According to surveys conducted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, over 102 million American adults were diagnosed with high cholesterol in the year 2010. In addition to this, 35 million of these individuals presented with cholesterol levels high enough to place them in the high risk category for developing heart disease later in life. Cholesterol levels are assessed by medical practitioners using cholesterol screening devices testing the heart for any problems and other cholesterol-related diseases. The management of cholesterol levels is vitally important in order to prevent the potentiality of suffering from cardiovascular diseases.
Cholesterol and your body
The majority of cholesterol within the body is created by the liver and the rest is generally obtained via food products. Your body will convert the fat and cholesterol obtained orally into serum cholesterol and triglycerides. Cholesterol is a lipid (a fat substance) which means it is not soluble in the blood; however, your body will overcome this difficulty by placing cholesterol in packages known as lipoproteins.
The low-density lipoprotein will carry cholesterol from the liver to cells throughout your body. Unlike the low-density lipoprotein or LDL, the high-density lipoprotein will reduce the cholesterol level by carrying it to the liver where it is processed and removed from the body.
The dietary source of cholesterol
High cholesterol levels are located in diets comprised primarily of saturated fats and trans fats. Any food products from animal sources, such as eggs, meat and dairy, will contribute to high levels of saturated fat and cholesterol. However, food products that originate from plants, such as fruit and vegetables, do not present with fats and will not contribute to high cholesterol levels unless combined with items containing negative fats and cholesterol.
What should your cholesterol numbers be?
The only way whereby cholesterol levels can be measured is a blood test. The majority of medical laboratories will utilize lipid panels which measure total cholesterol, LDL, HDL and trigylcerides. A healthy cholesterol level will measure at 200 mg/dL or less. An unhealthy, high cholesterol level that may be at risk of cardiovascular diseases will measure at 240 mg/dL or over. Ideally your LDL should sit at 100 mg/dL or less. If the measurement presents at 160 mg/dL or more you should consult a medical professional as you are at risk of cholesterol-related illnesses. You can find a chart that summarize cholesterol ranges on this page. You can also learn more about the normal cholesterol levels on this resource site.
The treatment for high cholesterol
The best treatment for high cholesterol is a low-fat diet that is high in grains and fiber. Fish high in omega-3 fatty acids are advantageous to a low cholesterol level and should be consumed at least twice per week. You should also lose weight, stop smoking and exercise regularly.