Are you freaking out about your cholesterol numbers? Do you know what healthy cholesterol levels are? Read on to find out more about it.
Cholesterol is a fat-like substance in your body and you need a certain amount for your body to function, so the stuff is not completely evil. Your liver makes cholesterol and you also get cholesterol from the fats that you eat.
Some of the excess fat in your body is converted to LDL cholesterol which floats around in your blood stream and sometimes sticks to your artery walls. This can cause the arteries to become blocked, slow down your blood flow and cause heart disease. That''s why LDL is the "bad" cholesterol. On the other hand, HDL is the good guy because it frees some of the LDL from your artery walls and back into your bloodstream.
Healthy cholesterol levels for adults are:
* Total cholesterol: Less than 200 mg/dL.
* Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol: Less than 100 mg/dL.
* High Density Lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol: 40 mg/dL or higher.
* Triglycerides: Less than 150 mg/dL.
You know that LDL cholesterol is the bad stuff, and HDL is the good stuff. You also know that high cholesterol can lead to heart disease and hardened arteries, but here are a few more good reasons to get back to healthy cholesterol levels.
*High cholesterol may contribute to cancer growth and progression. There are research results just out that showed that high cholesterol levels promoted tumor growth, specifically in prostate cancer, and that cholesterol-lowering drugs prevented cancerous tumors from growing by blocking their ability to grow blood vessels. Granted, this is early research in mice, but it shows promise for us in cancer treatment and prevention.
*A recent study showed that people with high cholesterol levels in their early 40s are more likely to develop Alzheimer''s disease and other types of dementia caused by hardened arteries.
*Statin drugs, which reduce the amount of cholesterol your liver makes, can affect your brain as well and not in a good way. New research shows that statins can also reduce the amount of cholesterol in your brain which it needs to function. That is, it affects the brain''s ability to release neurotransmitters, which can disrupt your memory and ability to think things through. This is another reason to control our cholesterol through good eating, weight control and exercise so we don''t have to take medicines with side effects we don''t want.
I want to live a long, productive, happy and healthy life, don''t you? There are many things short of medicine we can do to help ourselves.
Do these things to maintain healthy cholesterol levels:
Maintain a healthy weight
Exercise and stay active
Medications if you must
You can take charge of your health and cholesterol by taking care of yourself in these easy ways. High cholesterol numbers are not the end of your life, but they can be the beginning of your new healthy self. If you are on medication, you can still make these changes and lower your numbers even more. Work with your doctor as you get healthier and maybe you can reduce or stop meds altogether. Isn''t that something great to look forward to?
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