A Answers (6)
HDL stands for high-density lipoprotein. HDL is “good” cholesterol because it seems to lower your risk of heart attack and stroke. That means that — unlike other cholesterol levels — the higher your HDL cholesterol, the better. You can raise your HDL cholesterol by quitting smoking, losing excess weight and being more physically active.
HDL Cholesterol Levels:
- Less than 40 mg/dL for men = Low HDL level (higher risk)
- Less than 50 mg/dL for women = Low HDL level (higher risk)
- 40 to 59 mg/dL = The higher, the better
- 60 mg/dL and above = High HDL level (lower risk)
LDL stands for low-density lipoprotein. This is the main carrier of harmful cholesterol in your blood. The higher your level of LDL cholesterol, the higher your risk of heart disease and stroke.
LDL Cholesterol Levels:
- Less than 70 mg/dL = Optional goal if you’re at very high risk of a heart attack.
- Less than 100 mg/dL = Optimal level for people with heart disease or diabetes
- 100 to 129 mg/dL = Near or above optimal level
- 130 to 159 mg/dL = Borderline high level
- 160 to 189 mg/dL = High level
- 190 mg/dL and above = Very high level
For low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) the healthy level is 100 mg/dL. LDL-C carries cholesterol to tissues and can clog the arteries. Too much LDL-C can lead to plaque build-up and increases the risk for heart disease and stroke.
For high-density lipoprotein cholesterol it’s 40 mg/dL in men and less than 50 mg/dL in women. The more HDL-C in your blood, the better. Research has shown that for every one mg/dL increase in HDL-C, your risk of a heart attack drops three to four percent.
Cardiovascular specialist Dr. Merle Myerson explains what the ideal, healthy levels of HDL and LDL cholesterol should be. Watch Dr. Myerson's video for important tips and information about heart health.
The target range for LDL and HDL depends on what health problems you have or risk factors. Generally, for those with low or no risk factors, your LDL should be less than 160 and HDL above 40 for males and 50 for females. If you have risk factors such as unstable angina, previous heart attacks or previous coronary artery procedures, your LDL should be below 100.
Ideally, LDL levels should be less than 100. HDL levels should be above 40 for men and 50 for women.
Ideal levels of cholesterol are based on cardiovascular risk factors and can vary. These risks include a sedentary lifestyle, diabetes, high blood pressure, family history of cholesterol or heart disease, and smoking. If the total cholesterol is greater than 240mg/dl or LDL is above 130mg/dl, then your doctor may consider starting therapy.
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