To maintain a healthy LDL cholesterol count, you should have a number that is 100mg. or lower. Any number above 130mg. is considered borderline high to high, and should be monitored carefully by your doctor. The good cholesterol (HDL) count is considered optimum if it is 60mg. or higher. Anything lower than 40mg. should be a cause for concern, since this type of cholesterol actually reduces the buildup in your arteries. Triglycerides are another type of fat in your blood, and are also usually measured when a cholesterol count is done. Triglyceride numbers that are 150mg. or higher may require medical treatment in some people.

Ways to Improve your Cholesterol Count

If your cholesterol count is too high, there are many lifestyle choices that you can make to help bring your numbers back down to a healthy level. Diet is the first course of action that is usually recommended, and consists of a fare that is low fat as well as low in sodium. Daily exercise is another important factor in lowering your cholesterol count, and your doctor can help you to find the best program for your needs. Finally, if you are overweight, bringing down your weight can also bring down your cholesterol count. If none of these lifestyle changes are effective enough in lowering your cholesterol numbers, your doctor can also prescribe medication that will help the process.