What is cholesterol level?

If you’ve ever been to the doctor and they ask you about your cholesterol level, don’t worry – this isn’t a secret code for some sort of undercover operation. In fact, understanding what cholesterol levels are can be quite simple! Read on to learn more about the ups and downs of your cholesterol readings.

What Is Cholesterol?

Before we dive into what it means when someone talks about ‘cholesterol levels’, let’s take a step back and discuss what cholesterol actually is.

Cholesterol is a waxy substance that circulates in our bloodstream. It plays an important role in shoring up cell membranes (kinda like how walls support buildings) as well as acting as a precursor for hormones such as estrogen or testosterone.

While having some amount of cholesterol in your body may be beneficial, excess amounts could potentially harm your health — increasing risk factors for heart disease among other things!

LDL: The So-Called “Bad” Cholesterol

We hear it all the time; “keep that LDL low” but have no idea where to start.

When doctors talk about “bad” cholesterol, they’re usually referring specifically to Low Density Lipoproteins (LDL) particles circulating through our bloodstreams.

These little buggers have been linked with both hardening and narrowing of artery walls — which increases overall cardiovascular risk…and nobody wants their arteries getting narrow now do we?!

So basically – in general, raising one’s high-density lipoprotein (HDL – known affectionately as “good”’cholesterol) whilst lowering one’s low-density lipoprotein (LDL-‘the bad’) intake will help reduce cardiovascular risks.

(Disclaimer: We said ‘in general’ …this varies from person-to-person but always worth being mindful.)

(Don’t know which is which? Keep scrolling!)

Measuring Cholesterol Levels

So now that we’ve covered what cholesterol actually is, how is it measured?

Typically, doctors and medical professionals test blood samples for the lipid panel. This analyzes multiple components of your cholesterol levels:

  • Total cholesterol
  • HDL (“good” cholesterol)
  • LDL (“bad” cholesterol)
  • Triglycerides (a type of fat in our bloodstream)

The most common way to measure lipid panels is through a simple blood test, like this one!

Component Desirable
Total Cholesterol Less than 200 mg/dL
LDL (“Bad” ) Cholesterol Optimal should stay around or under <100mg/dl, some practitioners tolerate up to 129mg/dl or lower if you have additional cardiac risks, High anywhere from about >159 – up towards crippling anxiety territory by hitting 190 md/dl +
(HDL “Good” )Cholesterol Over 60 usually viewed as beneficial; below fifties are tricky so depending on additional risk factors might signal cardiovascular concern)
Triglycerides Less than150 mg/dL

What’s The Deal with Different Types of Cholesterols?

Aside from LDL and HDL being complete opposites – there’s more!

Let’s keep things simple. Here are two types for ya:

  1. Low Density Lipoproteins (LDL) : Known as “bad” cholesterol.
  2. High-Density Lipoproteins (HDL) : Regarded affectionately as “good’’cholesterol.

So why do we differentiate between them anyways?

Well TBQFH…because they really are different!

LDLs move that pesky ‘‘baggage’’ around bodies…evoking potential issues when those ‘bags’ contain too many fats and sugars. As for HDL, they have their own ‘‘purpose’’. Think of them like a team captain- always ready to swoop in…to grab errant “luggage” roaming throughout our veins.

In fact, the help we receive from HDL involved extracting the bad cholesterol outta there…all into existence!!!

How To Improve Your Cholesterol

It’s not uncommon to hear a healthcare professional lovingly harp on about diet and lifestyle changes that you could make in order to improve your health. And nope — improving heart health doesn’t necessarily mean eating cardboard!

Check these out:

  1. Work In Exercises That You Dig: Exercise isn’t just good for looking amazing to people who don’t ~matter~, it also can be pretty darn helpful when trying maintain healthy cholesterol levels!
  2. Plant-Based Diets Are Cool Too! Shifting over more plant-rich diets will certainly aid you with keeping up that desirable lipid panel results.
  3. Periodic Smaller Meal Portions Tend To Be Beneficial Than Eating Larger Summons: Really folks—I know it sounds totally bizarre but…hey anything is worth an attempt right?
  4. Focus on unsaturated fatty acids instead of saturated or trans fats.

Of course – this isn’t an exhaustive list, but considering these options are definitely among some best bets one can stack onto another!

Final Thoughts

Knowing your cholesterol levels is important since it helps give insight into potential cardiovascular diseases as well as hopefully motivating healthier choices down the road if needed – really, knowledge is power my friend!

Don’t get anxious being diligent with chomping-on better options by compulsively desisting snacks… because: YOU GOT THIS!

At least now when someone asks ‘what’s your cholesterol level,’ (which usually happens at family events) you’ll have something intelligent (!!!) to say rather than silently side-eyeing anyone that kind of looks like a doctor…so cheers to that!

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