February – LDL Cholesterol

February – LDL Cholesterol

LDL Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a waxy substance produced by our bodies and found in some of the foods we eat.  It is categorized in two packages – LDL, the “bad” cholesterol, and HDL the “good” cholesterol.  Let’s take a deeper look at LDL cholesterol.  LDL stands for Low Density Lipoprotein and is needed in our body; however, problems arise when the levels of LDL cholesterol are too high in the body.  Ideally, your LDL cholesterol levels should be below 100 mg/dl.

LDL Cholesterol LevelCholesterol Category
Less than 100 mg/dlOptimal
100 – 129 mg/dlNear optimal
130 – 159 mg/dlBorderline high
160 – 189 mg/dlHigh
190 mg/dL and aboveVery high

When the LDL levels are elevated, plaque is deposited on the artery walls, increasing the risk for heart disease and stroke, making it important to manage your cholesterol levels. There are two ways to lower your numbers:

  1. Heart-healthy lifestyle changes, which include:
    • Heart-healthy eating – a heart-healthy eating plan limiting the amount of saturated and trans fats you eat.
    • Weight management – if overweight, losing weight can help lower your LDL levels.
    • Physical Activity – making time for regular physical activity on most days of the week.
  2. Medications. If lifestyle changes alone do not lower your LDL levels enough, you may also need to take medicines. There are several types of cholesterol-lowering medicines that work in different ways and can have different side effects. Talk to your provider about which medicine is right for you. While you are taking medicines to lower your LDL level, you still should continue with heart-healthy lifestyle changes.

Take Charge. Live Well!